Children should always expect care and love from their parents. But what if the parents are toxic?

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, in 2008 over 50,000 children were officially counted as victims of psychological abuse. Whether painful words from parents are meant to cause pain or not, they can leave children with psychological and emotional damage, and memories which can last a lifetime. The way parents raise their children and how parents behave in their presence build the foundations of a child’s personality and confidence.

Here are eight things that toxic parents say which can affect a child’s life.

  1. Criticism of a child’s appearance. “You’re ugly, too fat, too small, too thin.” “You have ugly hair.” Humiliation of a child based on his or her appearance can increase levels of insecurity and concerns about their body. This can lead to serious emotional problems such as eating disorders. While setting standards can be helpful and healthy, parents should teach their children how to learn to like themselves, no matter their outward appearance.
  2. Criticism of a child behaving like a child. “Why are you acting so weird?” “Why are you walking that way?” “Why do you chew like that, why do you move like that or talk like that?” Children have the natural tendency to believe everything their parents tell them. Sarcastic or critical questions can give a child a mistaken impression that something is wrong with them. This makes it very difficult for children to be themselves around other people, even during their adulthood. It teaches them to feel trapped by discomfort and fear that others will make fun of them or notice their shortcomings.
  3. Expressing selfish wishes. “I wish you were never born.” “I wish I had an abortion, I’m sorry to have you.” “I wish you were different.” Parents should never say things like this to their child. Remarks like these make the child feel as if they shouldn’t be in the world and don’t deserve to be alive, and can lead to lowered self-confidence, premature depression, and self-harm. Instead, parents should make their children feel loved and valuable.
  4. Complaining about the hardship of raising a child. “You cost me a lot of money.” “It’s so hard to take care of you, it’s very exhausting to have you.” A child who is made to feel like a burden tends to mask or hide their true needs, feelings and problems just to avoid the anger of their parents. This avoidance has been shown to lead children to grow up theft prone or even violent.
  5. Making unhealthy comparisons. “Why aren’t you like your siblings, cousins ​​or other children?” “Other children are better than you.” Comparisons of this kind can erode a child’s self-confidence and make them think they’ll never be good enough, no matter how hard they try. At the same time comparing siblings he only cultivates an unhealthy relationship between them, breeding envy and resentment.
  6. Using offensive words and statements. “You’re stupid, useless, you’re a zero!” or “You’ll never do it!” Absolute remarks like these will undermine a child’s self-confidence. It is important for parents to be a source of encouragement.
  7. Making threats of leaving. “I’ll leave you, set you aside.” “You’ll wake up and you’ll never see me again.” “I’ll just disappear.” These sentences will cause the child to have abandonment issues, growing paranoid that people they love will leave them because of who they are. When the child matures, this idea it will be subconsciously rooted in their minds. They will not be able to trust their future relationships because of the fear of being abandoned.
  8. Making empty promises. “If you do this, I’ll buy you this.” Or “I’ll take you there next time.” When parents make promises they don’t keep, this breaks the child’s trust. It makes the child feel cheated. False promises teach a child not to trust other people, even when they should.

We’ve all heard the “sticks and stones” philosophy, but the truth is words can be very hurtful, mentally and emotionally, especially to a child. Childhood is an essential chapter of every person’s life. In childhood, we build our personalities, our behavior and trust.

Have you experienced any of these forms of abuse?


  • Jane says:

    This is so true, my mother is toxic & always @ me to look after her & she doesn’t like my friends coming as she wants me to take her out, so they don’t come & mum ends up having a rest instead & I’m stuck @ hone alone with no company, my mother is 83 & toxic, better when my father around as he more even in nature, she has always been like this, all very well to say look after yourself as a carer when I have friends around she doesn’t like it, or I have to take her somewhere, plus she often glares at me if I do something wrong & one of my friends sees it & wonders what the heck is happening or otherwise my friends won’t come as mum has been mean to them or they embarrases with her throwing things,
    thankfully my dr has given me a strong quick antianxiety pill & this kills the pain inside of me mentally, & also I can escape in books fiction too, mum tells me I do fun things I get to go to work, bit boring just gng to work, allI do mostly is bagging up lollies, clean loos & empty bins & a bit of filing & my brother does our finances after my dad passed away so I can’t go to counseling as he said they are wacky backy drs & no good, I feel I am being controlled, I can’t tell my family about mum as they don’t understand as dad was still around & mum younger & all the kids still @ home, I just pretend I have a gr8 office job as I’m too embarrassed to tell people what I really do, my family dont know I take medication as they would not let me have it otherwise, but if I had a better life & mum nice & family nice I wouldn’t need them, I only tell strangers about my mum sometimes people that don’t know her, all very well dng online when mum at home listening
    Any help be appreciated please

  • daniel says:

    see me and my dad get into arguments every day over so many things, I bought the wrong stuff from the groceries store again, I said something stupid or something just to talk without thinking about context. most of these arguments end in him yelling and me apologizing and he often says stuff like “you can go back with your mom ill text her” bigger arguments often and almost always have “that’s stupid” “idiot” “dumbass” with him walking away leaving me to apologize, my dad often says I’m selfish and narcissistic and one day after super upset about personal stuff with my mom when she dropped me off with him after a lot of mental hospital visits and he yelled at me saying I was being unreal about her and I blamed everyone, i told him that he’s had the same issues with his parents had the same convo with his family and it hurt him too so “why continue the cycle?” he told me i was throwing him helping me back in his face and I needed to “stop being a selfish narssassitic bitch, idiot” , he often defends saying these things to me with “well that was a stupid thing to say/do right? so I’m going to call out out for it” I’m really hurt all the time by the things he says but at the end of the day I’m apologizing for arguments we have nearly daily and he’s my dad and I’m a child so i have no idea if I’m wrong or not and don’t know if this is toxic or not