Ten Ways Parents Destroy Their Children's Self-Esteem

Updated on June 8, 2016
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Grace loves to write commentaries on psycho-cultural and sociocultural dynamics in its myriad forms.

How to Destroy a Child's Precious Sense of Being

Parents want to believe that that they are doing a particular deed or applying a specific disciplinary methodology for the child's own good. They also tell themselves that the child will appreciate this one day and assert that if they did not care, they would not be applying such corrective measures.

However, many use discipline and corrective measures in ways that irreparably damage or negatively impact a child's self-esteem. Many parents believe that they are only guiding and helping their child when in fact, they are causing harm instead. There is an old saying that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Here are the ten things parents do that can destroy their children's self-esteem!

Each child is unqiue. Many parents fail to realize this. They believe that by comparing one child to another, the "errant" one will improve. However, it does quite the opposite, and many such chldren feel worthless.
Each child is unqiue. Many parents fail to realize this. They believe that by comparing one child to another, the "errant" one will improve. However, it does quite the opposite, and many such chldren feel worthless.

(1) Comparing Children to Siblings or Other Children

Parents often believe that if they extol the positive characteristics of siblings and other children to their so-called errant child, their own child will improve. Oftentimes, comparison does the opposite. Those who are constantly compared to others have a diminished sense of individuality and ultimately come to believe that they are worthless.

(2) Criticizing a Child's Innate Abilities, Temperament, or Characteristics

Many parents are threatened and nonplussed if their children's abilities and characteristics are different from their own. These are firm believers that their offspring should be carbon copies of them with similar characteristics, interests, and goals. They feel that if their children are just like them, everything sill be harmonious and stress-free. Those whose characteristics are different from the parents' are viewed as a threat to the familial social order.

Those who criticize their diametrically different children's innate abilities and characteristics are often invalidating their children's innermost psychological core. These children often feel insignificant and totally unappreciated.

Some apply corrective or disciplinary methods that can verge on emotional or verbal abuse which damage their children's self-esteem.
Some apply corrective or disciplinary methods that can verge on emotional or verbal abuse which damage their children's self-esteem.

(3) Requiring Conformity

Many parents staunchly believe in blind and mindless conformity. They are of the belief that there is safety in following the prevailing and/or majority opinion. They contend that following the consensus offers a sense of belonging and security. They insist that it is safest to conform to the prevailing philosophy and strongly discourage their children's individualism and nonconformity because they think that if their children refuse to conform to the prevailing groupthink, they will be considered oddballs or worse, be ostracized and left alone, or the parents themselves will be ostracized and denigrated by their neighbors and associates. So if a young one dares to have a unique, creative, and innovative thought or idea, it is squashed and oftentimes labeled outlandish and weird because nobody else thought of it! These parents are totally soul-destroying and killing the dreams of a potential Picasso, Einstein, Mozart, and/or free thinker.

(4) Continuously Harping About Mistakes

Making mistakes is an integral part of a child's learning and growth process. Childhood is a time to freely explore, try on different personas, and fall on your face! However, there are parents who equate mistakes with grave mortal sins. They often have insanely unrealistic expectations that their offspring must be as perfect and blemish-free as possible. God forbid that they should make mistakes. Oh no! Making mistakes = ineptitude + utter stupidity. They want their kids to be perfect because perfection = success!

Well, continuous harping about mistakes to a child is tantamount to abuse. This child begins to lose what sense of initiative and risk-taking that he/she has and thus becomes extremely anxious and risk-aversive, often not electing to attempt anything less he/she errs. They will always choose the path of the least resistance all through life!

(5) Teaching That a Child's Dreams, Aspirations, and Goals Are Impossible to Reach

There are individuals who aspire to uncommon goals and unique careers. Many parents refuse to acknowledge this. Oftentimes, they consider their offspring's goals "unrealistic" and "lofty." They often attempt to gear their children into "more realistic" careers and aspirations, ones that are "workable" and "secure." Well, some individuals have goals and aspirations which are dramatically different and rare! They should be encouraged. Oftentimes these kids do settle for ordinary and safe careers, much to their regret. They are grossly unhappy, yearning for what might have been.

(6) Living Their Kid's Lives and Planning Their Careers

There are parents who believe that they know what is best for their children. They plan their children's life from birth to marriage to career and beyond. They believe that they are making their kids' lives easier and less stressful. However, they are doing irreparable damage and making their kids quite dependent and indecisive regarding the simplest life choices. Many people are living their parents' lives, not their own authentic lives, much to their regret!

Some parents want their children to be physically/emotionally flawless. They believe individualities are flaws that need correction.This results in a child's poor self image.
Some parents want their children to be physically/emotionally flawless. They believe individualities are flaws that need correction.This results in a child's poor self image.

(7) Evaluating a Child's Intellectual Capacity upon Grade Point Average

Many base all their expectations on grade point average. For example, many parents of A students relentlessly push their kids to succeed even though they may have different ideas and aspirations for success. Conversely, many parents of C students believe that their kids are less than apt and intelligent, telling them to aspire lower as they are not ever going to be successful. A child's GPA is not always an accurate reflection of his/her innate intellectual capacity. An extremely conscientious A student of average ability may have to study all night to obtain those As while a C student of above average ability may be bored with school and have a more relaxed attitude towards his/her studies. To pigeonhole anyone's intellectual ability based entirely upon his/her grade point average often creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. If the child believes that he/she is stupid because he/she is a C student, he/she will become a low achiever throughout life, no matter what his/her human potential is!

(8) Zeroing in on So-Called Negative Characteristics

Many parents want their kids to be as physically and emotionally flawless as possible. They often view their children's physical and emotional differences as imperfections to be corrected and/or changed and may denigrate their children in order to make them shape up. However, this has the opposite effect and gives the child a permanently poor body and self-image.

There are parents who feel that praise makes a child conceited. They don't realize that children need positive reinforcement.
There are parents who feel that praise makes a child conceited. They don't realize that children need positive reinforcement.

(9) Never Praising

There are parents who do not believe in praising because they believe that it softens and spoils kids and will make them conceited and think too highly of themselves. These parents maintain that they should never have to praise their offspring for things such as having good behavior, doing chores without being asked, and/or earning good grades. They assert that such behavior should be a given.

Children need praise in order to assess the positivity of their performance and to continue with such behavior! If they do not receive praise, oftentimes they will not achieve what they might have.

(10) Demanding Blind Obedience

There are some parents who believe that their word is law and etched in stone, and that might equals right. It is these parents' contention that they own their offspring. They do not view their kids as thinking, independent, autonomous individuals in their own right but instead as automatons and pieces of property that they can dictate and program at will. These parents' mantra is that their children are to obey and nothing else. They want kids who they can easily control and they are highly threatened by those who exhibit a more independent nature.

Anyone raised by authoritarians like this becomes timid and submissive. They also become passive, believing that they do not count. They feel powerless and that others are more powerful than they are.

Final Word

Correction and discipline are meant to improve and enhance a child's sense of self and help a child become self-disciplined, self-motivated, and self-determined. Correction and discipline are not meant to demoralize children and to make them feel less than what they are.

© 2011 Grace Marguerite Williams

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    • gmwilliams profile image
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      Grace Marguerite Williams 5 days ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York

      Seek counselling either by talking to a close friend, relative, or a psychologist. Also develop self-confidence, you are a beautiful, worthy person- a child of God. God bless.

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      josh 5 days ago

      I'm so shy but I refuse to blame my parents because they thought they were helping me. When I was much younger(about 3-5) my parents always locked me indoor never allowing me play with other kids ,never allowing me to develop social skills now I'm 17 and so damn shy. I sing and do it very well. Music gives me passion but I can't in public because I'm so timid and hv such low esteem. I joined the choir thinking it will help me boost my confidence but I've bn in the choir getting to a year hving never sang and I feel depressed and useless because I want to pursue music as a career but hw can I be a shy musician? Their overprotectiveness affects me in all areas of my life I can't associate with ppl, I can't make friend even in the choir, ppl say I'm rude and lack manners but I don't understand hw. I literally cry when I see ppl who aren't better than me sing and claim they are but I can't talk back because I've never sang and I'm shy. I'm so depressed right now. I have never even had a girlfriend not that I'm ugly but timid I lack social skills to approach a lady. I've watched my friends steal away the girl I love but can do nothing. At the end of the day I'll just say I never really loved her but I do. I'm just frustrated. I already told God and I know he's already helping me. Pls I need a word of encouragement from u. Thanks.

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      Irene1955 6 days ago

      This all rings so true. My mother has always treated me as an idiot. She decided I was stupid before I even started school, because my bright older brother was a serious child and I was a normal kid. So I was destined to be a servant. Every time I expressed an opinion I was ridiculed by the whole family. Meantime, I performed exceptionally at primary school, but my mother said it was only because I had dumb kids in my year. By secondary school I was under-performing and lacked confidence. I did an IQ test at 17, and was told my IQ was 158. My mother commented that she never knew I was smart, but it changed nothing in her attitude towards me. I went to university despite her and worked in the IT sector. But an under-achiever. I'm now 62.

      She remembers everything I ever did in my life that she didn't like and throws it back at me. The other day she told me she she'd never forgiven me for accepting a biscuit from a neighbour when I was just 3. Everything I wear, the way I look (hereditary), my choice of friends, my interests and hobbies are just wrong according to her and deserving of condemnation.

      I now only see her so that I don't get cut from her will, but I'm emotionally divorced from her. (She's 92 and can't live for much longer)

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      titir 11 days ago

      WOW!! my father did & still does ALL OF THESE . Fortunately I have a wonderful mother (who is also criticized by my dad all the time). Her love and support balance out the suffocating negativity coming from my father & help me believe in myself .

    • gmwilliams profile image
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      Grace Marguerite Williams 12 days ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York

      That's ANOTHER way!

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      Lolis 12 days ago

      Making them fat??

    • gmwilliams profile image
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      Grace Marguerite Williams 2 weeks ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York

      Get counselling or talk to a trusted relative outside of your immediate family.

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      2 weeks ago

      hi i need help

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      Maybe 2 weeks ago

      I cried as I was scrolling through this article

    • gmwilliams profile image
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      Grace Marguerite Williams 2 weeks ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York

      Get counselling & LEAVE THEM AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. Disassociate from such toxic parents. You are a worthwhile, beautiful person. Family doesn't mean blood all the time. Family consists of people who LOVE & RESPECT each other. Your parents & brothers are toxic-GET AWAY FROM THEM!

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      Am 2 weeks ago

      My parents do all of this to me very intensely and almost abusively. They're very emotionally and mentally abusive (They stopped the physical abuse once I reached 15). Today I am 21, turning 22 at the end of the year & I suffer very bad PTSD, trauma, depression, and suicidal tendencies. They don't even care and they yell at me, telling me that i'm being dramatic, calling the scars on my arm "stupid", and telling me to my face, "If you commit suicide, we wont attend your funeral because we would be too embarrassed to have such a stupid & useless daughter." My parents & brothers even told me I deserved to be raped & that me getting raped was 'my fault'. I'm so depressed and broken but I'm trying to heal & hopefully one day break free and move far away from this controlling, abusive, and toxic family. I'm turning 22 & I'm not even allowed to have sleepovers or go for sleepovers. They've ruined most of my life & crushed my self-esteem. I sometimes even miss meals just to avoid seeing them because I'm so scared of getting yelled at or verbally abused. I have anxiety about so many things, and i wish I could just have a more positive life..

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      anonoymous 3 weeks ago

      My mom pushes me to do too much work. I get a 92 and she gets mad at me. I get a 96 she gets mad at me. Whenever I do want to hang with my friends she makes me feel bad by saying"does nothing else happen and what is going on in ur brain." You have to start preparing for highschool and I am in 6th grade!

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      Anon 3 weeks ago

      10 checks for me and now I felt really empty

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      Forever_G@bby 4 weeks ago

      If I ever have children,I would never treat them the way my mother treats me.So, one day My mom’s phone buzzes.My mom is busy,so I look.And I’m scrolling and I see that my mom and sister are having a conversation back and forth.And I read a text message that’s my mom wrote that said,”I never said she was perfect,but she isn’t a smart ass”.It Hurted me so bad And when I read that.It felt like I got hit by a car,and felt as if I was punched in the stomach.My self esteem went down so quick.No kid should ever feel that way like their not smart,or good enough.For all those parents reading this or people who plan on being parents,don’t ever treat your children child like that.You May think,it’s nothing,but the pain and rejection stings so bad.And you may forget all about it.But the child will remember it forever.It’s a scar that will never heal.

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      Somebody 5 weeks ago

      My mother displayed many of these characteristics but, even if I often disliked her growing up, I could never hate her because she genuinely did believe she was acting in my best interest. I think it is important to consider that oftentimes parents were not ideally parented themselves and deserve some empathy and understanding too.

      My mother was given away by her parents as an infant, then taken back at ten years of age when she was old enough to work and be considered useful. Her parents were lazy, uneducated, and short-sighted. She wanted an education but they saw her merely as a means of supplementing their income. She had to work, even as a young child, for the most basic things - a uniform and and stationery - so she could attend school. She was independent at 14, working during the day and attending school at night, and had to fight for every opportunity to get ahead in life, which she did.

      I fully understand that my own upbringing - very strict an seemingly harsh - was luxurious and easy by comparison and that stops me from feeling sorry for myself. My mother's parenting, somewhat pushy and demanding, came from the knowledge that life could be harsh and a well intentioned desire for her children to be tough and prepared for anything. It didn't work - I am in my 40s and she still tells me I am too weak and a disappointment - but it was her way of showing us love and, besides it is a fair criticism so I don't take offence.

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      Real-eyes-ation 6 weeks ago

      Tuline - I'm 52

      It took me until my mother died to experience detachment and my awakening journey

      Too many traumas due to lack of healthy parental guidance and dysfunctional interaction and minimum tlc but I focus on what I can do now and creativity is my saviour

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      Anonymous 6 weeks ago

      its like i don't know my mom anymore every little thing i do comes with some type of backlash, and I'm always being compared to someone and i think to my self "but I'm not them and they are not your child"

    • gmwilliams profile image
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      Grace Marguerite Williams 7 weeks ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York

      Mike, discuss your issue w/a trusted guidance counselor, relative, or a clergyperson.

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      mike 7 weeks ago

      i cant stand my parents anymore please help me im going crazy

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      Mike 7 weeks ago

      Somewhat the opposite to Andrew but ultimately similar. I'm 34 and have literally just developed a sense of real control over my thoughts and feelings, to help guide myself from this point onwards. My mother's anxiety about my having a family by now, bled the life out of what could have been exciting and formative 20s. Instead they were far too often sordid and filled with a sort of silent emotional fury. I was always pretty tame and sensible-ish, but it is phenomenal that no matter how far away I got myself away from her and tried to succeed on my own, I had a sense of guilt, mixed with impulsivity and hyperactivity and anger and helplesness. Both my parents preferred me to work in any job, while I desperately tried to work out how to go beyond that; nobody in our extended family has a degree. Trying to navigate through one's own life and become independent and happy while one's parents harass you with their expectations, agendas and emotional manipulation - to fulfill their own paternal and maternal desires and dreams - should be a focus for the World Health Organisation. And yet I'd be

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      Grace Marguerite Williams 7 weeks ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York

      @Kelly, speak to her via telephone. Discuss her concerns w/her. Also suggest that she speaks to a psychologist, clergyperson, or counselor.

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      Kelly 7 weeks ago

      I have big concern for a friend. She lives in Canada, and her parents are authoritarians. They took possession of her Xbox, limiting how often she is on it all because they don't want her to get "addicted". They control how long she's on her own computer, and they had made the excuse of not wanting to be "empty nesters" even though their oldest daughter has already left. Now, it has gotten to a point where her own mother is reading the messages on her phone, which is a HUGE no-no for all parents. How can I help her get out of this situation, and leave her parents for good?

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      Andrew 8 weeks ago

      I'm just about to turn 35, I have no wife and I have no children. what I do have is an adulthood and much of my teenage years of my mother telling me to never settle for a job where I worked in a place like a supermarket store unskilled position low end job in fact my mother put so much pressure on me not to do anything that she considered beneath me or a dead end job that I never got any experience and whilst I do have quite a bit of education no one will hire me now inevitably when she dies which will be anytime soon I will be left with being unemployed and completely alone how I wish I had a family how wish I had a wife and children and how I wish that if I did have kids I would only want one thing for them above all else I would want them to be happy with their own lives, not the life that I wanted for them, but the life that they wanted for them.

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      Anaija 2 months ago

      my mom does all this to me.... and it lowers my self-esteem

    • gmwilliams profile image
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      Grace Marguerite Williams 2 months ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York

      Your parents shouldn't ground you but get you academic assistance until your grade improves.

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      I'm not telling you my name 2 months ago

      Is it healthy if i normally make good grades and I get grounded for one F until I make a B? (My parents make me feel dumb.......)

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      tuline 2 months ago

      i m 53 ... it took me so much time to understand why i m so nice to people why i lack self confidence why i maried a manipulator why i was never happy ... my mom was a narcissic manipulator and my father was always manipulated by her .... what a life !

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      Luke 2 months ago

      My goodness. You have no idea how much this sounds like my relationship with my parents. They're only happy with me unless I did something exactly to their expectations. Never have I felt that my happiness was any of their concern. I'm in my late 20's and still trying to get through life.

      Since I was 20, I've been living with my grandmother who has Alzheimers. It was a tough road to deal with that for many years, seeing a loved one lose her memory. And all through that time, my parents and other family members tied to Grandma all thought I was taking advantage of her.

      Then after a few years, I decided to take classes in community college. My parents were proud, but it seems that most of the love and hate I get from them comes from school-related material. Actually, its all hate. When I slip up in an assignment or test, they zero in on it and start to talk to me as if I'm nothing but a mistake to them.

      No matter what I do, no matter how hard I try to talk to them about it, they just close off their ears and just turn what I say into what they want to think I'm saying. I'm gonna turn 30 in a few years, and my relationship with my parents has continued like this for what feels like an eternity.

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      Hg 2 months ago

      And this country has become a country of snowflake children

    • gmwilliams profile image
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      Grace Marguerite Williams 2 months ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York

      Follow YOUR dreams, your mother is a soul destroying person. She is a small minded, petty person-IGNORE her! DON'T LISTEN to SMALL MINDED people!

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      Amethyst Birch 2 months ago

      Ooof, I'm 26 and this read like the story of my life. I've dreamed of being a country singer-songwriter my entire life but my mom has crushed my dreams at every turn. She really really wanted an extremely smart kid. I was pushed into gifted programs in school. Truth be told, I'm moderately smart but exceptionally creative and talented. My mom doesn't value creativity or musical talent, so I'm forever a disappointment. She constantly tells me I'll probably never make it in the music business and to focus on my office job. She essentially tells me I'm wasting my time and money by pursuing anything musical. But it's my calling in life and I'm very good at it. It's so frustrating and demoralizing.

    • gmwilliams profile image
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      Grace Marguerite Williams 2 months ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York

      Talk to a school counselor regarding your parents. Your father is abusive & his behavior is inexcusable. He exemplifies the immature parent. In fact, parents who are controlling are immature as well as insecure. Do they want to live through you-you have to live YOUR OWN life, not THEIRS.

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      Anonymous 2 months ago

      I know my parents love me and they are trying to provide me with the best life they can but they are so controlling. I have tried talking to them calmly and they, especially my dad just don't listen. With my dad everything always has to be his choice and both of them push me so hard that sometimes I cry. I'm literally crying while writing this. For examle, exams are coming up and right now I have a 88% average in science and I want it to be a 90% at least but my mom is making me stress even more and my dad doesn't even ask or he would too. the only way I can get an 90% is if I get 100% on the exam and science is my worst subject but "my sister did IB so I should be able to succeed in academic because I am naturally smarter than her but she works harder". And with the rules I don't mind following the rules no matter how stupid I think they are but they NEVER let me ask why. I just asked my parents if I could go to a coffee shop to study tomorrow and dad was yelling at me from the start cause I ask stupid questions. And when I said "can I ask why" the world may have just exploded. "She's rude, and who does she think she is thinking she can talk back to us like that. Does she think we're stupid and don't know anything!" No I don't! But obviously, they think I am.

      If anyone actually read this please just tell me what to do. I'm super curious and I just want to know the why but then I am always talking back. What should I do?

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      Diane Walker 2 months ago

      I couldn’t agree more with the above comments. My mother was very controlling when I was growing up & beyond. She took us to Sunday school at a cult (Christian science) religion from a young age. The church taught us that god was all-seeing & knew when we had done something wrong. It was a very dogmatic religion, that still affects me to this day.As my younger brother developed lekaemia at 5, but I was never told that he was even ill! My parents did follow the medical route for a few years, but then made devastating & long lasting changes a few years later. It haunted me for many years, & still does, 40 years on. I found out the truth 4 years ago & it was absolutely debastating & I needed counselling to help me deal with it. Later, when I went on to have my own children, I provided them with the choices & freedom, that I never had. I always supported them & allowed them to make their own decisions & choices in life about their education, career, religion & hobbies. One is now a hospital doctor & the other has a PhD in Physics, so they have turned out ok.

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      Grace Marguerite Williams 3 months ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York

      That is horrendous. What did your "parents" discourage you from a medical career? Were they jealous of your potential? Many parents are threatened when their children show gifts instead of nurturing & encouraging them.

      As I have stated many times, there are people who AREN'T parent material. I strongly believe that there should be licensing for parents. If there were qualifying tests & licensing for parenting, children & ultimately society would be better off & more humane.

      There are parents who are evil i.e. soul destroyers. Such "parents" are dream killers, demolishing aspirations that don't conform to their narrow purview. If you didn't cut off your toxic parents, you should. You don't need "parents" like those. What career do you have presently?

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      Trapped 3 months ago

      My parents have done all the above mentioned things to me, they have as a result broken me from inside, filled my mind and heart with self hatred and hate for them, they deliberately cut me off the medical career which I had dreamed of since I was a child... And turned me into an empty, soul dead creature awaiting death and re incarnation. I just pray every single moment that my so called parents die miserably and agonisingly and during their last moment remember the person whom they trampled under their animal like emotionless presence... Never do this to your child... They will bless you in future ... Even a child has a soul.. A part of divinity within it

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      Grace Marguerite Williams 3 months ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York

      Discuss the matter w/a relative or school counselor.

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      Fizz 3 months ago

      My parents think that everything they do is right for me. They never sit down and discuss about anything. The next thing I know, I've been enrolled into tutions every sunday . I study in a boarding school,that already has a really tight schedule,they let us off every sunday. I know they're unsincere when they ask me if I really want to go take tutions,analysing from the tone of their voice,their facial expressions,and how they answer when I say I'm too tired to have to go to tution. When I point out their mistakes,they say I'm an ungrateful child. I'll be ok with having tuitions IF THEY DISCUSSED WITH ME FIRST. Right now,I'm really depressed. I know they want the best for me (they think). But what is all this?? Somebody please help.

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      Anonymous 3 months ago

      Hello. To the point 8 I would like to add that praising too much is equally bad.

      My parents would always praise me too much; gush over any poem I wrote or music I played, share it with everyone etc.

      I, on the other hand, knew because of the internet that standards of many people were much higher, that I was no prodigy.

      A balanced approach is important, so that the child is happy because of their achievement but is also motivated to improve himself. For most of my childhood I turned into a slacker and never worked hard to develop any talent because I was always shown the people I was better than but never the people who were better than me.

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      Zach Weston 3 months ago

      Mu mom does 3 of these things, one of them is harping on my mistakes like its hurricane Irene, I was the target for every anger outburst she had over anyone else's. She keeps playing my little brother the favorite. Above all , she demands blind rule following , she controls me like a puppet and I feel sad , angered , and depressed for a long time. Above that , she doesn't care

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      Anonymous 3 months ago

      All of these are applying for my father. Yikes :(

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      Janssen 3 months ago

      My mom do the same things..

    • gmwilliams profile image
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      Grace Marguerite Williams 4 months ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York

      Talk to a counselor regarding your problem. Your father is wrong. He is abusive & you should discuss this w/a qualified counselor or psychologist.

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      Anonymous 4 months ago

      My dad is unfair I don’t want to sound soft or weird but my parents are diffrent they’re nosy and mean some days I constantly live with a headache for example my dad calls me pussy bitch and more words today I was wearing a basketball head band and just because I was listening to a little calm soothing instrumental music he grabbed me by the head band and punched me . He called me mentally retarded and it hurt my feelings emotionally again . It’s also like I respect all people in general idc what you are black white latino male female special needs etc I respect everyone but just the disrespect for me is incredible. I’m tired of living in fear I shouldn’t have to but people underestimate me and take me for granted it’s like whenever we go out to the park or outside i get nervousness being around him it’s like give me some space he’s always calling me out and lowering my self esteem or confidence levels he makes people think theirs something wrong . I have anxiety and I live with it everyday I get nervous when I have it it’s so bad I can’t even make face contact with people that they think I’m either special ed or weird

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      anonymous 4 months ago

      My mom did almost all of these things, and now I'm indecisive, depressed, etc. I was always compared to others.

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      anon 4 months ago

      I never want to have kids, I don't want to be like my parents. I have my mum including my relatives all have stressful love lifes. My mum was in arranged marriage, aunties all had bf's who left them for younger women. Most old couples tolerate each other..

      I'm absolutely disgusted by the thought of being intimate with someone else. I also have low self esteem and have punched myself several times on places people can't see

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      steph 4 months ago

      My dad always used to tell me I'd grow up to be a failure when i was in highschool despite the fact that i took multiple ap classes, was in three honor societies, and went to a well known math and science high school. he also used to tell me that no guy would ever love me. now i find myself randomly breaking down in my college apartment crying sometimes afraid that he will be right

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      Zachary Dahlgren 4 months ago

      I feel like my parents are trying to put me in an echochamber and surround me with ideas that they agree with. When i say something they disagree with they call my immature, stupid, a white supremacist, a nazi, and other buzzwords they can come up with. They are trying to police the people who I interact with because they think differently than them. They also like to supress any form of creativity i have deeming it as "unsafe".

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      Lydia 4 months ago

      I am quite a mature child, in the age category of 12. I keep to myself as I start to care less and less about my school work, due to stress overwhelming me and getting little praise from my mother. She compares me to my older sister and never praises me for my work. I get low work, and the little times I get good grades, she barely notices, only pointing out my missing assignments. My self esteem has plummeted, as I worry about Gym and embarrassing myself as thinking that people will talk behind my back. I already suffer from ADHD and everything piles on me. Learning goes through one ear and out the other, and whenever I cannot take it anymore, I cry, and she shows no sympathy. And as I do love her, her moments of rudeness often get to me. I also remember saying "I cannot wait until I have a job so I can use my money to buy what makes me happy!" She stingily remarks on how happiness wont last forever and I will go into debt because I like to waste my money on videogames, and this always leads to my grades. To note, video games are the one things that makes me feel happy.

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      Grace Marguerite Williams 4 months ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York

      Your dad is a perfectionist parent. He has internal psychological issues. Perhaps he did not have opportunities in life & is living through you. He wants perfection because he wants you to have the opportunities he never had.

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      kelly 4 months ago

      I came into the country a couple of years ago and I thank my dad for bringing me here but after reading this, I realized that I am being emotionally abused. I put my sweat and tears to get into this one school(which is the best in the city) and I did get in. Ever since I started I have been struggling a little bit adjust since its an academic school. I have really been doing my best but ist doesnt seem to be enough for my dad. I later got a mark that i regret and feel ashamed and when he saw it he told me to look for another school because I clearly dont deseve to be in that school. All my other cources were As but that one course was a high B i am not proud of it but i dont want to think that I did all that to get into a school just to later be told by your dad that you dont deserve being in that school and that you have to leave to go to a school where no one really cares about their marks. I cant handle him anymore it just seems like no matter what I do I can never please him.

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      Pat 5 months ago

      A lot of this is very familiar to me thanks to my father. I've come to realize he might even have narcissistic and borderline personality disorders. I feel like I can't do anything in life, but he just blows it off and tells me I'm lazy and making excuses to avoid work. Ironically, he's been unemployed and mooching off my mom for as long as I can remember. And he also has my sweet mom wrapped around his finger. I've barely scratched the surface of how much of a piece of trash he is. I have no one who will listen. Everyone tells me I need to grow up and appreciate my parents. But what if one of those parents is a monster? I feel like I can't just move out and save myself because I've grown to be weak and ill equipped for life. I have a huge fear of being independent. And I can't even get a damned apology for any of it. If I ever bring up any of this to my father, he throws a literal tantrum and says I'm "harassing" or "verbally abusing" him. I don't know what to do except hope for a miracle.

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      Deedeew 5 months ago

      I came on here just because I'm really conscious of what a delicate balance your children's self esteem is. Both of my boys seen happy and confident albeit they are still young, and I try to think of things I can do to boost their confidence and general tips on supporting them. Shocked and saddened that most of these comments are from people who are suffering with self esteem issues relating back to their parents. I suffer from low self esteem and attempt to manage it so I can be a good role model to my sons. Please seek help. Your life could be a lot better.

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      Imnotarobot 5 months ago

      My father has no low self esteem and destroyed mine growing up. You cannot pass on what you don't have. He is guilty of most of what's mentioned in this article. A strict authoritarian who was brain washed by religion and the system into thinking that anyone who doesn't conform is odd or a waste of space and must be brought into line. He also believed it was ok to get heavy handed with a child. He was very rarely kind to me and instead choose to criticize and condemn me for being different. One time I made a smart comment and he chased after me like a raging bull around the garden and into the house where I locked myself in the toilet. In a fit of anger he kicked the door in and broke the lock off and assaulted me. An angry middle aged man taking his pent up frustrations out on a defenseless child. I was only 11.I was totally traumatized. I didn't speak to him for over 6 months after that.I lost trust in him and our relationship was never the same again. As an adult it took me years to finally realize I was living like to try to please my dad. So one day he might turn around and say your a wonderful person and I really love you.He never hugged me ever. Kind of ruined my life.

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      Alex 5 months ago

      My mom.. LITERALLY DOES ALL OF THIS! I can’t believe that I just realized this, but I think I’m being emotionally abused. My parents take away my phone and tv privileges when I get 92% on a test, or under 95%. I’m sick of it!

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      Anon 5 months ago

      Both my parents did a mixture of this to me, the largest thing I had from my father was the obediance. My mother would invariably be in the shops, "ok, i'm leaving you now". When I completed my A-Levels and got the grades for university all my dad said to me was "Could have been better". I have never received an apology from them for any of their childish behaviour, especially when they refused to sign papers for my university funding, or when my father said that i'd never graduate when I promised his deceased father that i would (before he died). I'll always remember that I was good at running 100m dash, I would have stopped coming last in my training group if they gave me the right shoes, they didn't want me to "sacrifice my intellegence and go into sport" which they told me 10 years later, I wouldn't have felt so bad if they just asked me, rather than told me, "you'll grow out of your running shoes" (stopped growing at that time), "you'll stop running so what's the point?" (even after doing this hobby for 2 years straight and still enjoying it through snow and rain). I felt like they didn't care, and still don't care, and when I have ever brought it up with them they still think they did right, even though I'm an unemployed young woman with a physics degree. I have self esteem issues, depression and anxiety issues. They pushed me so much that I was diagnosed with Dyslexia when I was university, no one noticed because I didn't want to seem like an "Idiot" even though the signs were there. My parents were pro-corporal punishment. Even now when they're close to 50 they still seem like they are kids having kids, just by their mentality.

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      anonymous53 5 months ago

      My mum has always said she hates loud mouthy kids so I think this is one of the reasons that I am a shy person because my parents have brought me up so I'm not like that. Also my dad he is a pretty negative person and has low-self esteem himself, for example he didn't have a very good education growing up so he is pretty bad at spelling and handling money, so he basically doesn't like going to the supermarket and paying for things I can tell that he has social anxiety. So basically my mum has to do it all.

      He is always moaning at me, especially because I'm the youngest out of me and my sister. I think its his way of showing he has some kind of power, because he knows we are more educated than he is I guess he's jealous in other words and also his way of taking out his stress on others. It drives me mad because he moans at you for something that's no big deal and he will get worked up over it. It doesn't help also because he has depression so he is always pretty negative which makes everyone else feel negative and when we try to give him help he is stubborn. I know he has been like it for most of my life so I feel he hasn't really been a good role model to me and is one of the reasons I have lower self esteem, maybe?

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      Grace Marguerite Williams 5 months ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York

      Most parents are parents for the power. They aren't enlightened nor advanced enough to nurture & encourage their children to live their utmost human potential. 90% of parents do the things I have outlined in my hub.

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      LynzKirsch 5 months ago

      Collectively my parents did all of this. While I was growing up all I ever heard was how I was never going to amount to anything, that I was fat and had rolls even when I was 12 and was thin as a stick.

      In high school I was having terrible anxiety and depression. My guidance counselor recommended that I be taken to a psychiatrist, and my father screamed at me saying " you're 16! What would you ever have to be depressed or anxious over!? "

      The fact that both of my parents were drug addicts and I grew up raised under the " spare the whip you spoil the child " mindset. As soon as I turned 16 I was forced to get a job which was good for me since I got out of the house, but my paprents took all the money I earned and " used it to cover rent " which basically meant their drug addictions..

      By the time I graduated( valedictorian of my class to boot) I was told to start applying for college because they didn't want a "deadbeat loser leaching " off of them. I had options but they refused to help financially and still charged me basically my whole paychecks a month.

      I flash moved in with a friend in another state(now husband) to abscond from my toxic "family".

      And now at 30 with aggressive multiple sclerosis, I still have them calling me and asking for money.. but I still work even through my disability. Every day is a struggle, but I get through with my in-laws being the family I knew I'd always deserved. I wont be having children myself because of my family having terrible history of mental problems and I would never wish to pass on MS to them. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy.

      Sorry for the novel, but this page should be part of a required course when you become a parent. It really just saddens me to see all these wonderful people in these comments who were belittled and emotionally destroyed because of years of horrible parenting.

      Thank you all, and I wish you the best.

      -Lynz

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      Cindy Beaumont 5 months ago

      Now I know why I struggle so much. The only parenting I was given was all of the above points, look I do not blame my dad for anything but maybe some things contributed to my 0 self esteem and belief in myself.... even now at 33 stuck in the family business and too scared to leave, my life and world does and always has revolved around how my dad feels... I always disappoint, constantly told im never enough, never giving enough and how he regrets having me.

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      Foram 5 months ago

      Why do my parents give more attention to my little brother more then me? My brother is nine, and i am sixteen. Do they like him more then me?

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      Christopher 6 months ago

      Maybe if my father would look on the bright side of what I've accomplished thus far, and what I have currently earned, as opposed to what I have not earned, maybe he would gain a better appreciation for my efforts. This is unfortunately not the case as my grades aren't as flawless and as blemish-free as he would like them to be. I am taking rather hard classes, but he fails to realize that I'm trying as hard as I can with the current situation that I am in. I am not a genius, nor am I stupid, but he honestly takes away my motivation to continue pushing myself so hard by failing to be happy for what I have accomplished. I show him my grades and expect him to be pleased, but even with these grades, he is still not satisfied. I feel utterly worthless at times and I am starting to lose interest in continuing this pathway of stress. I do not ask for much, but all I ask is that we all learn to appreciate each other for the things that we do. My father, on the other hand, fails to do this.

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      Eileen 6 months ago

      My parents do almost all of these things... I wish they saw this website

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      Taylor 6 months ago

      My mom is like this . I got a B+ and I was thinking it was pretty good but my mom was like "no you did terrible, how are you so stupid." It just upsets me so much. I wish she would understand how it feels to be put under so much pressure. What makes it even worse is my little siblings are in school also and if my brother gets a one out of three she throws like a party for him. She loves them so much more than me but because I'm supposed to be super smart she just keeps pushing and pushing.

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      Delilah 6 months ago

      That awkward moment, when you realize that your mom fit all the description

      Children of these parents often put up a mask that they are a happy rolling sunshine perfect smartass child, until they hit 20 and they realize these parents are manipulative and controlling. Then, these adult children began to resent their parents for what they stood for.

      This is why I delay the plan to marry and have children eventhough in my culture, women tipically marry at 20 something (I'm 23). Because I want to make sure that I will be a better mother to my children than my mom to me.

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      Anonymous 6 months ago

      my mom just got out of the hospital and I haven't been keeping up eith homework and stuff and now she is telling me that it might be better that she never came out of the hospital so now I feel like I made her life so miserable that I wish that maybe I wasn't born

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      Grace Marguerite Williams 6 months ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York

      Speak to the student's parents first and then a counselor.

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      Yeshka 6 months ago

      What to do when a TEACHER does this to a student?

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      Roy dsilva 6 months ago

      I m facing all this problem

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      Grace Marguerite Williams 6 months ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York

      You are quite welcome.

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      Nacho Official 6 months ago

      I totally believe this. Every parent should see this. Thank you so much creator!!

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      Grace Marguerite Williams 6 months ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York

      Please don't kill yourself. Your life is precious, get help soon. Talk to a psychologist who can address & find a remedy for your problems.

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      Someone who will probably die soon 6 months ago

      LOL! My parents have literally done everything on this list since I was a child. No wonder I'm so fucked up. My parents are the reason why I will never have children, and possibly might kill myself. LOL! I am a 26 year old veteran of the Navy, and I've been suffering major depression, possible PTSD. I'm going to the VA hospital to look for a solution that I've been suffering with for the past 3 years. Hopefully they give me the disability I deserve because if they don't they might just see my name in the papers someday.

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      You don't need to know 6 months ago

      My friends may see me happy on the outside but in the inside there are stuff that is going on. Every time progress or report cards come out I am always scared to show my dad because then I would know how mad he would be to see a B on my report card. I am always expected to get good grades, but I don't like being told that if I don't get good grades I will be in big trouble(REAL TROUBLE)

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      Amel 6 months ago

      My mother did most of these and now I am completely miserable in life... I cant talk to people without being terrified

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      Laura Waldron 7 months ago

      My dad did every single one of those to me, is it any wonder Im not a frillin mouse. There was a girl the same age as me that danced at the same studio and went to the same school as me. All I ever heard from him was how Ann Marie was a better dancer than me, how she had longer legs than me, and how she made better grades than me. He made me hate that poor girl. I was never good enough for him, I wasnt perfect in his eyes. At 16 yrs old I weighed 93 pounds but he consistently told me that I could stand to lose 10 more pounds, just 10 more pounds. Dancers fight against anorexia as is. Oh, and my aspirations to be a professional dancer was met with; youre too short, youre just using it as an escape, and it's a highly competitive field-you'll never make it as a dancer. Bad grades got me restrictions as well as beatings. I remember him saying to me, "if I tell you to jump your only question should be how high not why." Im 51 yrs old now and I still cant get his negative voice out of my head. It's been a battle to overcome my abused past and all of that, that was listed in this article is the most insidious form of abuse that a parent can inflict on their child.

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      Grace Marguerite Williams 7 months ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York

      Have a talk w/your parents. Tell them that you have a right to have hobbies. Tell them that life is a mixture of work & play. Play & hobbies are good for children to explore themselves.

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      Anonymous 7 months ago

      My mum and my dad constantly feels that I need to look into every little detail that needs fixing. This past two days I was just having fun posting musically on facebook, and blew up on me at 6.30 in the morning commanding me to take it down and constantly going on the way how I act girly and all when people say nothing about. They say they need to fix me with everything because I need to know how the outside world works. They constantly say something the way I walk, the way I sit, the way I dressed and they even said I need to fix the way I talk English, because they think I am faking it because I sound like an American (that is because I had a more varied English spoken friends that grew up with me) when I can't change to a more "Malaysianised" way (I live in Malaysia, so English wasn't much of a big field here)

      I love them but please tell me this is too much. I am hanging by a thread. I swear if this goes on I am running away to live my life as me. What should I do?

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      Grace Marguerite Williams 7 months ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York

      Talk to a teacher, clergyperson(if religiously affiliated), relative, or a guidance counselor. What your mother is doing to you is tantamount to child abuse.

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      anonymous 7 months ago

      My mother in particular likes to employ the "I know what's best for you!" response when I tell her that she is being hurtful. She likes to claim that I (just me, not any of my siblings or anyone else in the family) cause all the problems we deal with and I am making everyone miserable, but she's the one causing me to feel worthless? I do try to do things that will please her but everything seems to backfire and it all goes to pieces. I am unable to drive by myself for the time being (I have my permit but not my license) and our school doesn't really have a counselor for this kind of issue. What should I do? A few of my close and trusted friends know about this and my brother does as well. I don't want to risk her getting even angrier with me then she already is but I want to let her know that she's definitely not helping my self esteem or anxiety.

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      Anonymous 7 months ago

      Though my family is nice, in fact really nice, I love them, they love me, but when it comes to any particular task, at times they kind of insult me when I don't help them by calling me thankless and inconsiderate, they rarely remember the times when I have helped them, which is just not good.

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      Anonymous 7 months ago

      Even my family does this. They rarely remember instances when I help them in a particular task, but they seem to remember those instances very precisely when I didn't, saying that 'I never help them..', especially my mother. They insult me, start calling me useless and say really bad things which are kind of unbearable to hear, like 'I am inconsiderate, I am ungrateful, why did we get such a child..' which is kind of disheartening.

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      Allie Clement 8 months ago

      This is my dad to a T. Ruined my entire family and he thinks all of us are the problem......he told my brother he was worthless and beat him and my mom. My brother is almost 30 years old and still battling drug addiction. Only recently did I realize what a monster my "dad" is and that he's been doing these things to me my entire life and I became timid and submissive. Not to mention I have severe anxiety disorder and depression. Parents, if you have a partner like this that won't change, run. As fast as you can. I wish my mom did as soon as she experienced his abuse. and took us with her. I despise this boy (he is not a man). Pure scum.

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      Grace Marguerite Williams 8 months ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York

      It takes deep self-assessement & even deeper psychological counseling. It is even better to confront parents on this & if they refuse to accept their verbal & emotional abuse, just disassociate from such toxic parents!

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      Manish Erande 8 months ago

      How can a child recover losses after fait- accompli there carrers self esstem , confidence gets ruined

      please guide me

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      Bethany 9 months ago

      My mother was like this, I moved in with my dad and he was also like this. As a teen I can confirm this is absolutely spot on, PLEASE parents don't do these things...

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      Shea 9 months ago

      I wish I knew about this years ago.

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      Omari 10 months ago

      I've dealt with everything except number 9

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      Grace Marguerite Williams 10 months ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York

      Excellent, insightful response, Veronica.

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      Veronica Hunt 10 months ago from Philadelphia, PA

      For kids of almost any age, rather than praising the result based on some external scale (a not very good drawing for example), better long-term results come from praising the effort, diligence, creativity, or other values (e.g. fair play in social situations ) exhibited.

      Here is a nice calculator to check your child's GPA:

      https://studentshare.net/gpa-calculator/high-schoo...

      So don't say, "what is that thing you drew?" or "that's the best drawing of ... whatever that is... I've ever ever seen!" Instead say something like, "Wow, it looks like you really put a lot of thought and work into that drawing. Would you tell me about it?" This is sincere on your part, rewards and calls attention to the energy and focus expended, and engages the child further in interacting with you about it.

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      Ling Liu 10 months ago

      Unfortunately I suffered EXACTLY everything that's written growing up with my own parents and it pushed me beyond ridiculous that resorts in shouting and verbal fights. When confronting about it to them now they don't even remember it!

      It's damaged me badly and I don't talk to them about anything anymore and they wonder why...because of them.

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      Grace Marguerite Williams 12 months ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York

      Yes, your parents are the problem. They are soul devouring parents. Please talk to your teachers & guidance counselors about your situation. They can recommend a psychologist to address & solve this issue.

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      Maya 12 months ago

      I am 14 and I look forward going to school because I love to talk to people, I also love being alone and peace and quiet. My grades are awful but a partially blame them on my parents. I don't look forward to coming home at all, my dad constantly calls me useless and tells me I should die. It has come to the point where all he talks about are my grades. All of my teachers hate me after his constant emails. He tells me I don't care about them, how does he know? Obviously I care about my grades, I can't fix it but maybe you can somehow help, obviously what you are doing now is not working. My mother sometimes talks about other things with me but it has come to the point that once in a while if I want to look good my parents say that all I worry about is how I look. Of course I don't, dressing up and wearing makeup does not affect my grades, it just boosts up my self confidence. Don't get me wrong, my parents moved houses so I can go to the school I am in right now but they use that as an excuse when they scream at me. Today out of anger I broke my wall, now I seem like some sort of crazy person. They spend alot of money on tution for me, but they can't see that I don't need tution, I just need some sort of support. When they see me studying they say to me, whats the point, you never get good grades after studying anyways. At home it is always tension, screaming, and hitting. We live in a great home and to others we seem like a good family. I am seriously considering go to a counciler or something, I am going crazy. Sure, I basically have 4 c's, 1 a, 1 d, and 1 b in all of my classes but still, I am taking advanced classes and there are kids doing much worse. They keep saying that without them I am going to end up working in a Mc'Donalds. My family is Indian by the way. The keep accusing me for things I never do, I honestly just want to be alone

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      Gaming 14 months ago

      My parents do half of that, and honestly, my self esteem is pretty much destroyed... I actually feel that, my dad is attempting to ruin my childhood.

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      Roo 21 months ago

      I wish my parents would read this they do a lot of this to me

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      Grace Marguerite Williams 2 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York

      Thank you for stopping by and responding. Parents have to be thoughtful and mindful in raising their children. What parents say and do can affect their children for better....or WORSE.

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      Joyette Fabien 2 years ago from Dominica

      Great Hub! Increasingly, the need for parenting lessons is becoming more vital. The future of many children would be saved if their parents would only take parenting classes or at the very least, stop and take note of their errors and make necessary changes.

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      Claire Yuan 2 years ago

      Wonderful points - my childhood was like that, but I never really thought that my parents were destroying my self-esteem. I thought I was just shy, and naturally had a low-esteem. Listing out those ten points made me understand more about parenting and the effects of bad parenting...

      Children look up to their parents and expect to be praised for what they did well, if they aren't...well I would be hurt and think whatever I did wasn't good enough. In worst cases, children think they aren't good enough, that they're worthless.

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      Grace Marguerite Williams 2 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York

      Princessa, thank you for stopping by and responding.

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      Wendy Iturrizaga 2 years ago from France

      Very good points on what parents shouldn't do to their children. Childhood is a very fragile period of life, whatever we do or say to a child will remain with them for the rest of their lives. A well-rounded adult was a child that had plenty of love and support from their family environment.

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