What is the most psychologically damaging thing you can say to a parent?

In this blog post, we will be discussing some of the most psychologically damaging things you can say to a parent. We will be stating some statements as examples, discussing the adverse impact of hurtful words when put to use, and certain alternative ways through which you can respectfully and lovingly communicate with your parents. 

What is the most psychologically damaging thing you can say to a parent?

Words, whether good or bad, carry a huge impact on those using them and those hearing them as well. Sometimes, some things we say to others turn out to be extremely hurtful, traumatizing, and demeaning. Though not intended, words that are once used cannot be taken back. Here are a few things you must refrain from saying to your parents in any situation as these statements can be emotionally and psychologically damaging to them. 

  • “I wish I had a different set of parents”
  • “I wish you were dead”
  • “You are the worst kind of parent anyone could have”
  • “I do not want you to meet my friends”
  • “I hate the way you are and I regret being your child”
  • “I’d rather you stay at work and not come back home”
  • “ you do not love me at all”
  • “I am never happy around you and I do not wish for your presence”
  • “You are a nuisance to me”
  • “You are ugly and non-pleasing”
  • “No wonder everyone despises you”
  • “I wish you were living away from me”
  • “You are the sole reason for all my problems”

The impact of hurtful words 

When we say things carelessly, by using words that are rude, demeaning, and hurtful, to our parents it hits them hard and makes them question their value as a parent. It leaves them feeling angry, hurt, dejected, and insecure. The consequences will be more glaring and painful as the words are coming from their children. It can be pervasively damaging and mostly ends up making them wonder about the authenticity of their parenting and their relationship with their child. 

When children resort to saying hurtful things, it enlarges and exposes the insecurities and vulnerabilities of the parent/parents to an extreme level. It hurts them on many levels; emotionally, psychologically, and physically. These words and statements come across as outright offensive and intolerable to them. 

What to say instead (alternative statements)

When situations of arguments and disruptions emerge with your parents, there are several ways to deal with situations peacefully and respectfully. When you are about to have a heated argument with your parent, take deep breaths, understand that resolving the problem is more important than picking a fight with your parent. Given below are few ways through you which you can convey your viewpoints and perspectives to your parents respectfully, gently, and lovingly.

  • Instead of hurting your parent’s ego, try posing a harmless question and try to bring an important observation to your parent’s attention. When you state an observation. You reduce the number of defensive feelings from the parental view.
  • Instead of using the word hate in any tension-provoking context, have a straightforward conversation with your parent. Talk to them about your feelings and why you are offended, respectfully. Make them understand your perspective and at the same time show willingness to hear out what they’ve got to say. This helps in building a trusting, safe, and loving relationship with your parents. 
  • Instead of pushing them away or being ignorant of their advice, listen to them before you speak up. Consider their advice, tell them what is your opinion, and make them understand why you are not in a state to follow their advice. 
  • Instead of persistently commenting and judging their appearance and ways of dressing, be more accepting of their comfort level and try suggesting your ideas as well. You can ask them to try out the suggestions if they wish to and appreciate them for their choices.
  • Instead of complaining and saying hurtful things to make them feel guilty about their work-life balance, try to see things from their perspective, help them out in small ways to cope with their stress, and tell them you are proud of how they are holding up. 


In this article, we discussed the most psychologically damaging thing you can say to a parent and why is it so. We looked at the impact of words while communicating with your parents, and how to talk to your parents empathetically and lovingly. 

FAQs: what is the most psychologically damaging thing you can say to a parent?

What is a toxic parent?

A toxic parent is an umbrella term. It is used to refer to those parents who do not let their children lead a happy and healthy life. Toxic parents care little for their children and their needs and want. They are more concerned about their peace of mind, well-being, and satisfaction. They are highly self-centered and emotionally unavailable to their kids. They do not respect the boundaries of their children and rarely try to understand their feelings and ways of thinking. A toxic parent is mostly narcissistic, uncaring, and ignorant of the individuality of their child and their mental well-being. 

What parents should never say to a child

A parent should always take care to use respectful and gentle words while communicating with their children. They should be careful about the tone of voice and the context of the speech to not end up hurting the child in any way. Here are certain things a parent should refrain from saying to a child:

I gave birth to you and I brought you up so far.
I provide you with everything 
You will never achieve your goals
I do not trust you in any way.
You can do better than this. This is not appreciable.
Stop brooding over such silly things
Don’t cry over this. Be strong.
Why are you being such a burden?
You are a disgrace to the family
I wonder why I gave birth to you
You’re a boy/girl and you can’t do that

What is a gaslighting parent?

A gaslighting parent is someone who ardently believes that they know what is the best for their child and that only their say matters. They do not show the courtesy to listen to their kids and are mostly ignorant of their true nature and their perspectives on life. Gaslighting is a kind of manipulation where the parent intends to make the child do or say things as the parent wishes to. The main goal of the gaslighter is to make the victim solely dependent on the abuser. Gaslighting leads to stunting of the growth of the child to a great extent. It inhibits his/her ability to interact with people outside, get exposed to new experiences, and learn about life in new ways.

What happens to a child’s brain when you yell at them?

Yelling or any other form of undesirable parenting technique will have a profound impact on the child’s brain development. It can adversely affect the way the child further processes various kinds of information they derive from their surroundings and it literally changes the course of development of their brain.

This happens because humans process negative information from people and situations much more quickly than positive information. It forms certain impressions on their minds and lasts for a very long time until they are unlearned. 
Yelling also leads to aggravating the behavioral problems of the child. It makes them hostile, uncaring, and it directly impacts their behavioral response patterns over the years. Yelling also has negative effects on the physical health of children. It sometimes causes severe stress which, in turn, leads to conditions of chronic pain for the child. 

Is it okay to tell a child to shut up?

No. it is not okay to tell a child to shut up or such similar phrases. It is a demeaning, rude, and extremely hostile way of communicating with your child. For instance, if you are a parent and if you are on a phone call and you want your kid to be quiet for some time, never say shut up to the child for achieving the result. It is not an appropriate way of talking to your child. Instead, gently and respectfully ask the child to go elsewhere or maintain silence for some time. This is a way more constructive, respectful, and acceptable form of behavior. 

Why is my child so horrible?

A child can behave horribly and menacingly due to various reasons. Many things can cause a child to develop temper tantrums, emotional outbursts, and expressing general bad or unexpected behavior.

These may be due to biological reasons such as being hungry or overfed. The kid could also be tired and overwhelmed by his/her surroundings and the behavior of adults around them. Emotional reasons such as not being able to cope with or describe their feelings also play a part in the undesirable mannerisms and behaviors of the child. 

Consider talking to your child gently and lovingly about what is making them behave in certain ways in particular situations. Listen to them attentively and recognize their genuine needs and feelings when they open up to you. 



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