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We've all heard how parenting is a full-time job. So it's not surprising to learn that parents have discovered plenty of quirks and methods to make things just a little bit more efficient during that eternal slog.


Sure, taking care of one's kids is an absolutely heartwarming, unparalleled joy at times. But parents are humans too, and they cut corners to make things move along or to generate an outcome they prefer.

Unfortunately, some of those shortcuts can have long-term side effects.

A group of Redditors gathered to share the examples they knew all too well.

Capable-Parsley2368 asked, "What 'parenting trick' can actually f*** up a child?"

Many people described the ways parents, to make their kids behave in a desired way, do things that are a bit emotionally manipulative.

It's a kind of "at all costs" approach that can be damaging.

The Adult in the Room

"Giving kids the Silent Treatment when they're in trouble, honestly teaches them to shut down when things get difficult rather than talk things through."

"I am personally unlearning that behavior to this day because of how often my mom did that."

-- hazey227

Inflicting Fear

"Pretending to ring the police when you've done something bad." -- Scoobyginger25

"Scare tactics. My mom was always telling me horrible stories to scare me not to do things. Like yes I get it, I won't play by the train tracks or the canal but it seemed like everything I wanted to do had a scary story to go with it."

"Even when I was going to college and trying to decide on a career. Oh you don't want to do that because so and so did that and are now homeless, divorced, depressed, etc." -- zeldessa

Dropping a Bomb

"My mom would always tell me right as i was heading out the door for school that i was in trouble and we needed to talk when i got home. She would never give any clue to what it was but would let me know i was in some sh**. I'd spend the entire day wondering what i did wrong and thinking i was a bad kid.

"9 out of 10 times it had to do with my grades, school was a huge struggle for me."

-- Anita_Jurkoff

Beware of Bullfrogs

"My dad would take us camping a lot. He didn't want us getting lost in the woods so he would tell us the sound we heard (bullfrogs) was actually a water monster that will drag you underwater or deep in woods to eat you."

"I think most old school parenting was terrifying your kids to keep them out of danger."

-- NotAPunishment

Other people discussed the times their parents were blatantly dishonest. These Redditors didn't always notice the truth at the time, but 20/20 hindsight sure clarified some issues.

Just Say No

" 'Next time' promises to make the child not complain, but are never fulfilled. It only leads to trust issues." -- macncheese_z

"They also lose their power quickly when the kid knows there will be no 'next time.' Which makes them fight harder for 'this time,' causing the entire goal of promising 'next time' to go unfulfilled along with the trust issues."

"Which is what I like to call an 'epic gamer move' " -- KalebMW99

The Hot Gossip

"Reading diaries or journals, (text messages, emails). It's a huge violation of trust and will cause kids to bottle emotions up instead of expression through creativity. If you think something is wrong or that they are in a bad situation choose to sit and talk with them in earnest."

-- EveryDayAnotherMask

Convoluted, Indirect

"Extreme euphemisms that are almost lies to make bad news less harsh." -- kaida_notadude

"Seriously. Just tell the kids whats going on. If you want to soften the blow, take them out somewhere nice to put them at ease, but give them the truth."

"Kids can handle a lot more than we give them credit for, and telling them the truth without blurring it all up with euphemisms helps them process information more clearly." -- CaptainHindsight212

Last, some people realized that their parents had good intentions, but totally missed the mark about implementing them. These parents wanted what they felt was best for the child, but getting there, they did the worst.

In Your Ear Forever

"Putting down your child to 'motivate' them. My parents never gave me positive reinforcement, they'd be quick to jump all over my mistakes and they even told me that I was faking my grades when I got the straight A's they wanted."

"It didn't do anything except sow the seeds of self-doubt that I still have to this day."

-- yeetgodmcnechass

Creating Hierarchies

" 'You see that child Timmy? Be more like him.' Made me insecure and feel beneath everyone." -- Madam-Vixen

"My moms logic is that it pushes me to do what the others do as well. What really happened was i felt they would rather have the other one as their child not me" -- mizukata

Doesn't Have to Be a Transaction

"Cleaning your room as a punishment or something to hold over your kid if they want to do something fun."

"This will give your kid the impression cleaning their room is a bad thing. Treat it as something you both can do together, encourage them to do it because they want to. I've decided that I will always help my kid Clean his room solely to achieve the goal of a clean room, that's it."

-- turqouisepurplepink


Hopefully, a thread like this will shine a light on the intuitive, but problematic, approaches to parenting. Maybe you're thinking about kids or have some of your own.

Take it from these folks that even the minor things can add up.

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