What common parenting technique will actually really mess up your kids?

I don't know how common these are, but here's my list:

· Gaslighting/emotional abuse. There was an awful lot of this growing up, but the specific incident that sticks in my mind was my mother accusing me of playing "mind games" with her. I was 5 years old and had absolutely no idea what she was talking about. It didn't get better as I got older.

· Constantly exposing your kids to dangerous situations or people because you yourself are getting some benefit from it, and ignoring and/or guilt tripping your kids when they tell you how uncomfortable they are. If I never hear "don't you want me to be happy?" screamed at me ever again, it will be too soon. Then, when something does inevitably happen, minimizing the impact while simultaneously telling the child it was all their fault for causing it is a prime way to get some grade A PTSD going (which, of course, you will refuse to treat, since they are "just being dramatic").

· When the child shows that they are their own person with their own personality (instead of a doll or a carbon copy of you), proceeding to mock them mercilessly for their interests, openly comparing them to people you hate, and deliberately misgendering them to get them to do what you want is a super way to get them to comply and definitely won't backfire spectacularly.

· When the above starts to lead to very clear signs of mental illness, screaming and threatening to beat it out of them will totally work better than therapy. If, however, the case is particularly stubborn and the child attempts suicide because you have made it clear that there is no escape for them, screaming at the GP to "just give me something to fix them, I don't care what", making it known that anything they say to the therapist will be shared with you and not held in confidence, and loudly complaining to your child about how much money you're spending on all of these worthless visits will definitely work!

· Making it known that your love is conditional and is completely based on how good they make you look to other people. Also, constantly pitting your kids against each other for your favor. That's a totally healthy, not messed up thing to do as a parent.

· Parentification--ie, expecting your child to take on an adult role in the household, far beyond what should be expected of their level of development. There's a difference between teaching responsibility and becoming reliant on your child for the lion's share of household tasks and emotional support.

· And finally, telling your child they were a mistake or that your life would be better if they didn't exist. If you can ever picture yourself saying to your child that you should've aborted them, please don't have children. Even if you don't say those words specifically, how much the child is unloved or unwanted will always spill over into your actions. We know. We always know.

/r/AskReddit Thread