11 Things Toxic Parents Say to Their Kids

Hey Optimist Minds!

Are your parents your biggest critics? Do they often say things that bring you down? What our parents say to us plays a significant role in shaping our adult personality. A hostile and demeaning environment in childhood can severely damage a person’s self-esteem, self-worth, and self-love.

There are many typical statements that toxic parents say to their kids. In this video, we’ll be listing eleven of them. If you think your parents have used these hurtful words for you, it’s a good idea to consult a mental health professional to undo the damage.

Now, let’s begin.


“If you do this, I’ll do that.”

Toxic parents tend to make promises to get you to comply, but they usually don’t follow through. These empty promises seem harmless to the parent, but they significantly affect the child’s ability to trust.

Perhaps your parent made many such promises and pretended like it wasn’t a big deal when they didn’t keep them. Do you think that has led to any trust issues that you face today?


“Taking care of you is so expensive.”

Parenting is a challenging and self-less job that you choose to do when you create a new life. Raising a child does require many resources and sacrifices. However, the child didn’t have a say in being born.

Therefore, it’s wrong to make the child feel guilty for the expenses involved in their upbringing. Hearing your parent say this must have made you feel like a burden. It probably put a lot of unnecessary pressure on you to prove yourself worthy.


“You’re too fat; you’re too short, you’re not pretty enough.”

Comments that degrade a child’s appearance can be lethal as they destroy self-worth. Since a parent’s opinion matters a lot to a child, hearing these words results in serious body-image issues.

You might have developed eating disorders, anxiety, depression, and many other mental health problems because your parent made you feel inadequate.


“I’ll send you away.”

Some parents threaten to send their kids away to boarding school when they misbehave. It can be frustrating for the parent not to be able to control their child’s behaviour, but that’s something that parents have to learn to accept. They can’t just get rid of the child because they’re inconvenient.

It can be pretty shocking to hear your parent declare that they don’t want you around anymore. But, unfortunately, their love and affection feel conditional, and you can end up feeling unwanted for a long time.


“Why do you do it like that?”

Provocative questions like this intend to embarrass the child about their actions. Of course, it can sound different in the context of open communication. But when a toxic parent says it, it’s usually because they don’t like the way you do a particular activity.

They’re not really interested in knowing your reasons. Instead, they’re just saying it to point out that what you’re doing is wrong. Such questions are typically followed with a command for how they prefer you to do it.


“Why aren’t you like that kid?”

Parents who compare their children to siblings or peers reinforce a feeling of inadequacy. Children are supposed to be different from each other in terms of their strengths and weaknesses. Therefore, expecting them to have the same strengths as others are unrealistic and unfair.

Not only do these comments lower self-esteem, but they can also create feelings of resentment. Have you ever disliked another child because your parent kept telling you to be more like them? That must have been very unpleasant for both you and the other kid.


“One of these days, I’m going to leave you to fend for yourself.”

Similar to the sending away statements, this threat, too, is horrible to hear. No one likes to be told that their parents don’t want to be around. The younger the child, the scarier it can be to be threatened this way.

Children are supposed to be dependent on their guardians for at least two decades of their life. Feeling scared that your parent will abandon you is so horrifying that the fear stays for most of your life. Even as an adult, the fear of abandonment may affect how you interact with others. 


“Your education was a waste of money.”

A toxic parent might say this if you’re having trouble in school or earning money as an adult. However, that’s unfair on the child because it implies that they are more of an investment than a beloved person.

You may also hear this if you’ve made a mistake or a wrong decision. Humans are supposed to make errors and then learn from them. Being educated makes the process of learning from errors easier. So, it’s wrong for parents to say this as it’s the child’s action that is disappointing and not the child.


“I gave up everything I loved for you.”

As we’ve mentioned before, parenting requires many sacrifices. So it’s normal to feel like you’re missing out in life. Nevertheless, children don’t need to be told this because they feel responsible for the parent’s unhappiness.

Constantly feeling like a burden can lead to suicidal ideation. When your parent repeatedly tells you about the negative changes your existence brought, it’s natural to want to stop existing.


“You’re never going to be successful.”

A parent’s job is to nurture their child’s physical and mental health. Them saying something as disheartening as this is irresponsible and unacceptable. It can cause many periods of struggle as some part of the child will always believe it to be true.

No matter how hard the child works to prove their parent wrong, this statement will haunt them whenever they get stuck or confused.


“I wish you were never born.”

This is probably the most psychologically damaging thing a parent can ever say to their child. Toxic parents who are narcissistic might say this to shatter their kid’s sense of self-worth.

It might slip out of their mouths in a fit of rage, even if they don’t truly mean it. Regardless, the effect on the child is severe as they start experiencing existential angst.

Were any of the items on our list things you have heard before? Have you listened to your toxic parents say anything else? Let us know in the comments as we could all benefit from your stories.

A link for further reading and the studies & references used in the making of this video are mentioned in the description below.

Thanks for visiting optimist minds, take care. Until next time.


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