As we grow up, we often take notes on our mothers’ and fathers’ parenting styles, thinking about what we would and wouldn’t do with our own children. Some parents make only a few mistakes during their lifetimes, while other parents constantly make terrible mistakes. From being left alone in pursuit of intoxication to threatening to be given up to child services, read on to hear about the worst parenting screw-ups these people faced in their childhood.
1. Dad Plays Dead
When I was a kid, my dad used to do this one thing that left me terrified and shaken. He’d pretend to have a heart attack and “die” every now and then in front of me. He’d play dead until I started crying my eyes out and then he’d magically spring back to life and console me. It was his very weird way of provoking an emotional response out of me to see how much I loved him, I guess.
Unfortunately, now that I’m a grown adult, it’s only made me extremely anxious the older and older he gets. What’s sort of funny, too, is he keeps his medical history close to the chest as a way of not worrying me. Like, yeah, thanks, dad, I certainly wouldn’t worry so much if you didn’t condition me to think you were dead, a lot, when I was younger.
2. Up For Adoption…Maybe
When my mom was mad at me, she would put me in the car and drive a few miles and park in front of a building that said “County of Los Angeles.” She told me it was where you surrender children and she was putting me up for adoption. She made me sit in the car and beg her to stay at home. That’s not even the most twisted part. Sometimes, I would cry and beg for over an hour before she finally said ok and drove us home.
3. Not Well Socialized
I was constantly grounded. I think it was a convenience to my parents. They had small kids and then me, a teenager, and I think they weren’t prepared to handle two worlds at once. So, as soon as I was invited to something with actual notice—something bizarre would happen. I would get grounded two or three days before the event.
My parents now wonder why I don’t go out all the time like my cousins, or go on dates, or get invited to parties/weddings. My answer is always, “Hmm, because I missed out on the appropriate times to navigate my way through them and now as a 30-year-old people can tell I’m not “socialized well” and I’m basically that awkward person that you say hi to in the breakroom, laugh at for their social mistakes and then walk away going ‘Thank god I only have to talk to them at work.’”
4. Facing Their Finances
I remember a time when my family had to tighten our budget because my parents had spent the majority of their savings moving us into a new house. I think this was also around the time of the early 00s recession. My mom got extremely stressed during this time, and, on a few occasions, dragged us all into the living room to rant at us about we didn’t have the means to be wasting money on things like eating out at restaurants, video games, and various other extravagances.
At the time, I was horrified and felt extremely guilty…as though I was a major contributor to this problem, and would go to bed crying in fear that we were in dire straits. I was only maybe 10 years old when this was happening. I wouldn’t expect parents to completely hide their financial situation from their kids, but the way she went on you’d think we were maxing out credit cards in her name.
I had no ability to spend any of my parents’ money without their permission and did not receive or ask for an allowance. My brother was 13 and maybe a bit worse about asking for video games and stuff, but what else do you expect from a kid? Just tell him no. I’ll forever be upset at her for how she handled this.
5. Never Good Enough
I always loved to sing but I was shy. I was also bullied and made fun of quite a bit. In high school, I finally joined choir and it helped me come into my own. I won first place awards at State Solo and Ensemble competition, student of the year in choir, and even the Director’s Award, which was the highest honor given. My mom came to none of my performances. Not until Senior Night when I was the only performer singing a solo.
I did the cliché song “Memory” from the musical Cats. I got a standing ovation! People who would typically refuse to speak to me approached me to tell me that they never would’ve dreamed I had that big, powerful, voice in me. I was just about floating with happiness and pride when I walked up to my mom. Her reaction was devastating.
When I asked her what she thought, her face twisted like she’d bit a lemon and she wiped out all my good feelings with the words, “Well, it probably isn’t a good song for you. You sound like you were ATTEMPTING to sing opera and it’s not supposed to sound like that.”
6. Focus On What’s Important
Honestly, this is the saddest thing my parents did. I remember when I was little and I would draw. My dad would put me down and ask me to “focus” more on my studies because drawing/painting is a useless hobby. So, I never drew again—but I also turned it around on them. As the eldest sister, I encouraged and motivated my little sister so much when she drew comics and painted.
Today, she has her own Instagram blog for her comics, she never stopped drawing and her room wall is full of paintings she’s made. And she is so, so good at it too. I am extremely proud of her.
7. Was It Worth It?
For years of my life, my parents kept me in a school close to their job, while we were living in the East Bay. To avoid traffic, they’d get up early. So, from the fourth grade up until the eighth grade, I was dropped off super early, and then picked up two or three hours after school. I would wander the nearby shopping center. Once a teacher caught me and I had to lie.
Then, my mom decided to move randomly two hours away. Again, they kept their jobs in the Bay, so we were having to drive two hours each way, plus wait till they were out of work. This time, I had my brother with me, and we would literally wander around the city before we would end up at the park next to his school. When my brother and I randomly decided to move away, my mother really couldn’t say much to us.
8. Not A Priority
My mom is still late to every single thing. She underestimates how long it takes to get places, then it is “I just need to put my shoes on,” followed by “one last smoke,” then she can’t find her keys, then takes wrong turns, insists on trying to find a “good” parking spot, and then takes forever to get out of the car. But that’s not the worst part. I literally missed an appointment with a specialist that I had been waiting on for over a year because she was my ride and she did all of these things.
9. Bad Luck Baby
I remember my mom always telling me that ever since I was born, their life has been so difficult and that I bring bad luck. I believed her. When I joined the cheering squad of my school and we lost the competition, I blamed myself and quit. My friend’s family went bankrupt, I blamed myself and ended the friendship. My now-husband had been redundant from his work, I blamed myself and wanted to break-up.
It’s my luck that he held on to me and that’s where my healing started. There’s one horrible memory that sticks with me. The worst beating I remember having was my mom picking me up from a friend’s house, which is quite far from home…maybe a mile, give or take…and beating me with sticks all the way home. But, you know what’s worse? Only recently I have realized that I have forgotten such a good memory that happened that day—only the beating stuck.
I forgot that I went out for too long because I had been playing with friends. A new game was introduced to me which I enjoyed so much I lost track of the time. Only now, 20+ years later, have I remembered what game it was. It was baseball! I fell in love with the sport but the happiness was overpowered by such bad memories.
10. The Best Advice
My parents have been divorced since before I can remember. They did not get along very well when I was a kid. There was one weekend in particular where on the way to drop me off, my Dad told me, “Whatever you do, don’t end up like your mother.” I got home to Mom, and I couldn’t believe what she said out of nowhere. She told me, “Whatever you do, don’t end up like your Dad.” Best advice either of them ever gave me.
11. The Hypocritical Dad
My dad was always hypocritical. The most recent example is that my dad, for my entire life, would say, “Don’t put things on the edge of the table, someone could knock it off!” My dad, when he knocks something off the table and breaks it, would say, “You shouldn’t have put it on the edge of the table!” Also, my dad would put something on the edge of the table and I would accidentally almost knock it off, but catch it and keep it from breaking.
Then, he would say, “WATCH WHERE YOU’RE GOING! CAN’T YOU SEE I PUT THAT THERE!” If I ever get kids, there will be one set of rules that everyone has to follow, including the parents. Anything else is just not fair.
12. Could Be Pretty
My parents always told me I could be a pretty girl if I lost weight. My oldest memory from when I was between six and eight is of me sitting on the floor drawing something. My parents are talking with their friends and suddenly my mom asks me what I want to be when I grow up. I wanted to be a stylist since I loved creating dresses, but I’ve forgotten the word, so I said I wanted to be a supermodel hoping it would help me remember the right word. Their reaction was unforgettably brutal.
Just after I said that, everyone started laughing their butts off and my mom told me I would need to lose at least half my weight if I wanted to be pretty, because nobody wants a fat girl as a model. After that, it just got worse. I was 13 and depressed because I was being bullied at school, became antisocial, didn’t want to do anything besides locking myself in my room, and stopped eating so I could be skinny.
I felt unwanted, so it was pretty easy to manipulate me—and the consequences were seriously disturbing. They called me an internet hooker after a creep groomed me and convinced me to send intimate pictures of me to him. My parents said it was my fault, and about two years later, I asked them to put me in therapy because I felt depressed.
They yelled at me, calling me an ungrateful brat and a liar because, and I quote, “You have a good life! You have clothes, food, a house, a phone and both of your parents! You don’t have any reason to be depressed! You just saw teenagers claiming to be depressed and are doing the same thing because this is a trend now. Stop being stupid,” and many more things. Now I’m scared to even have kids and risk treating them the same way.
13. Just Too Busy
In third grade, we were given a homework assignment that involved interviewing a parent in order to write a paper. I couldn’t interview my mom because she taught at that school, so I had to use my dad. I went to interview him that night, but he was ticked off and watching television, so it simply didn’t happen. The next night, he was still too busy watching television. This went on for a week.
When it came time to turn in the paper, I didn’t have one. My teacher asked why, and I said my dad was too busy watching television. Well, this news got to him and he was really angry. I was spanked and grounded for two weeks. I still think about how much pain I felt emotionally because of what happened. I have a son now, and I’ve made a promise that if my children ever need help, I’ll help them.
I play video games and watch TV, but if my kids need me, I will help them. I think sometimes people get caught up in routines and don’t notice life happening. I don’t want to miss my children growing up.
14. Shooting For The Stars
My parents would always tell 10 year-old-me about how I should become an engineer, chemist, pharmacist, etc., because it meant I could support them while they lived with terrible addiction issues. Now my dad is dead and my mom is better, but because of their wishful speculation of what magical career I may choose to make their lives easier, I have literally no drive. I don’t have any ambition.
15. What Not To Do
My parents would mock my weight, mock my interest in a particular girl, enlisted me to provide them with emotional support without doing so for me, declared lack of confidence in my desire to be an entrepreneur, made TV the priority over spending time together, yelled as primary means of communication, put me through religious indoctrination, had an authoritarian/rigid parenting style, and on the list goes. My parents have served as great examples of what not to do with my own kids.
16. Failure Is Not An Option
My parents are mostly awesome, but I was never allowed to do anything without constant interference and hovering supervision. I feel like because I wasn’t allowed to fail, I’m not able to distinguish between helpful critiques or personal attacks, and get irrationally mad whenever someone tells me something that isn’t outright praise. I definitely understand why they did it, I’m a perfectionist too, but I’d like to think I would let my kid mess up a little more.
17. Alone From The Get-Go
My parents used to drink. A lot. When I was around 11 or 12 years old and when I started noticing how bad it was, I would have days where I never saw my parents. I would be home alone with my younger brother who was six years younger than me for a good half of the week. I would make him dinner, put him to bed, wash my own laundry, and get myself to school.
All of this was because my parents were at the bar so much. There were days where I’d walk up to the bar to see if they were there or just up and abandoned us. I’ve been to the bar twice in the ten years my kid has been living, and that was only after he was secured with my in-laws. I’ve never missed my child’s birthday because I’d rather be drinking. I spend every day with my kid, so he doesn’t feel the abandonment that I did growing up.
18. Because I Said So
My dad would never admit he was wrong and would always say things like, “Because I said so.” The thing is, as I grew up and got educated in school, I started realizing he was wrong about quite a few things. Usually, he’d be talking to me about something and I’d correct him. His reply was awful. He’d just shut me down saying that he was the adult and he was right.
Thanks dad…It took me over 20 years to realize that the reason I avoid confrontation so much is because I was never given an open forum to discuss any ideas. It took me a bunch of time to realize this was why I never wanted to bring up any idea or question anything that an authority figure would tell me to do. It wasn’t until my mid-30s that I realized that he and so many adults are so wrong all the time and there is nothing wrong with admitting that.
19. Really Not Into Romance
My parents would tease me about love and romance. My parents were good parents, but this really sticks out as something that I WILL have a talk with them about if I ever do have a kid. What I mean by this is, every time we watched a movie, even a kids movie, with a kissing scene, my mom would look at me and my sister and loudly go, “Ewww! Gross! Cover your eyes!” I get that it was teasing.
I’m not talking scenes with intercourse, I’m talking about the kissing scenes at the end of Disney animated movies. As dumb as it sounds, the effects were heartbreaking. I seriously internalized that as a kid and grew up thinking romantic love was something gross and something to be ashamed of. I’m 29 and to this day I don’t talk to my mom in-depth about my relationships, although we’re very close in many other ways. It lasts.
Another example is that I remember when I was in first grade, I had a homework assignment where we had to write down all the “T” words we knew. There was a kid in my class named Tommy, so while doing my homework, I asked my mom how to spell “Tommy.” She really started to make fun of me. She started asking if I was writing a love letter to my secret crush, going, “Eewww!” When my entire thought process—at 5 years old—was, “Hey, his name starts with a T.”
I was so deeply embarrassed by that that I never mentioned another boy’s name around my mom for years, and I think I avoided Tommy at school after that. It was just so unnecessary. I know it seems like a small thing, but I can literally trace the impact that that initial shame had on my life as a whole. So any parents out there, please learn from this.
20. Focus On The Negative
The worst way my parents screwed up was being overly critical of everything I did and seeming to focus on the one negative and ignore the positives. For example, if I won second place in a contest or event, they would say, “Why didn’t you get first place?” Or, if I got five “As” and one “B,” they would say, “Why didn’t you get straight “As”? It was probably effective in that it has made me more successful in my career because I always feel I’m not striving hard enough and can’t settle for second place.
But, still I’ve always promised myself that I will NEVER raise my own children like that.
21. Entirely An Embarrassment
I had bouts of anxiety and panic attacks during my childhood, and my parents just couldn’t seem to grasp what I was going through. I remember having a panic attack during swim lessons. My mom pulled me aside and just said, “Why are you embarrassing me like this?” or something along those lines. But my dad’s reaction was even worse.
He’d just kind of leave me in a room alone until I was able to calm myself down. I’m no psychologist, so I’m not sure if that was the right thing to do…maybe it was, maybe it wasn’t. But, as an adult, I’ve been able to teach myself some mental cues to calm myself down whenever I have a panic attack, which are now far less common and intense than in my childhood.
For everything else on the parenting checkbox, I think they did a decent job. But if I have kids, I think I’d put more of an effort to talk to them should they ever have anxiety issues as well, especially since I would be able to relate to them.
22. Never Made It To Dinner
My dad would cancel plans because he would get too intoxicated. In my sophomore year of high school, my dad had promised to take me to a Thanksgiving Day dinner at a friend’s house. My parents had been divorced since the third grade. My mom had left to go over to her friend’s house. I waited two hours after the scheduled pick up time and my dad never showed.
I finally got a call. He was too intoxicated to drive and said we weren’t going out. I had a bowl of mac and cheese by myself that Thanksgiving. That was 18 years ago, and it was the final straw. He did this a lot. He’s currently undergoing prostate cancer treatment and I still won’t call him.
23. Always Need To Help
My mother had this saying she would use that always got to me. She would say, “You need to do x to ‘help the family grow.’” It made me feel like I was an employee of the family, not a family member. She started doing this after my father was traveling for work almost every week when I was about eight years old at the time, and kept using it on me until I left home for school.
The thing that truly bothered me about it was that she only ever used it on me instead of my siblings. At the time, it made me feel like my only value as a person was what I could give to other people.
24. A Shield From Grief
My dad passed when I was very young and, at the time, everyone told my mom she could not show any sadness in front of me. Everyone was telling me my dad was in a really good place, so if I saw mom crying, I would get confused and just mimic her emotions. Her intentions were good…she was just trying to shield me from grief.
But, she was so aggressive in hiding her emotions from me that I actually spent years thinking that my mom was a cold and distant person. I’ve always been easily empathetic; I like it when people open up to me and I connect to them better this way. So, for some time, I thought she just resented me.
25. Human Nature
My parents would always refuse to apologize or acknowledge when they were wrong. I remember on multiple occasions, they were angry and/or blamed me for something, realized they were wrong, and I got no apology. For example, somebody entered our house without us realizing and took jewelry that was inside a box. My dad kept insisting I dropped and broke it.
I never got an apology for it once they realized we were stolen from. In an argument between two kids, they would also only listen to the side of the person who comes first, telling the other that “they don’t care about your excuses.” Finally, they would get angry when you don’t believe their obvious lies and nonsense, or they would get angry for saying things that are true. My mom got angry when I said humans are animals, for example.
26. Kids Are Starving
My parents were always strict on food. They would be pushy about finishing my plate. They would say things like, “Think about the kids starving in Africa,” to get me to eat more. Then, they didn’t teach me healthy eating habits and to listen to my body. I’m currently working on fixing my eating habits and food relationships after many years of bad eating and being fat.
27. Told To Volunteer
My mom always tells me to do something but in the form of a question like, “Want to help unload the groceries?” Or, “why don’t you do your laundry today?” At the time, it was just annoying, but it also gave me a really hard time establishing boundaries for myself because, later in life, people would ask, “Would you like to go to the bar this weekend?”
Or, they would even say, “I could use your help on this project, would you have any availability for that?” I would always treat those questions like they were summons instead of opportunities that I could turn down, if I wanted to. It was really hard for me to answer those questions because they felt like commands. I ended up spreading myself way too thin and burning out.
28. For The Love Of Biryani
I was a normal kid, but I loved biryani like crazy and my parents never stopped me from consuming it every other day. I was an 11-year-old, and I feel like their job was to stop me and make me eat proper healthy foods. As a result of them letting me eat whatever I wanted, I became class 2 obese with thyroid issues, and have a whole host of problems including liver scarring from fatty liver.
Also, I never felt comfortable to share things with my family until a few years ago when my mother changed overnight and became far more open-minded. My father has been long gone by now. If I live long enough to have children, I will make sure they grow up to be healthy physically and mentally. I also don’t want my kid to feel the shame of being abused and bullied in school, but feel unable to share it at home due to fear of your school and parents, nor do I want them eating junk and irreversibly damaging their bodies.
29. If I Like It, You Like It
My parents forced me to do their hobbies which made me socially awkward and unable to deal with people in my own age group, and forced me to rapidly grow up to adjust to the adults and their conversational patterns. For example, I was forced to do medieval reenactments with my parents, not because I had a choice, but because I was too young to stay at home.
So, instead of going to birthday parties and making friends, I was forced to hang around with adults. But there was a side effect my parents didn’t predict. All the adults would get intoxicated and talk about stuff, and I just happened to be there. So, I would spend my formative years with zero friends, unable to interact with other kids, and failing in school…all because my mom and dad wanted to go off and play make believe and “have fun.”
I became painfully aware that me being around and them dragging me off to different places was very much a “you just happen to exist, don’t ruin our fun because you’re unhappy” situation.
30. You Can Do Anything
My parents told me I could do anything. While the intention was good, the result wasn’t good. It made me feel like I could do anything, and then when I was confronted with all the different things I could be, I don’t know what happened. I just didn’t have anything that I was passionate about in my formative years and now I’m sure that I’ll just work basic office jobs for the rest of my life.
When I have kids, I’m never going to tell them that they can do anything they want. I will wait until my child comes to me all excited about something that they find, and then I will encourage the heck out of whatever it is…sports, music, science, fashion, you name it. As long as they find something on their own, I believe that with the right level of encouragement they can find something special that they will actually want to do in life.
31. At The Top Of Their Lungs
My mom and dad would scream at me at the top of their lungs. It just felt so horrible. It makes you wonder if you’re really that awful of a child to them if you manage to push them to that point. There was also a lot of gaslighting. It’s probably a part of the reason why I developed bipolar disorder. My thoughts and emotions have been so heavily impacted to the point where I gaslight myself, which only makes things worse.
There was also name-calling. It’s a rare occurrence for me and they’re not the worst insults, but I’ve been called horrible things at least once and I still remember it. This was so many years ago while I was being reprimanded for something. I don’t care how mad I get at my future kids, I’m never calling them names. They also used to publicly embarrass me. If my kid is acting out in public, I’m not going to yell at them or threaten them in front of everybody.
That’s just embarrassing. Especially for an 18-year-old. The other thing they would do was undue blaming. I’ve been blamed for a few situations that I didn’t feel I should have to own up to, but my parents are persistent if they want me to believe I’m at fault. It really doesn’t solve anything at the end of the day. It just leaves me feeling like absolute garbage.
Finally, they would repeatedly shame me. This was HORRIBLE. I did some stuff that upset my mom which I do regret now, but I was in a bad space mentally, and she would sporadically bring it up during unrelated disputes/reprimands. She would not let me live it down and I felt like she secretly saw disappointment when she looked at me. It’s humiliating.
32. The Easy Way Out
I got yelled at for being diagnosed with depression and choosing to go onto antidepressants at the advice of my doctor. I was told that I was taking the easy way out and being lazy. I will never do this to my own children. It really affected my relationship with my mum, especially when three years later, she was supportive of my sister going onto them.
33. Time To Give It Up
My dad would reluctantly agree to let me have a pet. Then, once it became any tiny problem, he came up with a gutting solution. He would make me give it up. After the third time he did that, I swore I would never ask again. I would not get a pet until I was old enough to have my own home in a place where no one or landlord could make me give it up.
I didn’t adopt my dog until I was in my early 20. Our motto in our household is think hard and be sure you are ready to bring an animal home. Once an animal passes our front door, the pet is home for life, good or bad.
34. Simply A Spiritual Awakening
In middle school, when I first began struggling with mental illness—paranoia, delusions, massively debilitating panic attacks, hallucinations, and depression—my mother convinced me that it was a “spiritual awakening.” She was a die-hard hippie whose boyfriend was a “paranormal photographer,” and she legitimately made me believe that I was special and psychic, when I was actually SICK.
35. Deprived Of The Good Food
My parents used to deprive me of good food. My dad is an insanely fussy eater, something I didn’t realize until I left home. Anytime I was asked if I wanted to try a new food, he’d say “You won’t like it.” Genuinely believing I wouldn’t, because I was also “fussy” due to learned behavior, I didn’t try it. I didn’t even try pizza until I was 11 years old.
My mother always catered to his fussy eating, and every meal was always bland with no seasoning other than salt and a pinch of pepper, and we basically had the same meals every week. For example, we would have pie and chips, gammon and eggs, sausage and mash, spaghetti Bolognese, roast beef, Yorkshire pudding and mash, over and over and over again.
I now try to push my dad to try more foods, but he won’t eat any kind of poultry or fish, and any foreign food other than Chinese is a no-go.
36. Only A Few More Years
My parents taught me that I would be on my own soon, and that nobody would take care of me except me. They wanted me to be prepared for the world. So, they would remind me every day that my time with them was ticking down and that I would be out in the cold. When I would anger my dad, he would look at me, then his watch, then me, and say something so disturbing it’s unforgettable. He’d tell me, “Four more years,” meaning until I turned eighteen.
Everything was framed that way. When I wanted something expensive, they would explain how I would have to be careful with money once I was alone. When I had a girlfriend, they warned me not to get her pregnant because they would NOT help raise my child. That sort of thing. So, for as long as I can remember, I felt unwelcome and unwanted.
I felt like something that had happened to them, that they were trying to get through, and yet they kept having more kids, on purpose. I felt, and still feel, like an outcast from the family. I never ask for help or money. I deal with my own problems. If I can’t afford something, I go without it. And now, they don’t understand why I never call.
37. Changing Their Ways
My parents had me talk to a psychiatrist for pseudo-conversion therapy. They’re super Christian, and the sad thing is that they genuinely thought they were helping me, but instead it just drove me into a very negative headspace for years until I finally came out after college. They’ve changed their views of it and are extremely supportive now, but it’s still something that hurts deep in my heart.
38. Always All Alone
I was never allowed to hang out with friends outside of school. I had to go straight home and couldn’t stay and hang out or go over to friends’ houses after school or on weekends. This went well into my senior year of high school. It sucked constantly feeling like I was missing out growing up.
39. It’s Everyone’s Problem Now
They made their problems into problems for the whole family. They pulled us into everything. That’s not fair to a kid. I was straight out asked to fix things between them sometimes. No kid should be even the remotest bit responsible for their parent’s relationship or fixing things that are wrong between them. That’s so messed up.
We all have problems. We’re all just human. No one expects perfection. But, if you have a problem with your wife or husband, don’t bring the kid into it. Don’t make it the kid’s problem. Don’t make the pain of the household, which they’re going to feel anyway, somehow the kid’s fault. It was just totally wrong.
40. Can Never Say No
My parents refused to address issues between my sister and myself. They hate conflict, so it was easier for them to guilt me into doing whatever my sister wanted and then praise me for being “good” than to ever put her in line. Being praised for always giving up what you want can really mess you up.
41. The Manipulating Manufacturer
My parents used to manufacture and manipulate situations meant only to allow me to brag about what a great mom I had. She would dramatically claim credit for all of my achievements. She would also publicly and privately belittle and mock me so that she could feel superior.
42. No Good Reason
My parents would never give them a reason for anything. My parents always told me, “Because I said so,” or, “I don’t owe you an explanation.” Yes, actually, as a matter of fact, it is indeed your job to tell me why certain things are bad to do or say…Not just, because you’re in charge. Telling your kid to not play in the road “because I said so” vs. “because you could get hurt,” the one given a reason is leagues less likely to actually do it.
If you ask me, “because I said so” is a lazy response that you tell your kids when you don’t actually have a good reason for what you’re telling them.
43. Far From The Perfect Father
My father always had a lot of rage, and screamed at us for no reason. It really broke my mental state. My sister fights back sometimes now, so that helps out knowing that he can be overpowered. He also mentally abused us. I don’t recall much of it, but it’s the only memory I have of him from when I was very young, so I would like to not be like that.
44. The Option To Choose
My parents forced Christianity onto me as a kid. I became an atheist due to it. I have since found my way back to believing in Jesus, but by my own choosing. If I ever have kids I will never force them to read the Bible or go to church. I will give them the option to choose.
45. Never Sleep In
My parents never let me sleep in. My dad would wake me up every morning at nine while screaming, “Wake up, wake up, the day is half over!” Even if I was 18 and up until past midnight working, he would do it. Even now, in my 30s and with a PhD, I’ve shown him the studies about how bad that is for children and teens. He still thinks he was doing me a huge favor. I have some pretty severe sleep issues that I believe came from that.
46. Grades Over Everything
My parents really used to prioritize grades over social adjustment. They were great parents in most respects but now I’m academically successful but lonely and antisocial. My kids will not have to choose between having friends and getting perfect grades.
47. Ahead Of The Curve
When I was 15 years old, my mother told me a secret that destroyed me—and my family. She told me she was leaving my dad a day before she told him. Then, to make it worse, she told him I knew. She also told me that she was cheating on my stepfather months before she left him. What a place to be in. I’m working through so much misplaced guilt. My father also told me when he was sleeping with a married woman whose children were my friends.
I really hope I won’t overshare if I’m ever blessed enough to become a mother. Boundaries are important. And therapy. So much therapy.
48. Sheltered From The Wicked World
My mother tried to imprison me within her presence in order to shelter me from the “wicked” world out there. She put it in my head again and again and again and again that everything would go bad, that everyone would reject me, that I’d always get hurt…physically and emotionally. No matter what I did, she would say that she was the only safe space. She also used me as her emotional punching bag in the same breath. The consequences were chilling.
I ended up nearly completely unable to leave my room for a couple of years, then struggled a few more with the ability to continuously leave and lost the academic success that every single teacher believed I would have. Now I’m back in school and struggling to attend regularly and on time, and my last chance for the next few years to get the degree-level I need to get into the careers that might fit me is in danger.
My parents also constantly let me down with promises they made. I understand that they really wanted to give me all the presents and everything else they’d promised, and that they just weren’t able to afford these things, but…well…I got fed up with their promising of stuff at a way too young age. I got mad whenever my parents just couldn’t stop swearing on their graves that they’d get me certain birthday or Christmas presents by the time I was around 10 years of age. This kind of behavior also extended way beyond just gifts.
49. Always In The Wrong
Once, I was told to go through my clothes and throw away anything I wouldn’t wear or didn’t fit. I threw out a hand-me-down bikini I was never going to wear and it didn’t fit. I got slapped across the face hard for that. Any minor thing I did wrong, I got slapped across the face hard. If I talked back, she’d grab me by the throat and hold me against the nearest wall or door while screaming in my face.
When I was 14 years old, I enjoyed drawing cartoons and could draw Garfield very well. I still can. My mother asked me to doodle a load of Garfield faces on a piece of A3 paper so she could hang it up on the wall. This was very unusual, so I really should have seen what was coming. But, I was just happy my mother was finally showing some interest in my hobbies.
I spent a solid week filling that A3 sheet with doodles. When I gave it to my mother, she crumpled it up in front of me and lit it on the fire. I haven’t drawn like that since. I played violin and viola in an orchestra during my teen years. My parents rarely came to any concerts. My dad was physically disabled and couldn’t climb stairs and a lot of the venues only had stair entrances.
My mother had no excuse. She used to volunteer at the orchestra as well since we had a sweet shop. My final concert before I had to leave the youth orchestra, I had a solo. She said she’d be there, bought a ticket, and all the soloists’ parents had a reserved spot at the front of the audience. The place was packed. One spot was empty. My mother’s seat.
My viola teacher said my mother must be very proud of me. I didn’t have the heart to tell her she never even bothered to show up. These aren’t even the worst things she’s done. Needless to say, I’m not in contact any more. I will go to her funeral to make sure she’s dead and dance on her grave.
50. What I Want, You Want
My parents used to project their own wants on me. I spent my whole life thinking I was expected to only do what my mom wants me to do. This didn’t stop at reasonable goals of success like getting a good education, a good job, and so on. This took over my relationships and friendships. She tried controlling who I hung out with in elementary school.
She even talked badly about my closest friends just because they weren’t Christian. I spent a great deal of my teenage years fighting for her to accept my best friend as my best friend. Then, college came around and my mom started to control my relationships. I dated a great guy for three years and she absolutely hated him because of his race and religion.
She constantly talked badly about him, told me I was dating a loser, and convinced me to break up with him after calling him a demon. My mom is a radical Christian and Caribbean woman. It’s her way or the highway. I spent a great deal of my life simply just making a name for myself and realizing that I can have my own wants and needs outside of my mom’s.