Gut-wrenching confessions from children receiving trauma counselling have highlighted the crushing emotional effect of phone-obsessed parents.
The heartbreaking comments, made during sessions with a counsellor named Courtney, revealed how deeply impacted children were by parents who incidentally ignored or were dishonest with them.
One of the most devastating comments came from a nine-year-old, who told their counsellor their “parents are always busy or on their phone”.
“Why am I here? Makes me want to leave,” the child told Courtney.
The therapist compiled several examples of what her young clients had shared with her on her ask.courtney TikTok account after writing them out on sticky notes.
A six-year-old told her they felt less important than their parent’s devices.
“I wish I was as important as their phone,” they said.
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Another child felt they got less attention than the family pet.
“My dog gets more attention. Dad said it is because the dog can’t talk. So I stopped talking,” the seven-year-old said.
Courtney said another of her clients felt their parents wouldn’t know if they left.
“If I ran away, my parents wouldn’t know. They don’t say goodnight anymore,” the six-year-old said.
A 16-year-old also felt they were being ignored, telling Courtney, “My mum says ‘in a minute’ and hours go by. This is why I yell and demand. She forgets me.”
A nine-year-old felt their mum used her phone as a way to avoid them.
“My mum is too busy she says, but she texts her friends all day. Why not tell me the truth? She is just avoiding me,” they said.
Another said they only misbehaved because they wanted attention.
“When I annoy my mum it is because I want her attention. I don’t get it any other way,” a 13-year-old said.
A 10-year-old felt their parents didn’t reciprocate the love they had for them.
“I love my mum and dad even when they yell at me. I always love them. I wish I knew that they loved me as much,” they told Courtney.
Others were upset at the way their parents punished them.
“Taking away all that I love doesn’t motivate me. It leaves me feeling hopeless,” a 10-year-old said.
“Telling me that you are disappointed in me, kills me. I didn’t do what I did to hurt you. I was just learning,” a 13-year-old said.
Children also spoke of how fighting between their parents upset them.
“I cry myself to sleep at night. I feel alone. The only company I have is my tears. Mum and Dad fight a lot at night,” a seven-year-old said.
An eight-year-old said their parents were “better off divorcing” and were only staying together “for my siblings and I”.
A 15-year-old said they lost trust in themselves when their parents lied about how they were.
“Lying to me when I ask if you are OK makes me not trust myself. I am connected to you,” they told Courtney.
The comments came as a wake-up call for parents across the globe, with many admitting they had been guilty of focusing too much on their phone in favour of their children.
“These are so sad! I wish I was more aware when my kids were growing up,” one parent wrote in a comment to a post on Facebook.
“This is just heartbreaking. Poor babies,” another said.
“This is so sad but true. Put your phones down people, stop fighting and engage with your children,” someone else wrote.
Others agreed that ignoring children was a legitimate form of abuse.
“Yes, most of them are gut-wrenching. So many people are clueless as to all the myriad ways in which abuse happens. It’s in more than just hitting or screaming insults,” one wrote.
“Every parent needs to read these comments, because they are true to what children think! So sad,” another said.