Top Ways Parents Abuse Their Kids Without Even Realizing

As society evolves, we realize some things we thought about parenthood are way off and actually hurt kids. Here are some ways today’s parents are setting their kids up for failure.  


Teenage girl pushes younger sibling in a stroller.
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Parentification occurs when the eldest child becomes a stand-in for a parent. The older kid loses their ability to be a kid, as they’re now responsible for the health and well-being of their siblings. 

Of course, there’s a balance. Asking the older kid to babysit and help out now and again is expected. But when the older child can no longer be a kid because they’re constantly expected to help raise the other kids, it becomes a problem. 

No Social Life

Sad lonely little girl looking out the window.
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Some parents don’t allow their kids to have friends. They can’t go to friends’ houses, join extracurricular activities, or do anything outside the home. 

These kids may struggle to develop healthy relationships in adulthood. 

Over Scheduling

Young boy dressed as an office working playing office work.
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Kids don’t need every waking moment to be scheduled for them. It’s okay to let kids be bored. Leave them to their own devices and let them entertain themselves. 

Unable to Fail

Young anxious girl crossing her fingers and worrying her lip.
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Strict parents react harshly to any hint of failure. These kids become anxiety-ridden adults, barely able to function in the real world. 


A sad looking young boy wrapped in bubble wrap using a skateboard.
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Helicopter parents struggle to let go. They don’t let their kids strike out independently and learn their own life lessons. 

Some parents even go so far as to sit in interviews with their adult children. Guess who didn’t get the job?

Restricting Access to Education

An old shelf filled with old and antique looking books.
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Some parents don’t want their kids to learn. The parents pushing to ban books and restrict topics they don’t like are playing a dangerous game. Their kids will grow up in ignorant bliss about how the world works. It’s a disservice not only to the kids but to society as a whole. 

The entire narrative around parental choice is dangerous for children. Parents shouldn’t have the power to keep their kids ignorant. 

Mini Me

mom and daughter wearing matching heart shaped sunglasses and little crowns.
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Some parents think their kids should be tiny versions of themselves. They push their kids into the activities and professions they want without giving what the kids want a second thought. 


A young girl cowering in the corner with a stuffed animal, you can see her between the outline of her father's legs, though you can't see his face.
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The idea that it’s your kid, so you can do what you want with them, violates children’s human rights. Although parents should have a significant say in what values to instill in their children, they shouldn’t have complete control. 

Some parents brainwash their kids into insidious and abusive cults. The government doesn’t say anything because of “values” and “parental choice,” while young girls get married off to old men and never get the opportunity to be their own person. 

It’s state-sanctioned child abuse, but the parents don’t even realize it because the same thing happened to them. 

Disrespecting Boundaries

Annoyed woman with her hand up as if to say "stop."
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By the time we try to teach kids consent, we’ve likely already trained them that they aren’t allowed to have boundaries. We only start with the “no means no” lessons when they’re teenagers, but how often did we force little Sally to hug her creepy uncle Jimmy despite her protests?

We also force sharing on children. Although we should teach that sharing is caring, many take it too far and don’t allow their kids to have anything of their own. We then wonder why they enter into abusive relationships as adults. 


Grandparents playing in the grass with young grandchild.
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People love to push childhood innocence as an excuse to shelter their kids from the real world. “They’re children; they shouldn’t be exposed to this!” they scream. 

However, sheltering children from reality only hurts them in the long run. Kids are far more aware than we realize and far more understanding than we give them credit for. Rather than pretend things don’t exist, we should teach them about something in age-appropriate ways. 

Refusal To Discipline

Angry child screaming.
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Parents these days can’t fathom that their kids are anything but perfect little angels. They refuse to discipline their children, allowing them to run amok in public places and disrespect other people. 

These kids will become entitled adults who think they can do no wrong. 

Pushing Gender Norms

Young girl mixing batter in the kitchen by herself.
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Some parents won’t let their boys play with dolls and prevent their girls from playing with ninja turtles. They give their little girls baking sets and give their little boys microscopes. Then, they push gendered chores on their children, expecting girls to help with all the domestic labor while the boys relax. 

These gendered expectations are hard to break. The boys grow up feeling entitled to a woman’s domestic labor, while the girls struggle to form healthy, balanced partnerships.

Reasons Not To Have Kids

Woman crossing her arms in a refusal gesture.
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Despite all the pressure to procreate, it’s perfectly valid not to want kids. Millennials and younger generations are opting out of parenthood at record rates. 

Here are their top reasons for not wanting kids

You Don’t Need To Follow Society’s Script

couple sitting at a table. Man looks happy, woman looks bored.
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Find out how the life script keeps us trapped and miserable.

Thats Not a Flex – Weird Things People Are Proud of

Woman with glasses and one eye closed looks confused and unsure of herself.
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People boast about the weirdest things. Here are the top things people are inexplicably proud of

People Can’t Afford Kids

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Even people who want children can’t afford to have them. When basic biology gets put off, you know society is on the decline. Here’s the truth about why young folks aren’t having kids: they can’t afford it. 

More from Partners in Fire – Let Your Free Spirit Soar

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Are you a free spirit, forced to live in a little box by society’s constraints? Here are some tips for letting your spirit soar

Author: Melanie Allen

Title: Journalist

Expertise: Pursuing Your Passions, Travel, Wellness, Hobbies, Finance, Gaming, Happiness

Melanie Allen is an American journalist and happiness expert. She has bylines on MSN, the AP News Wire, Wealth of Geeks, Media Decision, and numerous media outlets across the nation and is a certified happiness life coach. She covers a wide range of topics centered around self-actualization and the quest for a fulfilling life.