People Are Sharing Parenting Mistakes That Mess Up Kids For Life, And It's A Masterclass In How *Not* To Parent

Look, parenting is hard. No parent is perfect, but there are some mistakes that will straight-up mess up your kids for life. And when Reddit user u/spicy-bae recently asked, "What screams 'I’m a terrible fucking parent?'"...people had some pretty scathing replies.


Here are 33 things that are major toxic parenting red flags.

1."Refusing to admit to their child that they were wrong or made a mistake. It's really common to feel like you can never admit to being wrong because it would undermine your authority, but all you're doing is modeling emotional immaturity, breeding resentment, and setting your child up for terrible relationship dynamics in the future."


2.Summed up..."I'm big, you're little. I'm smart, you're dumb. I'm right, you're wrong."


"The other day I was in the yard with my two-year-old and he pointed to the sky and said 'moon!' And I said, 'Oh no, buddy, it's day time'...and then I looked up and sure enough there was the damn moon. I apologized."


  Sony Pictures Releasing
Sony Pictures Releasing

3."Letting your kid(s) annoy people without repercussions — ex: kicking the back of an airline seat."


"As a waitress, I agree. I can't tell you how many restaurants I've worked at that the parents just allow the kids to run around, scream, go up to other people's tables, etc. At one point a kid ran into a waiter carrying a tray. The plates just fell and unfortunately one of them hit the kid on the head.

The parents were pissed, but my manager called the ambulance and told them their kid never would have been hurt if they didn't allow the kid to run around like that and if they actually would have kept an eye on Kid. Safe to say, they got banned by the restaurant."


And along those lines..."Getting more upset by the people your uncontrolled kids are bothering in restaurants/airplanes/etc. than your kids’ terrible behavior."


4."Letting things slide by saying 'it's just a child.'"


"I have a neighbor who has been saying 'tee hee, boys 🤷' and her sons are 18 and 20 now. They need to learn consequences."


"'Kids will be kids.' 'Boys will be boys.' And tbh, I've never heard any specifically for girls."


5."Staying in a loveless marriage. My parents are in one but don't get divorced, and it fucked me up real good."


"Staying together 'for the benefit of the kids' is bullshit."


  The CW
The CW

6."Thinking you know more about the kids mental state than they do. 'Pfft, I know you're not depressed, I would know!' ... I've seen this situation play out far too often. Listen to your kid — you do not know them better than they know themselves. No one does."


"I was in fifth grade and told my mom I thought I was depressed. Sure enough, I got a long lecture about it and what it was and how I couldn't possibly be depressed. She confirmed my suspicion that I was, and I didn't open up about my emotions for years after. Turns out I've had depression since I was in second/third grade."


7."Using the children for content."


"Ugh, ESPECIALLY during vulnerable emotional moments. It's one thing if they're having fun, but when they're crying? Put your GD phone down and give them a hug for goodness sakes. What is wrong with people?"


8.In particular..."YouTube family channel parents, or just any parent that forces their children into a life of fame."


"There really ought to [be] anonymity laws for minors. Like if a kid is going to be on TV or social media, you should be required to give them a fake name and digitally alter their appearance. When the kid turns 18 they can opt in or out and decide for themselves if they want to be famous. There's so much baggage attached to fame, it shouldn't be legal to put that on someone without informed consent."



9.Forcing your kid into a religion/judging them if they don't feel strongly about your religion.

"I am not a Jehovah's Witness like my mom, so one day she told me she didn't want to know anything about my life. I'll never forget that"


10."'My parents did it to me and I turned out fine!'"


"Did you? Did you really turn out to be fine?”


"And is 'fine' what you really want for your kids? Don't you want better than that for them?"


11."Turning a child against their other parent. Parental alienation because you hate the other parent. So damn selfish."


"Involving your kids in adult issues, like bills, disputes with the other parent, etc."


  Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.

12."Forcing kids to hug people when they don’t want to."


13."Being emotionally unavailable to your child."


"I'm 34 and only now realize how harmful this has been. Being raised in a cold and formal way is nothing short of emotional neglect."


14."Wanting to be their friend and not their parent. Kids want you as their leader. I used to tell parents who said they were their kid's best friend that they want a leader. And, if you, as a parent, will not be their leader, then they'll find a leader and I can guarantee that the parent will not like how their child's 'leader' leads. By then, you've lost. It doesn't mean to be dictatorial, but parents need to lead by giving good examples, teaching right from wrong, good life lessons, etc."


  The WB
The WB

15."Flipping the roles- having the child be the parent and the parent be the child. It wasn't his fault, but no normal person's childhood ends at seven years old. Fucked me up severely."


16."Not bothering to get a child a diagnosis when it’s needed. Usually the reasons are the parents don’t want to deal with the stigma of the diagnosis and/or don’t want the extra work of appointments/therapies/etc."


17."There's also the inverse: insisting your child has some kind of developmental disorder even though their teachers, pediatrician, and virtually everyone else who interacts with them knows they're neurotypical. So you go doctor-hopping until you find some quack who's willing to throw a diagnosis at them."



18."Shoving a screen in front of your two-year-old's face to keep them entertained 24/7."


19."Shaming their child in front of people. Also, not teaching their child manners. Simple please and thank you can go a long way."


20.Putting undue pressure on your kids to be uber-successful...especially in the same hobby/career you tried your hand in.

"I work concessions for my city as a side gig. I was alone one night, as it was just high school baseball games so not very much business anyway. [A] 16-year-old kid and his dad are walking along and the dad keeps berating him for not making a catch or whatever. Kid throws his glove at his dad, screams 'Fuck you, I quit!' and storms off. Dad was looking around for anyone to take his side and eventually at me. I just shook my head and closed the window. I don't get why people think their kids are gonna be the next Derek Jeter."


"They failed to "make it big" so they want to live through their children."


  Columbia Pictures/Sony Pictures Releasing
Columbia Pictures/Sony Pictures Releasing

21."I think a terrible parent is one that tries too hard to groom their kids for adulthood, in an effort to make a carbon copy of themselves. Kids need to make mistakes. They need to learn how to trust their judgment. They need to learn how to build confidence on their own. They need to learn how to make friends and need to learn how to adapt to different things in their society. Keeping that away from them is not very good because it doesn't fully prepare them for what could come up when they're older."


22."Any parent who says 'I know my child would never ever lie to me...I know when my child lies to me.' These people are clearly bloody delusional or in denial. ... I worked as a teacher and any parent who said this was normally a very bad sign. ... The parent is telling you, 'I'll always side with my child no matter what.' Like, have they no memory of being a child themselves and knowing that every kid will lie to their parents at some stage?"


23."People who can’t stand their kids and don’t enjoy being around them."


  A24/Universal PicturesFocus Features
A24/Universal PicturesFocus Features

24."Giving your child the shaft because of a romantic partner."


"You can bet your bottom dollar that they'll also use the kid as an emotional support system anytime their romantic relationships break down."


25."Taking someone's door away. I never understood some parents who did this."


  Buena Vista Pictures Distribution
Buena Vista Pictures Distribution

26."'I fed you, bathed you and made sure I kept a roof over your head. Now you owe ME.'"


27."Kicking your kid out under any circumstances. Unless they’re a criminal there should not be a reason for you to kick them out with nowhere else to go, especially if they had just turned 18."


  The WB
The WB

28."Belittling your child's hobbies and interests just because they are different from what you like. Your child is their own person, not just a miniature copy of you."


29."Cussing at or insulting your children, especially in public. I was in the electronics section of Walmart the other day and a kid was nearby looking at video games. The mother, presumably, comes over and starts dropping F bombs at him, saying she didn’t have money for any 'stupid f’ing' games and to get his 'dumbass' over here etc. Broke my heart."

"I grew up poor. I knew we couldn’t afford many toys or video games, but I would always hang out in the toy aisle or video game area while my mom would shop for groceries. Then she would come get me when she was done. No yelling, as she knew where I was the whole time. I knew we couldn’t afford those things so I never asked. I just wanted to admire everything. This poor kid could’ve been doing the same. Just window shopping, knowing he couldn’t have anything."


"Before I met my now wife, the girl I was seeing had a twin sister that had several kids from several guys. I remember one time I went over to hang out with my girlfriend, and the eldest (six-ish at the time) was there. The sister was on the couch staring at the TV, and the kid kept trying to talk to her. He[d say 'I love you, mommy' to which she’d reply, 'FUCK YOU, [kids name]!' I’ve never felt my heart break like that."


"Like the time a former friend introduced her five-year-old to me by saying, 'This is (name), he never shuts the fuck up.' And the poor kids face fell. Horrible mother."


30."If you're always pointing out the negative of your kids personality or ability, they are going to live up to that. Accentuate the positive."


  Warner Bros. Pictures
Warner Bros. Pictures

31."Verbally tearing your child down for a simple mistake. Then not letting it go. I watched a parent in Target tell their small child how stupid they were for spilling a little Starbucks juice. This lady went on an on about how careless this poor kid was and how they could have had a toy but NOOO they'd wrecked that. I have to be honest, I went up to the kid and said, 'It's not your fault, it's just an accident'. The lady started asking me who the hell I was to do it and I told her I was the person who was calling CPS for abusing this girl in front of the entire store."


32."I had a friend one time talk about how kids ruined her life and how she wishes she has waited longer so she could’ve done more, etc. Right in front of her young son. You could tell he understood every word — his face just fell. I has never seen that little boy look so sad. For the record, he was a GREAT kid."


"I once witnessed someone tell their nine-year-old daughter she should've been left on the sheets. I was so shocked I could say anything, that was so many years ago now but I think about that child all the time."


33.And finally..."Pageants."