Eggshell Parenting and it’s Impact On Children

Eggshell parenting has been all the rage on TikTok. It reveals the impact of unpredictable parental behaviour on children and their mental health. Understand what it means and its impact.

By URLife Team
18 Jan 2024

Parenting comes with its own set of challenges, and many parents may constantly struggle with guilt, anxiety, and fear.  Whether you prefer a gentle approach or a more authoritarian style, concerns about how your parenting influences your child are common. This worry is obvious when you as a parent reflect on your childhood and realise that the parenting you experienced might not have been the healthiest.


Parenting goes beyond providing for your kids' physical needs. It involves shaping and taking care of their emotional well-being. How parents interact with their kids plays a crucial role in their behavioural development. Some parenting styles, such as "eggshell parenting," can have negative effects on children's mental health.


Eggshell parenting, a term that gained traction on TikTok, sheds light on a parenting style that leaves children feeling like they're constantly walking on eggshells. Also, it has brought attention to the fact that this parenting style may unknowingly impact children's well-being. It prompts reflection on how our parenting choices shape the emotional growth of our little ones.


Eggshell parenting is a volatile and inconsistent approach where a parent's unpredictable moods, behaviours, and relational states create an environment of chronic hypervigilance for the child. It involves sudden mood swings, praising and shaming in quick succession, and an inability to maintain emotional and relational consistency.


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Eggshell parenting is when a parent's unpredictable moods make a child feel like they're walking on eggshells, dealing with an emotionally unsafe environment.


In extreme cases of eggshell parenting, there can be serious psychological abuse that makes the child feel responsible for taking care of the parent. The child may also feel guilty when things don't go well for the parent, leading to a role reversal.

As for why someone becomes an eggshell parent, it's not usually a choice.  According to experts, it's likely the parent's way of managing  their own emotions. Eggshell parents might have had a difficult upbringing and never learned how to calm themselves. If parents don't deal with their past issues, it can make them reactive, affecting their children and those around them.


Related Post: How To Apologise If You Snapped At A Loved One


Signs of Eggshell Parenting

Unpredictable Behaviour 

Signs of eggshell parenting are evident through various behaviours. Firstly, eggshell parents exhibit unpredictable mood swings, often going from calm to explosive without warning. This sudden change can be triggered by the child's actions or unrelated factors, leading to the child bearing the brunt of the parent's frustrations.


Blaming or Bullying

Eggshell parents may use verbal and emotional abuse, creating an environment of "good love and bad love." While the positive moments are wonderful, negative episodes involve yelling, blaming, shaming, and threats, causing the child to internalise feelings of shame and unworthiness.


Sending Mixed Messages 

Sending mixed messages is another sign, as an eggshell parent's reactions depend on their current mood. For example, a spilt drink may result in a calm response when the parent is in a good mood, but the same situation could lead to anger or even violence if the parent is in a bad mood.


Never Apologising and Shedding the Responsibility on Others

Eggshell parents rarely apologise. Even when their behaviour is out of line, they often deflect blame onto others and avoid taking responsibility. This lack of remorse and accountability leaves children feeling at fault and contributes to the overall sense of unpredictability and insecurity in the parent-child relationship.


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Impact of Eggshell Parenting

Eggshell parenting in the long term can be detrimental to a child's physical and emotional well-being. When parents are unpredictable with their moods and behaviours, it creates challenges for kids. These challenges can affect various aspects of a child's life, from their feelings of safety to how they build relationships. Here are some of the ways eggshell parenting can leave a lasting impact on children's well-being and development.



Growing up with a parent who exhibits unpredictable behaviours often leads to anxiety in children. The constant uncertainty about which version of the parent will be present creates confusion and fear, contributing to heightened anxiety levels.


Excessive Involvement in Parental Emotions

Children raised by emotionally unpredictable parents may become excessively entwined in their parent's emotions, thoughts, and relationships. This enmeshment can result in a lack of emotional and relational boundaries between parent and child, hindering the child's ability to develop a secure attachment.


Relationship Avoidance

The inconsistency of eggshell parents can perplex children, causing them to blame themselves for the unpredictable reactions. This early experience may instil fear of relationships, as children may struggle to feel safe in interpersonal connections.



Children in such environments develop chronic hypervigilance, always on edge and anticipating the parent's mood shifts. The need to be constantly alert to signs of potential conflict or outbursts prevents the child from truly relaxing, affecting their mental and emotional well-being. Understanding these impacts highlights the urgency of addressing and breaking the cycle of eggshell parenting to foster a healthier and more secure environment for children.


How to Break the Cycle of Eggshell Parenting

Breaking the cycle of eggshell parenting, although challenging, is achievable with intentional efforts. If you recognise these patterns, especially if they stem from your own upbringing, consider the following steps to redirect your behaviour.


Acknowledge Your Trauma

Be cognisant of the fact that addressing your trauma helps. Eggshell parenting often arises from unaddressed past traumas. Seeking support from a therapist or licensed mental health professional can help you process these experiences and work towards a healthier future for both you and your children.


Take Care of Your Internal Temperature

Monitor your "internal temperature" by becoming aware of emotional irregularities. Imagining an internal thermometer can help you gauge your mood. If you notice your emotional temperature rising, take proactive steps to calm down or remove yourself from the situation.


Create a Space Between the Trigger and Your Response

Pause between triggers and responses. When faced with a trigger, such as arriving home to a messy house, take a moment before reacting. Lengthening the space between the trigger and your response allows you to evaluate the situation, consider potential responses, and align your actions with your values as a parent.


Take Responsibility for Your Mistakes

Stopping the blame game and owning up to mistakes is important. Eggshell parents often struggle to recognise when they've crossed boundaries. Acknowledging your errors, even if external factors contributed to your upset, demonstrates strength and maturity. Taking responsibility for your actions sets a positive example for your children.


Seek Professional Help

Practice coping techniques to regulate stress responses. Since eggshell parenting often stems from a heightened stress response, incorporating mindfulness, deep breathing, yoga, or other techniques to regulate the nervous system can be beneficial. Start slowly, be forgiving with yourself, and consistently engage in these practices for the best results. If nothing pans out well, consider seeking professional help from a licensed therapist.


Eggshell parenting shows how much parents affect their kids' feelings. It's important to recognise and change this style for a safe and caring home. We need to be consistent, positive parents to help our kids grow happy and strong. Understanding eggshell parenting helps us make better homes for our children's happiness.


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