When we’re growing up, we rely on our parents to guide us through life and teach us important lessons. However, some parents out there only teach us that they’re not exactly the kind of people we’d like to be when we grow up. These people share something their parents did to them that they promised they’d never do with their own children.
#1 Exploding Anger
Being unapproachable. I would spend an hour looking for something until my mom got mad and said, “I swear if I find this, you’re in big trouble.” The whole time, she would yell at me for how stupid I was until she exploded when she found it. Eventually, I would have to apologize, which made her even worse. It may not seem like much, but after a while, you learn to hide small and big struggles so she doesn’t explode.
#2 Kiss Her Feet
The fattest lie my mom ever told me was that I could always trust her with anything. The time came when I wanted to come out as bi. Well, she told me that I was a deviant and could take care of myself from then on since I was thinking of relations. I practically had to beg and kiss her feet to not kick me out, I said it was all a lie. Mind you, I was 17 at the time. The worst part is that she claimed that my confession depressed her because she wanted a daughter to sleep with a man and have kids. I don't know if I'll ever sleep with a man, nor do I want kids.
#3 Personal Growth
When they refuse to admit that they did something wrong. Parents aren’t infallible and insisting you are is insane. Parents can provide teaching moments by admitting, explaining, and apologizing for their mistakes. Children should know that learning from your mistakes is one of the fastest paths to personal growth.
#4 Healthy Eating
My mom (trailer trash, I'm sorry) used to go every day to the 7-Eleven and get me a lunch of powdered donuts, a pop, and some chips. Every so often, she’d get a sandwich in those little plastic triangles or a chocolate bar. I used to think it was cool, but even at 12, I knew something was up. I remember my teacher one time came up to me and asked, "Don't you ever have anything healthy?" I laughed it off but I felt like it was a bad thing to do to a kid.
#5 Group Effort
When I was a little kid, whenever my dad was doing anything out in the yard, my brother and I would ask if we could help. The answer was always, "You can help by staying out of the way." My kids are always allowed to help and feel they can contribute, grow a sense of self-worth, and an appreciation of group effort.
#6 Showing Emotion
When I met my wife, I thought it was so weird that she and all her family said "I love you" after every phone conversation or family gathering. Besides, the one other relationship I had where a woman told me she loved me, no one had ever said that to me. It didn't bother me or mess me up (the rest of my upbringing was fine enough), but I didn't know it wasn't normal. My parents are both very cerebral and don't show emotion.
#7 Small Misbehaviors
Lecture. My mom could go on for hours for even small misbehaviors. Somehow, it usually looped around to how I didn't keep my room clean, even though the rest of the house was just as much of a mess or worse. When I need to have a stern or serious discussion with my kids, I force myself to make my point in five minutes or less. I've even said stuff like, "Look, this is taking way too long, just don't do that again, okay?" I also apologize if I yell, as soon as I am emotionally able to after an angry outburst. I don't remember my mom ever doing that.
#8 A Little Support
I don’t know why parents destroy dreams. My mother would absolutely burn down any dream I had as a kid. Singer? “Well, that's nice, but it will never happen." Gymnast? "We can't afford that." (But she never went without drinks, grass, or smokes.) I was 12, of course, it wasn't going to happen, but come on, woman. A little support!
#9 That Soured Me
Get loaded in front of them. Growing up in a family of tipsy people has definitely soured me for the most part to drinking even socially. Don’t get me wrong, I do partake occasionally, but I don’t do it very often. Deep down, I feel like alcoholism is in my genetics, so I steer clear unless the occasion is perfect
#10 Kiss on the Lips
Forcing you to be affectionate. I will never make my children hug or (especially kiss) any relatives if they don't want to. I was probably the only kid in the world who hated Christmas because I knew that meant I'd have to kiss old people's lips. Most of them were strangers to me because I only saw them on holidays.
#11 Nailed Parenting
"Because I said so." I always have a reason why I ask them to do something. If they ask me why I'll explain. I'll explain my reason, my reasons for my reason, various other factors I considered… I can go on for a while. They know this. The other day, I asked my kid to do something and she asked why. I thought about it for a second and I asked, “Is ‘because I said so’ a good enough reason?” She thought about it for a sec and said, “Yeah.” For about three seconds, I felt like I nailed parenting.
#12 Pathological Liar
I considered myself to be a pathological liar from 12 to 19. My mom was violent but gullible. So if I could lie my way out of trouble, I didn't get whacked. Eventually, I got better and better at lying. Then I started lying to other people, then I started lying for attention, then I started lying for no reason. I eventually got help, but yeah.
#13 One Against the Other
Use them as leverage against the other parent. Hurt them, allow them to be hurt by a significant other, abandon them then return years later once they've grown and try to cause them as much pain as possible for who knows why. I have four sons and I genuinely can't imagine doing most of what happened to me to them. It blows my mind.
#14 Distorted Self-Image
I won't scorn my kids or yell at them when they mess up. I was a really sensitive kid, so when my parents told me to "go away" or called me a "moron,” it tore at me and distorted my self-image. If I have kids, I can't imagine ever doing to them what my parents did to me. This was my parents' attempt to get me to grow a thicker skin. But words hurt. One thing led to another and depression began to take its hold at such a young age. The thought of depression and self-hatred that required therapy sessions to manage terrified me. Thankfully, they took the hint and settled down. I still keep in touch with them.
#15 Lack of Privacy
I was not allowed to have any friends or date. I had my door taken off at 14 and was told I didn't deserve privacy because I slammed it. I asked to hang a sheet up for privacy and they said I didn’t deserve privacy for slamming my door. Then, I had my first ever panic attack and my stepdad told me to stop over-exaggerating.
My depression and anxiety were always belittled. I was in a mental hospital and my dad and stepmom came to see me. My stepmom kept telling me what a horrible person I was and that I was just there to get away from her. Also, my stepdad would call me names and punish me for things my brother did. He also approached me on several occasions and when I told my mom, he convinced her I was lying. He told me my feelings didn’t matter. But if my kid ever came forward and said something like that about my spouse, I wouldn’t just not believe them and accuse them of lying.
#16 There for the Kids
I’m 32. When I was 14, my dad took his life, leaving my mom with four kids (14,12, three and one). Three years ago, my brother took his life as well. He was going to be 18. One year ago, my mom did the same while I was heavily pregnant with my girl. I couldn’t fly to her funeral. I have two kids, a four-year-old and a 10-month-old. I’ve learned “never say never” in regards to parenting, but I never want to put my kids through what my parents put my siblings and me through.
#17 Parental Punishment
My family would hit me as a punishment. Whether I got a wrong answer while doing homework, struggled to memorize, or just got noisy, they’d hit me. Afterwards, I started applying it to myself, in other words, self-harming. I became addicted to it, whether I failed a test or struggled with my lessons. It's a terrible way to discipline myself. I’m trying to work it out.
#18 Favoring Each Other
Putting the other parent first. I remember my mom left me and my cousin at a Claire’s an hour after closing because “she had to make sure her husband was fed and settled.” I still feel for that Claire’s employee who sat with us after closing. My stepdad wasn’t toxic, my mom was just overcompensating because of how unhappy she was when she was with my dad.
#19 Go Out and Socialize
Bribing them to stay home and not hang out with friends. I became super anti-social and had anxiety when doing almost anything. Kids need to go out and socialize and make mistakes. I feel like I should mention that I love my mother very much. She was a single mom with massive paranoia issues and did the best she could. In the end, I turned out okay and I overcame the majority of my anxiety. Still, I feel that I've missed out on a lot of childhood moments, which is why I will never do that to my kids.
#20 Ending the Cycle
Definitely having kids. There are plenty of people on this planet who should not have had children and my parents definitely shouldn’t have had them. I know that I’m not mentally stable enough for kids because of my mom’s behaviour towards me. So, I’ve made the decision not to have any. The cycle ends with me!
#21 Still Stings
They wouldn't let me buy a video game system. They told me that they rot the brain. I never understood why watching TV was okay but not gaming. I've played video games ever since I left after high school. My son, daughter and I all enjoy them. It still stings when I think of that NES I wanted so bad back then.
#22 Hug Time
My husband expressed one time how his family wasn’t a hugger type of family when he grew up, so he hugs me all the time. When my youngest was little, he was a total mama’s boy and would get jealous, running in between us, which would lead to the eldest and the dog joining the fun. This has led to hug time. Someone calls hug time, that’s it you drop everything and hug. The dog even knows this statement.
#23 Emptying the Account
I had a stepmother who insisted God was punishing my dad for "being mean to her" while he was sick. She then refused to drive him to the hospital. That always seemed like something I'd want to avoid. Any friends I would make, she would tell me I couldn't hang out with them because of some random reason. She grounded me for six months because I forgot to take out one of the trash cans (not that it mattered, I wasn't allowed to go anywhere anyway).
There was one time that I had to stand in a corner in my underwear without heat because she heard a noise that woke her up and obviously it was me. Once I confessed, I could go. I ended up lasting about 18 hours of insisting it wasn't me. I was ugly crying in the corner until 3:00 a.m. at eight years old. I had to endure 10 years of that because she kept emptying my dad's bank account every time he got paid so he couldn't afford a divorce lawyer. I hated that woman.
#24 Don’t Tell Her Anything
I have two. One, making fun of their interests and hobbies. It's why I don't like showing anyone my artwork. But I will do anything to support my kids and encourage them. Second, if they tell me something in confidence, I'm not using that as a topic of conversation with others. Tell my parents anything and everyone knows. My mom just couldn't understand why I was getting mad when she was telling any yahoo at Walmart the whole story of events leading up to my divorce. Both are why my mom wonders why I don't tell her anything. I don't want that for my kids.
#25 Body Issues
Talking about body issues, dieting and shaming things like stretch marks and cellulite. It took me many years to appreciate my body. I got a ton of stretch marks when I was 15 and felt so ashamed. I’ve been on so many diets since then and have tried many pills. I now have a bad relationship with food but I’ve grown so much and am trying really hard. I will not do this to my future kids.
#26 Dealing With Others
I was spanked when I was a kid. I thought I’d grow up and spank too because I ended up okay and thought that’s how you correct kids. But then as I got older, I thought back to how I’d deal with other kids who made me mad or wouldn’t listen to me. I hit them. It then clicked that this wasn’t what I needed to do.
#27 Well For Himself
My paternal grandfather left my grandmother when my dad and uncle were kids, then refused to pay child support and completely ignored his own sons. Meanwhile, my granny had to work extra hours to get food on the table. What's worse is my paternal grandfather had a son in his second marriage and spoiled him. My dad and uncle, unsurprisingly, have no contact with him.
My dad has been a much better father to me and my sister than his own father was to him. He's a much more decent person than his own father was and he's done an excellent job of bringing us up, on top of being successful in his field. Even as a young kid, he knew what his father was doing was wrong and swore to be a better father once he had kids. He's done really well for himself!
#28 Capri Suns
Capri Suns! Dude, growing up, my mother never let us have them. She claimed they were terribly expensive and worse for you than soda. Once I started grocery shopping as an adult, I discovered that they really aren't that expensive and they’re no worse than other juice. Yeah, my kids get Capri Suns and my mom rolls her eyes.
#29 Purity Culture
Let crazy religious people tell them that sexuality is dirty or evil from before they even hit puberty. My parents never directly did more than cover our eyes when movies had an adult scene, but the church and evangelical school pushed all that “purity culture” really hard and it messed me up for a long time.
#30 You’re Good Enough
If I ever have a kid, I would want them to always know how much I love them. I want to be affectionate with them, and for them to know that they’re good enough. I love my parents but they weren’t the most affectionate with me or told me that they loved me. They would always compare me to others. I could never do anything right. I hated them and I loved them. Now, I just love them. I’m glad they’ve softened up.
#31 Inherent Value
They didn't outright criticize my looks but would criticize the appearance of every single person they saw, especially on TV. Most of the time, it was women. Their instinct was to immediately find something wrong with a woman's looks. They placed a ridiculous amount of importance on physical appearance to the point that I felt it was part of a human being's inherent value. This caused me to be extremely critical about my own looks, picking apart every actual and perceived flaw.
I actually was (and still am to a degree) very sensitive. I was an extremely sensitive child growing up and would cry very easily. My dad would scream at me to stop crying, which of course, would only make me cry more. He also told me that crying was bad for my health… my dad is a legitimate medical professional.
#32 Superior Parents
Respect is super important. I was taught as a kid that no matter how far I go, I will always and forever be beneath my parents. We were never equals and therefore in every single discussion I had with them, I was automatically wrong because I was inferior to them. Kids are people too. Just because they're younger and small, doesn't make them any less of a person.
#33 Having “The Talk”
I promised myself to actually teach my kids where babies came from. I personally never got "the talk" growing up and was attacked from the ages of 9 to 10 by the same person because I didn't know any better. I didn't know what was supposed to happen during relations. My boyfriend at the time had to tell me. So yeah, education.
#34 Emotional People
For me, it’s not being affectionate. My mom was very distant and not a physically emotional person with me growing up. I realized that if I have kids, I’d want to read to them, hug them, and celebrate their accomplishments. Overall, I want them to feel comfortable with me and to share their thoughts or feelings.
#35 Free Counseling
My parents never let me go anywhere in middle and high school. I became a trouble maker at 18 and entered college with seriously underdeveloped social skills. It sucked. Fortunately, someone suggested very directly that I take advantage of the free counseling on campus. That helped, but I still would’ve liked to spend college focusing on career education rather than basic social skills. I probably would’ve chosen a more useful degree and come out with less debt.
#36 Shy, Awkward Kids
My mom would guilt trip me to stay home. We lived outside of a small town, so we were already fairly isolated. Add to that a mom who felt it was a waste of her time and money (we were also pretty poor) to drive us somewhere, and we all became shy, awkward kids with less than stellar social skills. She’d encourage extracurriculars, but then blow up at me if she had to wait in the parking lot after a practice ran a few minutes long.
#37 Somewhat Happy Ending
I grew up Jehovah's Witness. I liked it as a child, but seriously questioned it later on. My questions were never answered. I started to notice the hypocrisy of everyone inside and decided to leave. But my parents would always threaten me with having nowhere to go. So I stayed for years, unhappy and wanting to leave but afraid I'd be screwed. Finally, I just left. My parents kicked me out.
I was homeless for two years. I lived on the streets and really struggled. Eventually, I got a decent job, got out of the situation and later was able to start my own business as part of the adult industry. My parents hate what I do, so they don't talk to me. But I'm all the better for it. I met my wife shortly after starting my business and managed to have a somewhat happy ending.
#38 Started Yelling
I told my mom about one girl I liked once. The whole family knew and wouldn't let it go for years. I sure as heck surprised her last year when I told her I'd been dating both men and women and never wanted to tell her because I couldn't trust her to keep her mouth shut. When she started yelling about it, I left.
#39 Feeling Worthless
My parents would yell at me, whenever they’d “help” me with my math homework. It led me to feel stupid for not understanding it. When I entered the sixth grade, my mom compared me to my cousin, who was in advanced classes. She basically asked, “Why can’t you be like her?” It made me feel worthless and I self-harmed for several years. I will not make my kids feel that way if I ever have any.
#40 You Better Listen
Threatening. Don’t get me wrong, my parents are great people, but the way they calm down my younger sibling is by saying things like, “go to bed or I’m going to have to spank your butt.” Sometimes, it was, “if you don’t stop crying, you won’t get TV tomorrow.” It just doesn’t work. I learned in a child care class that negative reinforcement is always worse than positive reinforcement. It just makes me sad that they scare her into listening.
#41 Afraid to Talk
My dad always told me my opinion didn’t matter. I really struggled in my early 20’s and my first relationships because I was afraid to talk. I thought people just didn’t care what I said. At one point, I didn’t form opinions on politics and I still struggle with being proud of what I like and enjoy. I love my dad but, I’ll raise my daughter with respect. I hope she’s never afraid to tell me anything.
#42 Genuine Presence
Be there for them. My dad was by no means an absent father. We'd always greet him when he'd return from work every night, and he was always home weekends. But to a certain extent, he was absent emotionally. Things got busier and he stopped reading to us at night. He spent most of his time watching soccer on TV or working in his "study.” He kind of grew away from us without us realizing.
I remember asking him to do things with me, like helping me build a lemonade stand. But he usually turned them down since he was too busy. No biggie, I simply did them myself. My mother used to complain about this a lot too. She essentially was doing everything for us and he wasn't really giving her any credit.
I remember her being angry when she forced him to attend a parent-teacher conference and he didn't know what any of our teachers’ names were. Things are much peachier now that my siblings and myself are in college. But, I've promised myself that whatever career I pursue, I will always commit time to my children, watching them grow up and being a genuine presence in their lives.
#43 The Worst Feeling
Go through their phones. It’s the worst feeling ever having your personal things looked at and judged by your parents. It feels like you’ve done something wrong for just having a life that goes beyond what they know about you. I still get scared around my mom whenever I’m on my phone, even though I have nothing bad on it.
#44 Scarred for Life
My father has never been truly violent with me, but I remember doing my homework with him and him hitting me on the back of the head while calling me stupid. He never told me he was proud of me. He was always (and still is sometimes) complaining about my mother and the rest of the family. Plus, he thinks that the job I want to do is stupid. He never showed me one single reason to open up to him, simply because every time I do, he says I'm weak. Now, I have a real issue with opening up to people and I’m scared to show feelings. This isn't the worst situation, but it really scarred me for life. If I have children, I will make sure that they never experience the pain my father forced me to experience.
#45 Guilt and Screaming
The guilt and the screaming! I feared my parents so I was really well-behaved. As I got older, I realized that I didn't fear my parents in ways that other kids did, I feared the never-ending guilt trips. Not only that, but they'd make you feel stupid for doing the tiniest thing wrong. My mother was a screamer. I've gotten into verbal altercations with her as an adult and refused to scream in return, which only upset her more. I refuse to react that way. I'm not perfect, I do get progressively louder as my kids ignore me, but my initial reaction is not screaming.
#46 Incredibly Selfish
My mom was incredibly selfish and self-centered. I would ask to go to events at school. My mom would drop me off but then forget to pick me up. I would then spend an hour or more trying to reach her. Many times, I would end up getting a ride with someone else. Then, our school principal caught up with me after a basketball game one night. He yelled at me that he was tired of me needing to use the phone and asked if my parents ever pick me up. He then told me he was going to ban me from school events. This happened in front of a ton of other kids. I was so embarrassed that I ran home in the dark. I was only 11 and was scared. I never went to another game after that.
#47 Stupid Dad Stuff
My dad teased me when I sang. I would sing along in the car, and he’d suddenly turn it off and laugh when I was caught mid-note (my sister joined in too). I'm sure he thought it was just stupid dad stuff but I've narrowed down a lot of my insecurities and confidence issues to these moments. I love to sing, I'm told I can when I'm brave enough to, but I keep very guarded about it. So, as the mother of a five-year-old daughter, I make sure she knows she can sing whenever the mood strikes. I sing in the car and encourage her to join in. We make up tunes while we do mundane things.
#48 Constant Comparisons
Compared me and my brother to other kids nonstop. In our culture, it's 100% normal and expected to compare your kids to others. I would also get compared to my brother and vice versa when the situation called for it. When I got accepted into college, I ran into the house, so excited and proud. I showed my dad the acceptance letter and the first words out of his mouth were, "You only got $5,000 per semester scholarship? Your brother got $10,000." Not even congratulations.
#49 Body Shaming
My father force-dieted me. He body-shamed me to the extent of standing me on a scale with no clothes and asking me what girl would want to have anything to do with a boy who couldn't see his feet. He wrapped me in plastic wrap and put me on a treadmill from the time I came home until it was time for a shower and bed.
He didn't put money in my account, so I couldn't eat lunch during grade school. Many nights, I went to bed hungry after a dinner of water that he said would make me feel full. I will never shame my child about their body. If they're hungry, I will feed them. I will choose healthy foods, but I will feed them. I also tend to see red when I see an adult call their child fat or something like that in public.
#50 Manipulative Garbage
Accuse me of not loving them when they’ve made a mistake or done something I don’t like. My mom used to do this. As a result, I would bend over backwards to please other people. It was ingrained in me that if I didn’t do what someone wanted, they’d think that I didn’t care about them. I don’t plan on having kids, but if I do ever become a parent, they will never hear such manipulative garbage from me.