Being a parent is difficult, and there’s no real guidebook for the ins and outs of raising another human being.
You’re bound to make mistakes. That’s all part of the process.
But sometimes you hurt the ones you love without knowing it. And that’s why this question was posed on Reddit:
Kids, old and young, weighed in and shared their thoughts… and not all of these are “mistakes.”
1. Get the details right
Constantly correcting and moaning about minor details makes you feel like you’re incapable.
Even major details. If it’s constant, all you’re doing is flushing the relationship down the drain.
I was overweight as a kid. My parents would constantly police what I ate and outright insult me (You’re eating like a hog! It’s disgusting!) (You look like a sack of potatoes!).
Now at 26 after college, moving out from under their roof, and losing 60 lbs, we don’t talk. You can’t take that shit back.
2. We often hurt the ones we love
You’re too young to be tired, to feel pain etc. It doesn’t really hurt me, it’s just annoying.
My mom did this to me all my life, and even as an adult. When I got out of the Army, I was at her house for some reason, and I was really stressed, and she just looked at me like I was the biggest idiot in the world, and said, “What on earth could you possibly have to be stressed about?”
I was like, “Well, I’m a combat veteran, I’m pregnant, and I just started taking classes in one of the most rigorous engineering programs in the country, but you’re right. Nothing to see here.”
I told my therapist that story a decade or so later, and she explained that parents who treat their kids like this don’t see them as real people. There are people, and then there are “the kids” who are not taken as seriously as people. Made perfect sense.
My mother constantly complains about paying her own bills 24/7.
My parents got divorced when I was 10 because she cheated and moved out. As a result, she had to get her own place, work, and pay for things. She complains about paying for water, electric, food, her mortgage, etc. All stuff any person has to pay. Stuff that I have to pay too, yet I’m 23 and don’t complain and live on my own.
She genuinely still thinks she’s entitled to some sort of financial support from my Dad and whines about how “poor” she is all of the time.
He still pays for her health insurance and even that’s not good enough. Her constant complaining has always made me resent her. When I tell her to stop complaining because it bothers me, she doesn’t understand why, and tells me it shouldn’t bother me because she deserves more money. She then lectures me on how shitty she thinks my Dad is for not continuing to give her money. He literally gave her $1,000 a month in child support even though I lived at his house and he paid for ALL of my bills until I was 21.
4. Why would you NOT do this for your kid?
My dad refuses to teach me about finances because he wanted me to learn first hand. He refused to help me open my own account or access the account he put all my money in. He refused to teach me the meaning of terms or help me with forms.
I now have a full blown mental breakdown when I have to do anything involving the bank because I just… don’t know how it works. I’m good with cash, but I would consider myself financially illiterate.
Edit: Since some people are confused I’m answering questions here! My dad fully understands finances, he is a successful divorce lawyer married to an ex banker. He also didn’t give me money he took my money and put it in a bank account, told me to access it when I had no form of ID.
I do utilize online information but I have some sensory input issues that make it a little more difficult for me. Not impossible, just harder. Thank you everyone who left advice and sources, I will be checking them all out! I appreciate how kind most people are being about this.
5. Thinking they actually did a good job…
Even as an early adult, they don’t realize their actions can hurt people because they think they’re such great parents.
Growing up I would often get yelled at or threatened to get spanked for making mistakes, not to mention they get annoyed or even angry for simple things I did like laying in my room in the dark, listening to music, wearing a sweater, or even drying my face after washing it.
To this day they still think they did a good job raising me.
6. Just divorce already!
Staying together for the sake of us.
Both my sister and I would be much happier if they just bit the bullet and divorced.
I’d much rather live in two happy houses than in one unhappy one.
7. Teens need “ME” time
When I was a teen and I would come down stairs and they would say something like “LOOK WHO IS FINALLY OUT OF THEIR ROOM” thanks for bringing the attention to it, going back to my room now.
All I wanted to do was be left alone to read and I’d just constantly get interrupted and put down for having my own hobbies. For example, my parents like to go out on the boat. I don’t. I used to when I was little because they would make me but I always just got sea sick and didn’t enjoy it. So then I started saying no and it’s STILL, at 31 years old, a big fucking deal that I don’t want to go out on the boat.
Yes, I know all the ways I can supposedly avoid sea sickness with pills, and wristbands, and behind the ear liquids. I’m just over it and I don’t want to go out of my way to do any of it because I don’t enjoy going out on boats.
8. Let’s start the list…
Not a kid anymore but there’s a few things that come to mind.
Growing up, my parents thought the key to a good job was good grades, that’s it. Nothing else. So they refused to let me do anything else. No extracurriculars because it was a waste of time.
Similarly, they didn’t want me to have friends/a girlfriend because they saw that as a distraction (the latter is pretty common in Asian culture and not exclusive to my parents). So they purposefully “taught” me socially unacceptable behaviour, things like “bully other people first so they don’t bully you” type shit. It was highly effective, I didn’t have true friends till junior year of high school and my social skills are extremely lacking for someone my age. Funnily enough, they’re asking my brother now if he’s considering getting into a relationship, not realizing that the way we were raised makes it near impossible.
Also, they’d constantly ask for my opinion on something, primarily their cooking. Sometimes I didn’t like what was made. But if I said no, they would get upset and threaten to stop cooking for me. If I said yes (which is what I did most of the time), I’d just end up throwing out food anyway. It’s made it hard for me to disagree with someone’s opinion or share my own because I worry that others will get mad like my parents have (and a former friend who did that didn’t help matters).
9. What father does this??
My dad thinks I’m completely useless and a waste of time, he has no problem putting me down in front of other people, and he doesn’t like to be challenged.
Mom just tells me to get over it. “He’s your father!”
Meanwhile, everyone thinks he’s some great guy at home who’s incredibly helpful and perfect and kind and so on.
10. You’re a parent for LIFE
I think my parents think that since I’m self sufficient (I moved out when I was 18, got married in my mid 20s then moved 1000 miles away), that I don’t want to hear from them.
I’m always the one to text first, we go years without actually talking on the phone. I have no idea why they don’t want to talk to me.
I had to reactivate my Facebook to get any “family updates”. It really hurts that they don’t even think to text me when something happens in the family, even if I texted them earlier that week about something else (I text them dumb stuff about the weather — I live in a much different climate now compared to them– or I’ll share an interesting article or whatever. I text at least a few times a month, only to get a “oh cool” response). Anyway, I feel like they think I like it this way and don’t want a relationship with them.
I mean, we’re not close and probably never will be, and it’s true, I don’t “need” them and have gotten by just fine without any of their help, but it’s still super hurtful to have your shit together and feel like a good person yet your parents have zero interest in being in your life. I have a kid too and they show no interest in being grandparents to him (yet they’re super close with my siblings kid)
11. That’s a weird policy…
I had a stepsister. My stepdad refused to hug me or bond with me. He didn’t want my stepsister to get jealous.
So I was kept at arms length. She was spoiled. I was treated like Cinderella.
I never felt loved. I ran away at 16 and my life was really hard, I have only recently began to fix my life and go back to school and stuff.
My advice to you? Try not to let them determine your self worth, and learn to love yourself. One day you will move out and make your own life.
Don’t let them spoil your future.
12. Maybe you won’t be a grandparent!
Constantly asking me why I haven’t had kids.
I tell my mum it’s because no one wants to settle down with me and perhaps there is something wrong with me.
She just shrugs and says— hmmm I don’t Know what’s wrong with you.
13. “A special case”
I got held back a year and my mom pins that for me.
Every time I want to go out with friends or I do want to have fun, she says I’m “A special case” and that I’m different from the rest of the class.
She makes me feel (no offense to anyone) retarded. Everyday I used to feel like the outcast of the class, the thought that I don’t fit in with the class.
But I got over it eventually, I learned how to make my friends into my sort of family, and they really make my life a whole lot better now.
Wow! There are some really garbage parents out there.
The one thing that should be apparent about being a parent… is you HAVE to listen and you HAVE to ask. Kids get their feelings hurt very easily, and it’s up to you to make sure you’re not Enemy #1 when it comes to that.
Have any stories about this topic you want to share? Do it in the comments.