13 People Discuss the Little Things Parents Do That Contribute to Their Kids’ Mental Health Issues Later in Life

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People develop mental health issues for all sorts of reasons—but one of the might be something that happened to you during childhood. In a recent Reddit thread, people sounded off about the “little” things parents do that could be contributing to larger mental health issues down the road. Here were some of the top responses.

  1. Not Taking Accountability for Mistakes

    “Honestly, it’s not a huge deal if a parent messes up—no one’s perfect. It becomes a big deal when they refuse to admit they did something wrong and then blame their kid as a way of covering up their mistakes.”

  2. Overacting

    “No matter what your kid tells you, keep it cool. Otherwise they will be WAY less likely to come to you with problems.”

  3. Not Setting Boundaries

    “Not setting good boundaries or defining parent-child roles. There are a lot of parents who unintentionally reverse roles like confiding to their child about their adult problems or seeking too much comfort from their child. It can create a sense of responsibility within the child to take care of their parent and can lead to codependency and lack of boundaries in other relationships.”

  4. Fat Shaming

    “Making comments likes ‘wow, you got some chubs there bouncing on the trampoline’ to a 9 year old. Gave me an eating disorder and still dealing with body image issues.”

  5. Saying That Bullying is a Good Thing

    “Telling little girls that are being bullied by boys “…it means they like you so be sweet and quiet and you might get a boyfriend.”

  6. Venting About Adult Problems

    “I was young when my parents began confiding in me about their marriage. They didn’t mean any harm – they were just venting – but it really made me uncomfortable messed with my head.”

  7. Being In and Out of Their Life

    “Causing them to feel depressed and question their self-worth because their own parent doesn’t want to be with them. Just be all the way in or all the way out. What I’m referring to are parents that show up when it’s convenient here and there. Obviously divorced parents with split custody can only do so much.”

  8. Rarely Praising for Right-doings

    “Only acknowledging when they do something wrong, and rarely praising them. Again, more anxiety about not being perfect. Additionally, only praising their efforts in things you like, rather than praising all their efforts.”

  9. Projecting Their Hopes and Dreams Onto Them

    “Maybe little Johnny doesn’t want to be a lawyer. Let’s not riddle him with depression because he hates his life because you forced him to live out your dream instead of his own.”

  10. Not Apologizing When They’re Wrong

    “This leads to the child thinking that everything is their fault anytime something goes wrong.”

  11. Punishing for an Honest Mistake

    “We make MANY mistakes, and none of them are on purpose, no matter how bad they are, I never MEANT to f*ck up, OBVIOUSLY… Even with a diagnosis now I still always have like “background” anxiety as to when my next big mess-up is going to happen out of nowhere, without me realizing, and getting rejected/scolded/hated for it…”

  12. Downplaying Problems

    “For example if a child comes to a parent and says that they are worried about something only to be told that their problem isn’t even that serious. It all comes down to age, what a 5 year old thinks is stressful has the same feeling as to what a 40 year old thinks is stressful. The only difference is the perspective.”

  13. Not Admitting Fault

    “My parents have never once in my life told me “I’m sorry I did that” and my GOD is every single conversation we have a fucking battle because they just refuse. To. Apologize. Seriously, teach your kids some humility.”

What else do you think parents do that might contribute to mental health issues in children?