3 Red Lines You Shouldn't Cross with Your Kids

It's not easy to be a parent, and everyone makes mistakes. However, there are certain red lines you should never cross.
3 Red Lines You Shouldn't Cross with Your Kids

Last update: 01 August, 2021

Every parent has felt like they’ve lost control of their children. In the difficult task of educating, we can find ourselves in extreme situations that overwhelm us and put us to the test. It’s not possible, nor is it necessary, to be perfect, since everyone makes mistakesHowever, there are certain red lines that we should never cross with our children.

When they grow up, your child won’t remember that specific day that you were tired and didn’t play with them. The memories of their childhood won’t be summed up on that morning you were late and raised your voice to hurry them up. However, there are certain actions that significantly affect emotional development, so you should avoid them.

The red lines of parenting

A red line is a point of no return. A metaphorical and imaginary place where the consequences can be devastating and irreparable for those involved. When we talk about parenting, the red lines are the behaviors that negatively affect the bond between parents and their children and really hurt the kids.

In short, they’re the moments where respect is lost, love is questioned, and basic values are put aside. So, being clear about what they are can stop us from crossing them.

3 red lines you shouldn’t cross with your children

A boy being pulled by the ear.

Physical punishment

Although some people think “a spank in time avoids many problems”, the reality is that physical violence against a child is always a failure. No matter how small, hitting doesn’t educate, teach, or transmit any valuable learning. It’s only the reaction of an adult who feels overwhelmed and helpless.

Studies have shown the serious emotional consequences of hitting children. The parent-child bond is damaged, muddied, and filled with resentment, anger and mistrust. The child’s self-esteem goes down, and they learn to fear getting hit instead of learning an important value.

So, just like we don’t hit our partner or our boss when they do something that bothers us, we shouldn’t hit our children. Remember this: if a child can reason, then reason with them. If they can’t, then they won’t understand why you hit him. A hit is never justified.


Certainly, it can be exhausting taking care of your children to fulfill their needs, do the same things over and over again, and face their difficult behaviors. However, no matter how many times you have tried to make yourself heard with your best words, it’s not acceptable to insult a child.

When you insult them, you break the essential base of respect that must exist between you two. Then, you lose the authority to demand respect, and you hurt their feelings. Just like the previous case, insulting them isn’t helpful or positive in any way. It doesn’t teach, motivate or improve. So, if you feel overwhelmed, leave the room and try to calm down. Once you cross one of the red lines, nothing will be the same.

A mother yelling at her child.


Finally, there is a big mistake that many parents make, and that’s blaming their children for their own unhappiness. Often, they yell at them for everything they’ve done for them, everything they’ve given up, and what they lost by being parents. This is an attitude that shows immaturity and victimhood, and that’s unfair to kids.

As an adult, you have to take responsibility for your past, present and future decisions, and you have to take charge of your happiness. Each of your decisions was yours. For this reason, there’s no one else responsible other than you.

Growing up listening to these types of statements can cause kids to feel guilty, to see themselves as a burden, to feel unloved, and to feel that they have to make their parents happy, as they owe their parents happiness.

Free your child of that burden. Don’t make them feel like your happiness depends on their actions. Learn to make yourself happy so your child can grow up carefree.


All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Gershoff, E. T. (2002). Corporal punishment by parents and associated child behaviors and experiences: a meta-analytic and theoretical review. Psychological bulletin128(4), 539.
  • González, P. (2019b, junio 9). ¿Qué detesta un niño de un padre tóxico? Recuperado julio de 2020, de https://lamenteesmaravillosa.com/detesta-nino-padre-toxico/

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.