A lot of us probably wish our parents did at least a couple of things differently when they were raising us. And of course, parents will make mistakes, but some mistakes are a lot more damaging to children than others.
1. "My dad used fear as his main parenting strategy. It did not turn out well because none of us have a good relationship with him anymore."
2. "I was wayyyyy too sheltered. I was only allowed to play with religious children and wasn't allowed to watch basically any movies besides Disney movies until I was in high school."
"This led to a pretty rebellious phase when I was around 15 that I think could have been avoided if my parents weren't so strict."
3. "They shared their financial struggles with me when I was too young. I was so stressed as a child over my mom’s money situation. Because of it, I’d never really ask for anything and felt guilty doing extracurricular activities or even just getting new clothes as I grew."
4. "What I really hated as a kid was that my mom didn't want me to grow up. She didn't teach me how to do laundry, pack my clothes, swim, or anything. She was also overly protective, and I still cope with a bunch of irrational fears as an adult."
5. "They gave me no privacy. My parents snooped through my stuff too much. They searched my clothing drawers for hidden things, checked my phone, eavesdropped on my conversations, talked about my private life to their friends, and spied on me when I was out."
"They asked their friends to report in if they ever saw me out and around, checked my mail, checked the computer history every time I used it, listened to my CDs to check if they were appropriate, arranged additional meetings with my teachers to ask about me, and asked me personal questions all the time. Basically didn't give me any space to just be me."
7. "My mom always meant well, but I have body dysmorphia for life. If any parents are reading this, you should be diligent about how you talk about your own body in front of your kids. Don’t talk about needing to lose or gain weight unless it’s for health reasons."
"Don’t put yourself down about how you look in front of your kids. This creates doubt and body image issues from the jump, and that sticks with you forever."
8. "I was one of those gifted kids who did very well in school without much effort. My parents were used to it, so they never praised me for my results and expected me to always do well by default."
"This resulted in me thinking that very good grades were just average, and I constantly strived for perfection in any aspect of my life. This led to countless problems that I needed therapy to solve."
9. "It was the way they used to communicate through me because they wouldn't speak to each other after they separated."
"When I had to deliver a message from one parent that the other one didn't like, I was the one who was yelled at, and both of them asked me to side with them instead of the other."
10. "They took away sports every time I got a C in school. I will NEVER take away my future kid's passions. It does not matter if it's sports, art, music, or anything else. I don't know if the frustration of that will ever dissipate for me. That was my outlet that was severely needed."
12. "They let their fear of dealing with their own trauma turn into causing mine and ignoring it."
13. "They left me to my own devices so long as my grades were good. They didn't teach me much of anything outside of knowing right from wrong. Outside of being kept alive, I pretty much raised myself."
14. "My parents were completely apathetic and never got involved in my siblings' lives or mine. They never attended things like school plays or parents evenings, and they never cared about how things were going or what was going on. So long as we didn't get into trouble and didn't cause them problems, they didn't care and took no interest."
15. "They told me that I wasn’t good at math. Sure, it wasn’t my strongest subject, but don’t tell a kid that they will never succeed at a subject due to some inherent shortcomings."
16. "My mom and dad turned me into the third parent when my twin sisters were born. I can easily say I’ve changed more diapers, stayed up more nights, and given more feedings. My childhood was pretty much taken from me so I could be the primary caretaker."
17. "My parents were big on me getting good grades, getting into a good university, and getting a good job. But it ended up manifesting itself as 'Anything less than 100% is bad.' I'd get punished for bad marks but got nothing for good marks because good marks were expected."
"It actually had the opposite effect. Once my marks in a specific class started slipping, I just kind of gave up. I'm going to get yelled at for a 70 just as bad as a 50, and a 50 is easier to get."
18. "Often, when my brother fucked up in school, my mom would say to him something like, 'Why can’t you be more like your brother?'"
"I can say it has not exactly given him the confidence of a champion, even though he’s really talented. My mom says she regrets saying it."
19. "They played favorites. They always made me feel like I was inadequate because I wasn’t like my brother."
20. "They withheld certain foods, like biscuits, cakes, and sweets, apart from the likes of birthdays. As soon as we were old enough and were given school food money, we went nuts for sugar and hid it from our parents."
"It took years to get it back under control. I still have issues now. I genuinely feel that if it was more a case of 'everything in moderation,' we wouldn’t have had the issues we now have."
21. "They gave me too much guilt and shame. Those are not motivational forces for me to be 'better.' In fact, quite the opposite was true."
22. And "It was the 'You're too emotional and you could get bullied for it' talk I got from my dad in early elementary school. He was just trying to have me temper my reaction to trivial things, but it stuck with me and feels as though it had a big impact on my emotional intelligence long term."
"Processing emotions now is a struggle, and talking through how I'm feeling with my wife is almost impossible, partly because it's hard even for me to tell sometimes."
What are some of the biggest mistakes your parents made while raising you? Let us know in the comments section.
Note: Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.