Words Matter: 10 Horrible Phrases To Never Say To A Child

There are many things that can mess up a child. Words are quite powerful.

1. Dad Tells Child “I Wish You'd Never Been Born”

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A Redditor recently shared a heartbreaking story about how their father once said, “I wish you'd never been born,” to them. This toxic and damaging language can have a long-lasting impact on a child's mental health and well-being, making it crucial for parents to provide their children with love and support. It's devastating to think that a parent could say something so hurtful to their offspring, but unfortunately, it happens more often than we would like to admit.

2. Blaming a Child for Misery

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Imagine hearing the words, “Life would be better without you. You are the reason for our misery,” from your parent. This is what one user recently shared as their experience, and it's a statement that can devastate a child's self-worth and mental health. Such hurtful language can create lasting emotional damage, making it imperative for parents to choose their words carefully and avoid using language that belittles or blames their children.

3. Gaslighting and Imagining Things

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One of the worst things a parent can say to their child is, “It's all in your head/you are just imagining it,” according to a commentator. While it may not seem like the harshest statement, it can profoundly impact a child's sense of reality and self-worth. When a child is led to believe that their problems aren't real, it can cause confusion and anxiety, leading to difficulties in distinguishing what is genuine and what is not.

4. Unjustified Disrespect Towards a Good Child

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Another user shared a painful memory of a comment made by their parent that left a lasting impact. “What did I do to deserve such a disrespectful child? Why couldn't I have a good one?” Despite the user's efforts to be a good child, their parent's words left them feeling unappreciated and unloved. It's a reminder that even seemingly small comments can profoundly impact a child's emotional well-being.

5. Comparing a Child to an Unwanted Parent

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It's hard to imagine being told by a parent to “List all the bad things about dad and then immediately tell me I look/act just like him.” This type of toxic comment not only puts down the father figure but also creates a negative association with the child's resemblance to them. It can cause confusion and anxiety, making the child question their own identity and worth. Parents should focus on building their children's self-esteem instead of comparing them to others or putting down family members.

6. Wishing a Child Died Instead of a Parent

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The words of a storyteller echoed through the room, heavy with heartbreak and despair: “I wish the grim reaper had claimed your father's life, not you.” But these words were not directed toward an adult. No, they were spoken by a parent to their own child. Such a statement is toxic and emotionally abusive, and it can lead to severe trauma that can affect the child's mental health and self-esteem. Parents who wish death upon their children need professional help to address their issues, as it is never okay to say such things.

7. Disbelief Over Assault

Annoyed woman
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A survivor bravely shared their traumatic experience, recounting when their school informed their parent about being physically assaulted. But instead of offering comfort and support, the parent replied with words that cut like a knife: “I don't believe a word you say.” This kind of invalidation can cause shame and guilt, making it difficult for victims to seek help and support. In situations like these, trust and support from a parent are crucial, and the lack of it can have severe and long-lasting effects on a child's mental and emotional well-being.

8. Victim-blaming and Physical Abuse

Displeased angry woman blocking offer, showing cross stop gesture, saying no and shaking head in negative reply, standing over pink background
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The hurtful comment of a mother to her daughter's childhood friend cut deep and left a scar that would last a lifetime. “Your uncle wouldn't mess with you if you didn't walk around the house like a harlot,” the mother had said. Later, the uncle was arrested for abuse, but the most painful thing for the friend was that her mother had assumed it was her fault. The comment about her behavior made her feel responsible for the abuse, causing deep emotional trauma that would linger for years to come.

9. Blaming Child for Almost Divorce

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A unique individual opened up about a painful experience with their parent, recalling the words they spoke: “You're the reason why your dad and I almost divorced.” This statement greatly burdened the child and made them feel responsible for their parent's relationship troubles. It can also cause feelings of guilt and self-blame for something that is not their fault. Such words can profoundly impact a child's psyche and cause emotional turmoil that lasts well into adulthood.

10. Mother's Comment on Child's Looks

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The memory of a disturbing statement overheard at the tender age of 11 haunted an individual for years. The mother had uttered deeply troubling words: “At least your appearance means I don't have to worry about you being molested or raped.” These words left a deep psychological impact on the child, causing them to struggle with the aftermath for years. Such statements can be incredibly harmful and can cause lasting emotional trauma.

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