Parents Could Ruin Their Children's Lives: 10 Things Parents Say That Affect Their Children Negatively

Mariam Youssef
3/22/23, 6:00 PM

Words have the power to cause harm. In fact, the harm they do is frequently harder to fix than any physical injury. Children and teens are considerably more sensitive to the effects of harsh words than adults are. Based on the words a parent uses, they might quickly adopt false concepts and beliefs. If this happens, it can be very challenging to change the incorrect concepts once they have taken shape. Your words can completely change and destroy your child’s life. “Our parents have ruined our lives,” said several adults whose parents’ words have played a huge part in affecting their lives negatively. Here are 10 things parents say that could be destructive.

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1. Criticizing their appearances (you’re too fat/thin)

Insulting your child is a form of verbal aggression that is on par with emotional abuse. It may harm a child's emotional and psychological growth. No parent should ever expose their kids to destructive and abusive behaviors, such as making fun of their appearance. Despite the fact that the harm is invisible, it is nonetheless seriously destructive. A child who is insulted is slowly torn apart and may have a variety of negative effects.

2. Belittling them (you’re stupid / are you retarded?)

When a parent uses the bad-old scolding, "You’re so stupid," they are trying to make their child feel guilty for their actions. Presumably hoping that they will alter it. Hence, a parent not only declares that their child is a shame, but they also do so in a sneaky, passive-aggressive manner. Anxiety has a negative impact on how a child sees the world and themselves. Children who receive harsh criticism from their parents are more likely to become stressed and anxious. Parental rejection can cause self-criticism and depression.

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3. Comparisons (why can’t you be like your cousin?)

It is nearly impossible for parents to avoid comparing their own children to other people's children and their abilities. And these observations are serious because they enable parents to determine where their own children stand in terms of meeting milestones and expectations. It's advisable to keep any of these insights to yourself so your kids wouldn't hear you talking about them. Being judged by others and considered inferior to them might lead to low self-esteem. Children have reduced self-perceptions and self-worth as a result of not feeling valued, esteemed, wanted, desired, selected, and accepted by their parents. Sibling rivalry may also result from the treatment of siblings differently by parents.

4. Assuming they’re copycats (you’re doing this because your friend did it)

Some parents come to the conclusion that their children are copycats whenever they come up with an idea, thinking that they’re not bright or wise enough to do things their own way. Saying things like “this isn’t your idea; it’s your friend’s” can play a huge role in making your children stop sharing their insights or thoughts with you. More importantly, your comment will affect their self-confidence and esteem as they’ll think deep down that they’re incapable of coming up with new, creative ideas and making their own decisions by themselves.

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5. Blaming and Shaming (I wish you were never born / I’m miserable because of you)

Toxic parents are harsh, critical, and unkind. Children who have experienced psychological abuse feel helpless, which leads to feelings of inadequacy and a belief that they are unworthy of help. A kid who experiences shame may become too self-conscious, which may make it difficult for them to develop and sustain relationships in the future. The majority of child specialists believe that telling a child to feel ashamed of themselves is not a helpful suggestion. It serves so little to assist kids in acquiring proper and ethical behavior because, at best, they are entirely oblivious to its implications. In the best-case scenario, it leaves emotional scars.

6. Disparaging the other parent (You’re just like your mom/dad!)

When a parent transfers harsh feelings and thoughts about their partner towards their shared child, the insult is magnified. It devalues both the child and the partner, bringing both down a notch. By saying this term, a parent unintentionally alienates their partner and child. Hence, not only does it turn into a situation of one against two, but the parent is also essentially telling their child that they remind them of someone they don't like. The child is consequently placed in a very delicate situation between their parents. Furthermore, they could feel crippled by guilt whenever the parent to whom they were compared is later insulted.

7. Suppressing their feelings (Stop crying! / You’re fine…)

It is the responsibility of parents to teach their anxious kids how to manage their fears, and talking about those anxieties is the first step. Parents can talk to their children about the issue that is troubling them and then assist them in coming up with coping mechanisms to address their anxieties. This will help a child feel like they have more control over their emotional reactions. Moreover, to ask a kid to stop crying is a confining request. By saying this statement, a parent is essentially telling their child to suppress their feelings. And as many of us are already aware, this can be harmful and even trigger future outbursts that are bigger and more explosive.

8. Rushing them (Let me do it; you’re taking forever!)

If a parent says this statement to their child, they might as well say, "You can't do anything correctly," or worse, "I'm better than you." No matter how rushed a parent is, they should take precautions to hold their tongue and avoid using this awful phrase. A parent may do wonders for their child's self-esteem by giving them a little additional time to exercise their independence (and to feel proud of themselves afterwards). All of that is instantly taken away from them by the phrase "Just let me do it."

9. Pushing them away (Leave me alone / Not now; I’m tired)

Being a parent is hard work. And indeed having some child-free time to relax and spend as one pleases can work wonders for a parent's ability to refuel and get back to it. Yet, if a parent consistently ignores their children's cries for help by saying, "Leave me alone," or "I'm busy," eventually children will swallow the message and give up. Then, parents will receive everything they asked for, and their kids will soon start to believe that they are always unavailable. This could establish a negative habit since kids will be less likely to ask their parents for advice in the future.

10. Making your love conditional (If you do this, I will love you / I don’t like you right now)

One of the things that are usually known about parents is that their love for their children is unconditional. However, when you tell your child that you’ll love them only when they do something, this translates to them that you don’t love them unless they do certain things. Moreover, we all know that there will be times when a parent doesn’t like their child, especially when they act inappropriately and make them look bad in front of others or when you can't reason with them and they overreact. Yet, it's crucial to keep in mind that you shouldn't say it aloud. Your child needs to know that they’re loved unconditionally. If you need to pinpoint their naughty actions, say, “I don’t like your behavior).

Unfortunately, many parents do not realize the seriousness of using negative words or statements with their children. They can affect their lives forever, leading to horrid actions. Be kind to your kids, treat them with fairness, and never forget to assure them how much you love them no matter what.

Main image credit: @Huda



Mariam Youssef

Growing up, I've always wanted to become so many things: a fashion designer, painter, singer, actress, and anything that revolves around art. It wasn't until I watched "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days" t...

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