We all had pet peeves when we were children. Whether they were valid or not is another story. Adults share what they remember hating the most when they were kids, and their testimonials do not disappoint. Read on for some possibly triggering memories.
When you went to a family friend's house and you were playing, then your parents would say that it is time to go, so you'd go and stand by them. Then the adults would remain talking to each other for another half an hour, but you couldn't go and play some more because you were "about to go." You just had to listen to the adults talk whilst staring at the coffee table. I'm Australian and that situation is very common here.
I remember the absolute worst one was when I stayed overnight at my friend's house for his birthday and we were watching this new Pokemon series he had gotten for his birthday. Then my mom came and picked me up half an hour early and I had to sit in my friend's sister's room listening to our moms talk about their childhoods and ghost stories for an hour. My friend, on the other hand, watched Pokemon in the living room.
Being talked down to, or people laughing at me when I was telling them something serious. I broke my arm in the first grade while playing tag. I slipped and fell into a banister. I went to push me back up and I couldn’t put pressure on my arm. I remember it clear as day. The teacher on duty wouldn’t have it and claimed I got ran over on a tricycle... despite the other kids I was playing with telling her the same thing that I did. To this day, more than 20 years later, I still get talked down to about it.
When my parents would try to distract me when I was upset about something by joking around or bringing out a toy and waving it at me. Sometimes, they'd tickle me. It was felt like my distress was nothing but an annoyance for them to turn off; like a bad song on the radio, or that me being upset was just a big joke to them. So demeaning.
I still get unreasonably mad when I'm falsely accused of anything because of the built-up trauma of having to endure so much of that in my youth. My mother would be furious because I dared to get angry for being falsely accused, just because she couldn't handle not being right. In the resulting shouting match, she'd often call me a cancerous, ungrateful piece of garbage. If I got lucky, she'd also throw hard objects at me or slap the daylight out of me.
Living in a house with just one bathroom and so many people. It seemed like someone was always using the toilet or the shower when others needed the room. I remember when my mom woke us all up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. Two of my brothers just went at the same time in the toilet. It saved a flush anyway and they were both boys.
Not getting explanations for things I asked about. My parents and extended family were good-hearted people, but none of them were very intellectually-minded or patient, so when I had questions about how things in the world were supposed to work or operate, the answers were frequently unsatisfying, ranging somewhere between: "Because it just is," to "I don't know.". That "I don't know" was sadly never followed up with "but let's find out."
I was so inquisitive and having no access to answers infuriated me. I remember getting really upset at my mom once. After asking a series of questions and getting only "I don't know" in response, I finally sighed and said, "Wow. You don't know anything." Needless to say, that was a whooping I did not soon forget and it taught me to stop asking questions. Then, a few years later, we got Google.
My parents are like this. They are good and loving parents, but they could not pursue intellectual stuff, so they ended up not very interested or willing to explain things to me when I was little. They simply didn't know how to answer my questions. Despite all that, they always encouraged me in my studies and intellectual passions when I showed interest.
That my feelings didn't matter. If I was feeling anything other than happy, I had to "get over it." If I was crying, I was ordered to stop or get something "worth crying over." As an adult now, I hate seeing other adults ask a kid what is wrong, and when the kid opens up he or she gets made fun of for it being a stupid reason. Then the poor kid gets drilled about how they don't know what a hard life is, or that they're dramatic, etc. I hate that so much.
The cruelty of other kids. My friends all just decided that every one of us is going to be excluded at one point or another, for absolutely no reason. It was like clockwork. Eventually, the excluded kid would get let back in the group, then we'd do it to someone else. I was so confused when it happened to me, then I went right along and did it to another kid. I remember so clearly one of my friends saying: "I have no idea why we stopped hanging out with so-and-so, he's great!" It was just a pointless exercise in cruelty.
Now that I’m a mom, I see what’s really going on. Those kids all have parents who behave that way and they are just mimicking what they see at home. My oldest child was bullied in kindergarten on the bus. He endured it for most of the year. He finally broke down and told us that his seatmate on the bus stabbed him with a pencil, punched him in the stomach, strangled his neck, etc. He told the bus driver but the bus driver didn’t do anything, so he just figured no one cared.
Anyway, the school separated him from this little boy. I was told that the boy got very upset because he thought my son was his best friend. Turns out, it was just the behavior he learned at home from having three older brothers. They all played rough and teased each other. The parents didn’t correct them. That’s what the kid thought friends did with one another. I made it my goal to not allow my boys to wrestle and fight, but rather to treat each other with respect.
I was never bullied, but one time, my parents and I were at a party of a friend of theirs and my parents told me to go play with the other kids. I was very shy and introverted, so I just sort of watched them play, hoping they would include me somehow. At some point, one of the girls came over and said exactly this: “We’re playing together, so could you leave?” I stayed by my parents' side for the rest of the evening and we went home early. I always felt like that at parties, because the kids there always knew each other, but my parents never really introduced me before, so I was the loner kid.
Family gatherings. I had a large extended family as an Indian and there would be gatherings and functions almost every week. Coming-of-age parties, house warmings, marriages, and first birthdays called for gatherings between 100-2000 people. You had to dress up and meet people that apparently cleaned your snot as a baby expecting you to remember that they did so. It was horrid. I kind of miss it now, though.
Close relatives: just a bunch of people you don't care about talking about things you don't care about and expecting you to sit there and pretend to care about it. It's either that or a million people asking how tall you are now and commenting on how much you've grown since the last time they saw you, which, yeah, that's how growing up works.
People making fun of me. It seems like the previous generation of adults loved to tease and make fun of us. I think maybe they thought we would grow up with “thick skin.” It doesn’t work. Along that same vein, adults would tickle and wrestle with me until I felt scared and overwhelmed. That was probably my most hated thing about being a kid. I had an uncle that would pinch my nose so hard it would make my eyes water. I hated it SO MUCH.
What I remember most is some adults not treating me like a human being just because I was a child. I try so hard with my own kids to step back and treat them as fellow humans and not just children. Four-year-olds need their own space too. They get frustrated and angry in exactly the same way I do. They just don't have the vocabulary and awareness to express it. My job is to help them express it, validate it, and teach them how to deal with it. Not just to tell them to stop whining.
Being made to eat foods that I couldn't stomach or being forced to consume amounts that were too much for me to handle. "You can't leave the table until you finish everything on your plate." I hated wasting food, but I developed clever ways of sneaking unwanted food away and disposing of it without a trace. Thankfully, my parents didn't pull the "There are starving people in Africa" routine because my answer would have been: "So give it to them."
I remember vomiting after being made to eat coleslaw by my father, and I still can’t stomach it today. Also, whenever I would visit my grandmother, she insisted I drink a glass of milk with every meal, and she made me sit at the table until I drank it all. I couldn’t stand it, and to this day I hate milk (although some milk products are okay). This is especially upsetting because we know that certain genetic traits can make food taste great to one person and foul to another.
My dad was always tipsy and he had strong opinions. He would keep me and my brother up late and scream lectures at us about history or ethics. He would wake me up in the middle of the night and talk at me for hours. If we got an answer on Jeopardy wrong that we should have known, immediate lecture. Such angry lectures. He would throw things at us and hit us on the head to wake us up. I hated it so much. He died of liver failure when I was 17 and 22 years later, I can say his passing was the best thing to happen to me.
We had a neighbor and her sister over. The younger sibling was hitting me with a belt, which sounds bad but it was very soft. It didn't hurt at all and it just made a funny noise. Of course, it made me mad, so I grabbed the belt and slapped her with it. She had a massive welt on her back. The mother showed me the next day and I felt so bad. A child's remorse is greater than most adults. Children can't understand what their emotions are or what they mean.
My parents made it very clear when I was young that if I wanted to go to college, I would need to pay my own way. I bought my first car and paid for all my insurance on it. I got my first job at 16, and yeah, I paid my way through college. When you're eight, they act like they can't wait for you to be 30, and when you're 16, they act like they want you to be eight again.
Every freaking year:
Parents: You are lazy and only play video games all day. I had my own job when I was 12 and was barely ever home when I was your age.
Me: Can I get a job?
Dad: No, you have to focus on school.
Me: How about over the summer?
Mom: No, summer is for spending time with your family, and this could be one of your last years to enjoy your childhood. Maybe next year.
The lack of freedom. I wasn't allowed to do a lot of things that I wanted to. I wasn't allowed to get a job or buy and a car and take myself out to the movies at 12 years old as I wanted. Apparently, there was no way I'd be able to do that without crashing the car or screwing up the job because my brain hadn't grown yet. Then there were the kids that complained their parents wouldn't let them have more allowance and they acted as if their lives were unfair because of that.
Adults not taking me seriously when I’d say I didn’t feel well. We don’t tell adults they have to eat if they’re full or to ‘just hold it’ if they need the loo. Seriously, why force basic needs? Yes, I went less than an hour ago, but I need to go again. Things happen. I drank a full bottle of water. No, I can't finish my plate, I'm full. Well yeah, I'm going to sleep all afternoon and not sleep tonight because you overfed me. That's your problem.
As a young child, I hated when my mother would force me into social situations despite my extreme shyness. She always hated the fact I was shy. As a teen, my grades were never good enough. Even if I had an A, it could always be a higher A. If my grades dropped to a low B, I would be tested for substances and she would tell me she was surprised when I came back clean.
My mom forced me into social situations that I hated. She would always say, "You have to look people in the eye when you talk to them, you have to speak up so people can hear you." I hated it and it felt like a rejection of who I was on some level because I was shy too.
But, in retrospect, it was my parent trying to teach me social skills and social etiquette. And I've made a living off my social and communication skills as an adult, so it was a valuable education. The thing is, I feel drained by social interactions because it is something I have to really work at to this day. It takes a lot of emotional energy for me to be charming and confident and sound like I'm not a moron.
It isn't exactly artifice, because it is me doing the talking, but it feels like a performance in many ways. But I worry that if I don't put all that effort into being charming, people will think I'm a boring dullard, and will be ignored. Maybe if I move somewhere new and start fresh as a quiet person, I could get away with it.
But if I suddenly go from gregarious and engaged to quiet and reserved, people are going to think I'm a jerk or that there is something wrong with me as from their perspective, I will have changed radically. What do I tell them, "I'm tired of pretending to be sociable, you can invite me to things but I may not talk much?" That seems uncool.
When the adults were talking to each other and I wanted to say something, but I had to wait until they finished so I didn't "interrupt" them. This enrages me. My mom and dad will start talking about things, (mostly politics, but that's also my interest) and I'll have something to say, but it's always: "YOu'Re nOt iN tHiS cOnVeRsAtIoN!" I mean... that's how conversations START!
Being treated like anything I say was invalid or stupid. Yes, I am scared, I am a child. I can be afraid of the men running around outside with dangerous objects. When we moved to Australia for safety, all of the adults around me kept thinking I know nothing and that life can't be hard for me. I just remember feeling trapped and worthless. Even these days, people pretend like they have it all together. Well, I am so happy for you; you know, since you don't get panic attacks when you are in a room that you feel you can't escape from.
I don't know if "hate" is really the right word, but when I was really little, I was terrified of my dad. My earliest memories of him are being woken up in the middle of the night when he got home, smacked around a bit, and sent off to bed again without so much as an explanation. "You know what you did," he would say, but of course I didn't, because why would I ask if I already knew?
I put a ton of work into trying to keep him happy and not upset him, but it didn't always work. I say "hate" might be the wrong word because I didn't really know better back then. I didn't start hating him until I met kids and parents that had better relationships, which wasn't until high school. Until then, that was just how it was and I didn't really question it.
I was always afraid of my dad. It was always so tense when he was home, and I only ever felt calm when he was gone. I remember once when I was 12, I spent the night crying because he was coming back from one of his trips the next day. He would punch me whenever I did something he didn’t like. Once I tossed him a candy bar that I saved from my Halloween candy for him, and he slapped me across the face because he didn’t appreciate me throwing stuff at him.
I spent most of my life in my room because I was made fun of at school, and had no friends. I guess it was too obvious how desperate I was to have one. What scares me today is that I sometimes act like him, I treat people badly and hurt people, so that’s why I can’t have kids because I can’t live with the idea of my kid hating me like I hate my dad.
Everybody making fun of me for being skinny. Freaking bullies. Teachers, relatives, even friends. My teachers would make fun of my skinny arms in front of the whole class. I didn't know how to get bigger at that time. I always got bad advice: "Some people are just naturally skinny, there's nothing you can do about it." Of course, now that I'm an adult, I started working out and feel more confident now than before.
Having to spend weekends either babysitting my twin brother as early as six or doing hard work around the house and not having fun as most kids do. My family has a cabin that I've never spent time in. I've never played in a play area at a fast food place because I had to sit at the table and make sure no one tampered with or threw away our food while my brother played. Basically, I spent most of my childhood being the responsible adult and missed out on a lot of kid stuff.
Being told that my issues weren’t important. As an adult, I’m choosing to learn a lot about the ways I behaved growing up and it turns out that I probably had some pretty severe developmental and behavioral issues. When I would try to articulate what was happening and the way I was feeling I was always told that “adults have real problems to worry about.” And when I would act out or inconvenience my family at all, my mom would explode on me. It caused me to be extremely meek as a child, which caused some people to take advantage of me in ways I don’t talk about.
I'm a teenager still but so many of these stories are super accurate. The worst for me (which I haven't seen yet) is being told to grow up and then being told I'm still too young depending on their mood. I'm 17 now and am still too young to talk with the adults, but then, if I get upset over something or do something wrong, the standard response is: "Grow up."
When I was a kid, my school had a dress code that pretty much only allowed buzz cuts for boys. Long hair was considered a sign of delinquency. My dad saw nothing wrong with that, so he routinely took me to one of his mates who was a barber. This guy just didn't care; he would yank my hair really hard with his combs and scissors. I naturally developed a hatred for barbers ever since. When I turned 18, I just grew my hair out as long as I wanted. I also started cutting my own hair as well. Never been to a barber once in the last 10 years.
I was forced to sit at the dining table and eat whatever was cooked that night, I don't quite remember why. Turns out, being allergic to stuff makes you not want to eat it. One time, I was crying because I didn't want to eat whatever it was and was also told I would be sitting at the table until it was time to get ready for school the next day if I didn't eat it.
I remember crying tears of frustration at the end of the church service because I was hungry. We had been standing already for 15 minutes while "Just As I Am" was on repeat and the preacher begged for just one more person to come to the altar. I just wanted to get home, eat, and change out of my uncomfortable church clothes. After the music ended, I knew it still wouldn't be over because the preacher would then make us come up and pat the backs of those that came forward.
Not having any control over my environment. My mother could scream at me and my parents could hit me if they wanted, but I couldn’t do either back. As the daughter of a hoarder, the amount of stuff all over the house was frustrating too. No area was just mine. Even my room was shared with a ton of my mother’s stuff that I was never allowed to move elsewhere. Adults always say: “You’re gonna miss being a kid.” That’s nonsense! I’m 29 and I don’t miss any part of it.
When my older brother would pick on me constantly and my parents told me to "learn to take it." I freaking hated that. How about they tell him to stop tormenting me? I'm supposed to just put up with bullying? What, so I'll become a "stronger" person or something? Screw that. I was a kid. He was four years older. I felt alone in the world when that stuff happened.
My dad's temper tantrums and rage over trivial things. For example, a can of soup being on the wrong shelf could lead to him to do anything from screaming at my mom for an hour to smashing all the plates or punching holes in the doors. He drank a lot, but he'd do it whether he was tipsy or sober. He was just so angry all of the time that I have trouble now in my 30s with being afraid of people in case they'll just randomly go off for no reason.
My mom would say: “Kids need to respect parents, parents don’t have to respect kids.” And she lived it fully. It was horrible. I can’t understand how my sisters forgave her and see her all the time. We see her, but I’m very cautious about her and keep a healthy distance. I think she hated us because my dad left her but was still seeing us, and we reminded her of that failure.
I hated being told that I was a child and my life wasn’t that hard. “Get over it. Life is gonna be a whole lot tougher as an adult!” I am a teacher now and I refuse to tell a child that their pain, anxiety, issues, etc. are irrelevant and inconsequential to the big picture of life. Do you want to be mad that Joey took your crayons? Let’s talk about it.
Let’s work through those emotions. Let’s explain to Joey how that made you feel. Children are human. The fact that adults choose to expect things out of them they would never expect out of themselves is ridiculous. If we don’t teach them what to do with their emotions, we have adults that don’t know what to do with their emotions.
My dad usually talks badly about me in front of friends or relatives. As if I am incompetent at math or being lazy or just not up to his standards. I'm still salty at my dad, to this day. I wish he could have been more supportive and positive as it played a role in my confidence. My daughter is almost here soon. My wife is at 35 weeks. I will make sure she has the best dad ever.
Always getting the blame for everything. If my mom and dad were abusing me, they'd say that I asked for it. My mom always berated me when I didn't tell her my problems, but when I did, it was somehow always my fault. People bullying me? I asked for it. My little brother destroying stuff at home? I must have done it. Severely depressed? It's just a phase and I need to get over myself. Asking for help? I focus too much on myself already.
Not being liked by kids my age. Being thought of as a weirdo by my family. Feeling lost and clueless about life; not knowing what was expected of me. Not knowing how to make friends or how to keep friends. 30+ years later I am diagnosed with ADHD and autism as co-morbidity. I never stood a chance.
Oreos. My mother gave me a packet every day for a couple of years, as breakfast before I went to school before the break of dawn, and, well, before I was fully awake. I was about 9 then, and other than Oreos, I ate mostly biscuits before she moved on to give me bread and other stuff. I only started liking Oreos a few months ago when I got a free packet as a gift from one of my lecturers (they gave it to everyone).
Not having your own money. I get it, children shouldn't be working, and the parents should provide. But it sucks wanting something but not being able to get it. And I don't mean some 70 dollar thing, or being super entitled. Just sometimes wanting simple things, like a three dollar toy, and being turned down with no way of changing it.
If you want something expensive, you either had to work for a long time for it or wait until Christmas or your birthday. And if it was a special occasion like your birthday, your family likely got you the wrong version (yeah, some families can't afford the expensive version the kid wants, so they have to purchase a cheaper version instead, even though it may be far inferior or lacking a feature that is in the expensive version).
I went to speech therapy for years. I hated being pulled out of class in front of everyone to go once a week. It made me feel like something was wrong with me and that I was broken or not good enough. Fast forward 20-some years and I started to realize going to speech therapy was good (I can now happily pronounce r’s and k’s properly) and that those thoughts aren’t normal or healthy. I'm in regular therapy because of it.
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