Worst Childhood Regrets

September 7, 2023 | Samantha Henman

Worst Childhood Regrets

It’s easy to cringe when you look back on your early years. Embarrassing moments, times when you took your parents for granted, lost friends…when we have the benefit of hindsight, a lot can stand out. But these Redditors came together to share their worst regrets from childhood—and they are way beyond your regular disappointments.

1. An Innocent Mistake

After every Thanksgiving dinner as a child, my grandpa would put a plate of food together for a man named Mr Bailey who lived by himself and didn’t have family in town. He’d drive over to his house, drop the food off, talk for 5-10 minutes, and then come back. I didn't know he did this...

One year after our meal, my grandpa handed me a plate with a slice of pumpkin pie on it and told me to get in the backseat of his truck. I didn’t ask questions and hopped in with the pie. We get to our destination and my grandpa opens my door and says, “You have the pie?”

“What do you mean grandpa? I ate it".

I thought the pie was for me. I ate it in the backseat on the car ride like it was a brownie. Mr Bailey didn’t get any pumpkin pie that year. I still can’t look at pumpkin pie without feeling bad about it.

Person slicing  pumpkin pieUnknown author, Pxfuel

2. Kids Say The Darnedest Things: Funeral Edition

When I was 4 years old, my aunt’s husband Matty died. Very soon afterward, the whole family was gathered around in the living room, with me sitting across her. I wanted to make her feel better and said the worst thing possible: "Don't worry, you will find a new Matty you will love".

Her hurt and surprised face haunts me even today. I understood that I did something wrong, but not really what I did wrong at that moment. We are on good terms and she is living a good life now. She very likely forgot what I told her that day. I'm probably the only one who remembers that conversation.

Sad Cute  boy wearing red knitted sweater  covering face with hands and cryingJihan Nafiaa Zahri, Shutterstock

3. Appearances Are Deceiving

I called one of my mom’s ex-boyfriends poor and ugly when I was 9. He didn’t deserve it at all, I was just mean. He always drove us around in an old Bronco and I hated it. Now that I’m older, I realize his car was so cool, and he loved it. He only wore “raggedy” clothes because that was his style. He loved some ripped jeans and skater shoes, and to be covered in tats.

I always remember him now as an adult as one of the coolest people I’ve ever met. He was nothing but nice to me and I was a little idiot. I wish I knew where he was so I could apologize for being a little jerk and I hope he’s happy living his best life.

Young Angry boy in blue t-shirt yelling at the cameraSuzanne Tucker, Shutterstock

4. Chosen Family

I had a rugby mate and he always got a sandwich from my dad every Thursday, and I got nothing. I used to think my dad was a jerk—until it dawned on me.

The kid was poor and my dad was being kind, and to realize one of your buddies is struggling, man I felt so bad. So, I told my mom and she told me to bring him home to dinner.

From then on, he would visit me often when I was sick or when I had lost someone. When my parents split he was there to help me cope. True, we weren't the best of friends, and we haven't talked in years, saving a few crossings of our paths in the neighborhood.

He passed on last month from leukemia. It hurt me a lot to hear that, he was such a good man who deserved so much from life.

African American little boy  slapping his forehead with palm and closing his eyes as if he realized something in orange sweatshirtAsier Romero, Shutterstock

5. Lesson Learned

When I was little, I hated cats. One day a cat crossed a path in front of me and I threw a stone at it. The stone didn't hurt it, and bounced off the cat's side. The cat didn't run off but instead looked at me, as though asking me why I threw the stone. In that moment, I realized just how much cats can understand. 

Almost instantly, I decided to be friends with cats.

Elementary school kid in green sweatshirt petting feeding a stray catOstanina Anna, Shutterstock

6. Picking Sides

My parents divorced when I was 4, and both got remarried when I was 7/8. My mum and stepdad were all about school and homework, practice tests for school exams, and routine and being “strict”. Basically being parents.

My dad, however, gave me and my brother loads of candy and chips, let us stay up late and watch scary movies, and we never had to do any homework. At my dad’s pushing, I would go home and say things like, “I wish I lived with my dad instead, I wish I didn’t live here”.

I want to go back and smack myself for how awful I made my mum feel. I didn’t learn the truth until much later. When I was a teenager, I found out that my dad had an affair and gambled away his pay every week when my parents were together.

Even knowing this, my mum never talked bad about my dad to me growing up, and never said anything to me about his behavior when they were married because she wanted me to make my own mind up as I got older.

Then there’s me and my brother coming home as kids and saying how much we wished we lived with dad, as he was better. I ended up going no contact with him for 10+ years. It still eats me up to this day about how my mum must have felt after I said those things.

Mother and son sitting on a blue couch arguing about somethingaerophoto, Shutterstock

7. Accidents Happens

In second grade we were holding hands making a wave across multiple people. Arms up and down over and over. I got excited and pulled a kids arm right out of its socket. He cried a lot. I still feel bad.

Happy kids at elementary school holding handsRawpixel.com, Shutterstock

8. Leaf Well Enough Alone

When I was about 13 or so, there was an old man that lived down the street from me. He was generally kind of grumpy, but left us alone for the most part. One fall day, we saw him out raking the leaves up from his yard. It took him all day long, raking, raking, raking. That night, my friends and I went down to his house—and played a horrible prank. 

We opened all the bags of leaves and spread them all over his yard again. Not sure why we did it, just bored, I guess. The next day that poor old man was out there raking them all up again. I still feel awful about it 35+ years later.

Old Man in blue pants and a sweater  collecting fallen autumn leavesCreative Family, Shutterstock

9. Left In The Cold

When I was 10 and my sister was 7, I wanted to go play in the snow and none of my friends were out so I invited her to play with me. She was super excited but it was going to take her a while to get her snow clothes on and I was already dressed so I said I’d wait for her out front. 

While waiting, a friend came by and invitee to play and I went, not even thinking twice about my little sister. I came home an hour or two later to find out that she went outside and looked for me for a while and came in broken hearted because I wasn’t there. 

I’m in my late 40s now and while she’s never once brought this up, I think about it often and cringe and get pretty down about it. What a bad thing to do. I cannot imagine ever forgiving myself for it.

Two little  kid boys in colorful winter clothes making snow angelIrina Wilhauk, Shutterstock

10. The Path Not Taken

I teased my sister a lot and didn't have her back like a good big brother should. I was no longer mean to her once we'd grown up, but I should have done more to help her get her life on track. I should have tried harder to get here away from the path she chose.

She suffered from really low self-esteem, married an absolute jerk—and then disaster stuck. She passed on suddenly at 27. I hadn't seen her in about six years by then, as I'd moved abroad. We spoke on the phone sometimes and she really looked up to me.

If I'd been more loving and supportive when we were kids, her life would have been so different. It's been almost 20 years since we lost her and I haven't forgiven myself.

Frustrated siblings sitting on sofa angry at each other in t-shirts and jeansDmitry Naumov, Shutterstock

11. Blame Game

One time when I was 6-7 I was riding on a 4-wheeler with my older sister. We hit a dip in my grandparent's pasture and my sister fell off and she went under the rear tire. She needed immediate surgery. My grandmother still blames me for it and it has affected me deeply. 

For years, I listened to how my sister almost didn’t make it due to my negligence.

Portrait of young  man and woman riding on off-road four-wheeleranatoliy_gleb, Shutterstock

12. A Pain In The…Knee

During cross-country training, I was goofing off with friends during warmups. My ankle and calf got caught while I was in a sprint, and I heard a loud snapping noise as my knee went. It healed okay-ish, and I was able to get back to running a year or two afterward…but it's deteriorated over the years.

I’m only in my early 20s now and I have to use a cane to get around. I can't go running anymore, can't go hiking anymore. The stairs take a lot of effort. Too many flights and I struggle to walk, even with the cane. Some nights I have a hard time falling asleep, because it aches so bad.

Take care of your knees. You don't know what you'd be missing.

Kid athlete suffering form running knee or kneecap injury during outdoor workoutkwanchai.c, Shutterstock

13. Don’t Know What You’ve Got Til It’s Gone

My sister and I grew up with our maternal grandparents. Since my mom had to go to work, our grandparents took care of us—they were living with us then.

One night when I was 10 years old, my grandmother was complaining about how my sister and I left the dishes on the sink. We used to bring lunchboxes to school. She was saying that she's not going to prepare our lunchbox the following day if we didn't do the dishes—our lunchboxes included.

Since, to me, our grandmother had always told us the same thing but prepared our lunchboxes for school anyway the following morning, neither I nor my sister bothered washing the dishes. We all slept that night with the dishes in the sink.

The following morning, I got awaken by the sunlight from the window. I didn’t yet know it would be the worst day of my life. I was surprised that my grandmother had not woken up yet, since she's the one who usually wakes up first and prepares everything for us before we go to school. A few minutes later (after we tried waking her up), we realized she'd passed in her sleep.

When I was 12 years old, my grandfather was diagnosed with cancer. The doctors told us they could no longer do anything about it, so my mom and her siblings decided to take him home. A few weeks after, one of my distant cousins paid us a visit. 

I can't remember what we were doing exactly but there was a moment when she tried to get my attention, saying that it looked like my grandfather was taking deep breaths. I wish I’d listened to what she said. My grandfather's bedroom door was always open so anyone who would pass by the living room could see him and check on him. 

I told her that it's normal and he's really breathing that way because sometimes he has a hard time breathing. A few minutes later, my grandfather left us.

I should have washed the dishes. My grandmother could have slept with a peaceful heart before she passed on, knowing her granddaughters fulfilled her last request. And I should have checked on my grandfather when he was having trouble breathing. My grandfather could have had someone beside him in his last moments.

In both moments, I thought…they're always like that, they'll be fine. Next thing I know, they're gone.

Portrait of upset little girl wearing white T-shirt expressing negative emotions and sorrow in front of pink backgroundKhosro, Shutterstock

14. Forgotten But Not Forgiven

I didn’t defend my sister while she got bullied in school for having cancer. She was teased, threatened and kids pulled off her wig when she lost all her hair due to chemo. I would just ignore it or would brush it off. I know I wasn’t much older but…how lonely and terrified she must have been. I was a coward.

We’re adults now and she can’t remember much of her childhood, which I think is due to the trauma. I can never forgive myself for that.

Scared little girl with hands over her face in black topSkyler Ewing, Pexels

15. Making Up For Lost Time

My grandparents had raised me since I was 4 years old. I’m 26 now. My grandmother suffered from kidney failure, and she was on dialysis for years. When I was 10 years old, they found her a match for a kidney, everyone was so happy and ecstatic…

Well, turns out, the kidney ended up being a bad match and she needed to go back into the hospital. I was in a bad mood one day, and didn’t want to really talk to anyone. She came up to me crying, visibly upset about the kidney situation and having to go back into the hospital. She didn’t tell me at the time why she was upset. 

She came up to me while I was laying down on the couch, and tried giving me a hug and telling me she loved me. I blatantly ignored her…and that was it. That was the last I’d see my beautiful grandmother who did everything for me. She passed on a few weeks later from septic shock after catching an infection in the hospital. She was 58 years old.

I will never forgive myself for not telling her I loved her and giving her that hug. I think about it all the time and it tears me to pieces. I loved that woman—but I had a chance to make up for it. 

Years later, my grandfather became sick with cancer and I quit my job to be the BEST possible caretaker I could’ve been for him for 9 months. I never once complained and always reminded him how much he meant to me. Right before he passed, he told me how appreciative he was of me.

That man was my best friend and if there was any shot of me redeeming myself in any way, it was that. I miss my grandparents dearly. They were beautiful people.

visiting grandfather in hospitalimtmphoto, Shutterstock

16. Better Than Coal

When I was around 11, my parents bought me a release day special edition copy of Skyward Sword for Christmas. We’re not Christian so them buying me anything for Christmas alone is amazing. But that copy had the golden Wii remote and everything.

However, I was upset and threw a tantrum at them because my cousin got an Xbox 360 and they said no when I asked for the same thing in the lead up to Christmas. I started Skyward Sword but got stuck on a puzzle and dropped it.

I ended up getting an Xbox 360 for my birthday—mainly because of that tantrum. To this day it bothers me deeply that I did that and on top of that I didn’t even play the stupid Zelda game. It’s honestly something that I think of at random times and it ruins my day to remember.

Young little Caucasian kid in blue sweater holding surprise box as birthday or Christmas present with angry faceKrakenimages.com, Shutterstock

17. Stand By Me

When my parents split up, my mom had to raise us by herself and we were really poor. Eventually we had to get on food stamps to survive. My mom was devastated. She was a very proud woman and was working two jobs but it wasn’t enough and it absolutely crushed her to have to get assistance, it made her feel like a failure who couldn’t take care of her own kids.

I remember we were in the grocery store and getting ready to pay. She was going to use food stamps to pay and she was so ashamed that she turned to me and said, “If you don’t want to stand in line with me you don’t have to”. She was trying to spare me the embarrassment. That’s when I made a heartbreaking decision. 

So I didn’t stand with her, I went off and looked at a toy or something. I remember looking back at her, she was sheepishly fixing her hair and trying not to look “poor” as she worked up the courage to face the cashier. I have regretted walking away so many times over the years. 

I was just a kid, but I wish I could go back in time to go stand next to her and tell her how proud I am to be her son and how thankful I was for the sacrifices she made just to keep food on the table for us. It honestly breaks my heart every time I think about it.

woman in beige dress  with her son in a grocery storeNejron Photo, Shutterstock

18. Ego Check

I regret and don’t regret this one. I was 13 at a theme park with my class. It was our last day of school so we went to a big park to ride some rides.

For no particular reason—other than thinking I was funny—I kept telling kids in my class "Don’t die" as they would climb onto a roller coaster. Some kids looked scared, some laughed.

Finally, a 20-something guy with his girlfriend also in line turned to me and shouted, "Kid, shut the heck up". His girlfriend quickly tried to calm him down and said, "He's just a kid". Boy, did he look angry.

For me, it was like I had been slapped out of a trance. I thought "Holy smokes...I’m annoying?!" It was the best thing to ever happen to me, I think. But man do I cringe when I think about it.

People riding on a roller coasterAngie, Pexels

19. Fighting Like Cats & Dogs

My brother and I fought like heck and we both said some awful things to each other. Thing is, I let them roll off my back. I really worry he took some to heart. And when I was a heartless jerk of a 14-year-old, I went way too far.

I made one comment about his mom not wanting him. I don't remember what exactly it was I said, I just remember that it was so mean. Probably the meanest thing I've said EVER. I feel so bad about it, and when I watch his mental health struggles I can't help but wonder if some of it is my fault.

Two little kids, brothers in t-shirts fighting over a toyPhotoroyalty, Shutterstock

20. Ostrich Logic

When I was in high school, a kid who ran more with the popular crowd signed me and him up for a school-wide 2v2 basketball tournament. The idea of it was appealing, but I was scared of looking foolish, so I wore pants and shoes I could run around in…but then I totally hid during the period it would be going on. 

I had this romantic comedy idea in my head that he should find me before I'd participate? I was such a chicken. I wish I'd just tried it out.

Person in sports wear holding basketball looking at his watchTHE 5TH, Pexels

21. Telling On Yourself

I was borrowing my mother's laptop and she'd occasionally get emails/notifications—but one stood out. It said something along the lines of, "I know you watch adult content, but if you don't give me money, I'll hack you & that'll be the only thing on the screen". Let's just say I was 11 and it was true…and I didn’t realize it was a scam.

I definitely didn't want that because it wasn't my device, so I decided to tell my mom. After a few days in fear of the whole screen being covered with things I didn’t want her to see, nothing happened. I was partially relieved, but immediately regretted ratting myself out. I still do.

Scared  Teen boy in blue sweatshirt in front of computerBurdun Iliya, Shutterstock

22. Break The Cycle

My mother was those moms that yelled about everything. She wasn’t happy with my dad so she took it out on me. Breakfast? She was already angry. This made me choose friends who were just like this. Loud obnoxious girls who treated me poorly.

I had real good friends who were nice and kind and never made me feel bad about the things I like. But for some weird reason I gravitated to these mean girls. Now I realize they kept me around to boost their self-esteem and I stuck around because it was something I was used to. I knew then something wasn’t right.

Why would a friend be telling me how ugly I look, how I have no body for a 15-year-old, etc. Just bullies. I never stood up for myself until now. I really regret not sticking up for myself or being strong enough to choose the good people.

Angry, irritated teenage girlfriends arguing in coffee shopBojan Milinkov, Shutterstock

23. Sweet Dreams

I used to climb on top of the fridge with a bowl of sugar at like 6 AM. My parents would find me totally hyper and strung out when they woke up. Finally, they made a deal with me to put 50 cents in a jar for every day I didn't do that. It worked out in my favor.

At one point they tried hiding the sugar. I was young enough I didn't know that Kool-Aid packets didn't actually contain sugar so I would eat several packets.

Person holding Kool-Aid packetSmabs Sputzer, Flickr,

24. Misadventures In Babysitting

When I was a teenager we visited my cousins in California (I grew up in Upstate New York), and being so far from home were feeling wild and free. One day, while I was playing with one of my cousins, my little sister and another cousin came in and tried to describe this Really Cool Thing they had seen at the building site of a new school in the neighborhood. 

I couldn't make sense of their description, so they took me to the site to see for myself. It turned out to be a mobile "scissor jack,”—but that’s not the crazy part. It was left unattended and powered up. 

So naturally we climbed aboard and ran it up and down—literally, it has a passenger compartment that can raise up ten or twelve feet off the ground—a few times. Then we got to thinking "wow, we could drive it around in here." There was plenty of open space and the thing had forward/reverse and steering controls. 

So we drove it around for a while, at one point bashing into a wall and leaving a dent. Then we thought it would be funny to leave it somewhere far from its charger, with the controls jammed so that the battery would run down. 

While we were driving it to the far end of the building we found an open doorway to the outdoors, opening onto hard-packed dirt that sloped down to where lawn sprinklers had turned it into mud. 

At the height of mischievousness, we drove the thing down and lodged it firmly in the mud—which, of course, would turn back to hard-packed earth when the sprinklers shut off later that night. Our work was done.

Oh, in the midst of our escapades the local authorities drove by to check on the site; we crouched down behind piles of construction materials and didn't get caught. After construction was complete, my cousins later attended this very school and informed us that that dent we'd made in the wall was in the principal's office.

Scissor lift platform with hydraulic system elevatedNavinTar, Shutterstock

25. Missing In Action

I decided to play hide and seek without telling anyone when I was about 7 years old. Well, I went into our shed, and climbed up into the rafter area and hid behind some boxes. Nobody would be able to find me unless they climbed up there and looked back in the little crevice. 

Well, I ended up falling asleep—it was fall and the temperature was going down, it felt so comfortable in there. About 5 hours or so later, I wake up and there are blue and red lights flashing in the drive way. Me being a little kid, I freak out and go running inside the house…because I thought that someone stole my toys and the authorities were there to stop the burglars.

Of course, they were there because my parents thought I went missing. Oh boy was I grounded for that.

happy kid girl in warm clothes running to wooden shed in gardenMaria Evseyeva, Shutterstock

26. Appetite For Destruction

Back when I was in middle school I was at a friend’s house and we were playing with some of his older brothers camping gear, specifically a camping stove. It was the kind that had the separate fuel bottle that had to be pumped to give it pressure and had to be “primed” to get it to light. 

Well, we pumped it way too much and used way too much fuel to prime it, so the entire thing basically went up in flames. This was bad enough…but then it got even more disastrous. Somehow, we managed to get the fuel bottle disconnected before it caught on fire, which then immediately poured all of its contents onto the patio and over to the still burning stove portion. Great.

So, now pretty much the entire patio is on fire about five or six feet from the house. Well, every middleschooler knows that water puts out fire, so we grab the hose and douse the damn thing in an attempt to put it out before anything really bad happens, but what we didn't know at the time was that fuel oil floats and continues to burn and now the backyard is on fire...

Luckily for us, nothing major ever caught on fire—how, I'm not sure—but there was a huge and obvious scorched patch in the backyard and the stove was ruined. I wasn't allowed back over there for some time.

Butane camp stoveOaktree b, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

27. One Man’s Trash Is Another’s Treasure

I had a teacher in 7th grade that was engaged, enthusiastic, legitimately cared about the students and me in particular, and was just a lot of fun. I had seen some comedian do a bit about how crazy it was that some teachers were paid less than garbage men, and it was funny.

Long story short, in class one day I tried to be funny and recreate the bit, which basically resulted in me plainly stating that she, in fact, made less than trash collectors. I could see that she was just…disappointed, hurt, and she never really had that same glow and warmth that had previously been there.

I’ve felt like garbage ever since and I’m in my mid-40s—I still think about it to this day. I’m so sorry Miss L!

Sad school teacher in pink shirt  standing with hand on foreheadwavebreakmedia, Shutterstock

28. Danger Zone

I grew up in East Africa, so I didn't have "traditional" toys. When I was about 11, my brother and I were playing with a real bow and arrow. We were using a coconut tree as the target and taking turns. So I go and for some reason the arrow bounces off the tree and punctures my brother on the foot, oops—but the chaos didn’t end there.

He was so mad he threw a shovel at my face and cut my forehead pretty good. My mom pretty much freaked out and after that we got normal toys.

feather arrowPixabay, Pexels

29. Crushing & Crushed

I will never forget a girl from second grade. We'll call her Crystal. She was Asian. I thought she was super cute and had a huge crush on her, so like an idiot, I would torment her. I'd sneak my pencil into her desk, then raise my hand and snitch on her for "stealing" it. I'd bother her incessantly, but never just tell her I liked her.

One day, she kind of snapped on me and started to put me in my place for all my bullshit tormenting. She was calling me names, calling me a pest, etc...dishing out pretty good, and out of nowhere, I told her "go back to China". Not that it matters, but to add insult to injury, I'm pretty sure she wasn't even Chinese.

As soon as I said it, her entire demeanor changed, and all the fight just evaporated out of her and she slumped her shoulders and covered her face and started crying uncontrollably like a baby. This was 30+ years ago and I will never forget the depth of sadness in her eyes as she wiped away her tears.

I immediately began to apologize, I was just blurting out stuff in the heat of the back-and-forth, I LIKED HER so obviously I was just talking trash and didn't care she was Asian, but I knew I couldn't undo it. The teacher came over, I admitted to her right away what happened and continued to apologize.

I just kept apologizing, and I knew it just didn't matter. I could never apologize enough. Eventually, she downgraded to sobbing. My grandmother was a volunteer at the school and they called her up to let her know what happened. I got a talking to at home and I just kept apologizing. 

I got punished and I didn't mind because I deserved it. I don't even remember what the punishment was, but it wasn't enough.I saw her looking at me later that day, and I could feel that she hated me. I could never even bring myself to look at her on purpose again. I was sick with regret and shame. 

She was only at our school for that one (partial) year. School ended a few weeks later and I never saw her again. I've kind of passively looked around online to try and find her over the years, to maybe apologize again, as an adult. But part of me wonders if I even deserve whatever closure I might get out of that. 

Would she even care? Would I be doing it for her? Or me? At this point I don't know. This will be one of those last things I think about as I gasp my dying breath. I'll regret it forever. Crystal, if you're out there, I'm sorrier than I could ever put into words.

Unhappy Asian Schoolgirl in pink sweatshirt  Sitting with her hand on her faceProstock-studio, Shutterstock

30. The Plates Were Faded, But The Memory Isn’t

I was 7, my parents recently separated, and I lived with my mom. She worked multiple jobs to make ends meet and looking back we were VERY poor. She did a good job not letting me know we were struggling though.

My birthday was coming up and I for some reason was very specific about not wanting what I called “old faded” birthday plates from the Dollar General, the cheap ones. My dad (who has always been better off) had me for the day and took me to Party City to pick up CatDog themed birthday plates, napkins, everything.

I remember him dropping me off back at moms and she answers the door looking SO excited “Guess what I got you today”, hiding them behind her back like a surprise. They were the Dollar General plates. I still remember exactly what happened next and how terrible it was. 

I said: “I told you I didn’t want the faded ones. And dad took me to get CatDog ones anyway,” and went to my room. I’m 29 now and I still remember how her face dropped and how defeated she looked. I know she spent what little money she had left on those. And I know how much she hated being the “poor” parent.

Things with my mom got rough shortly after that, and still are. I hate that I was ever that way with her when things were “good”. I still remember exactly what those plates looked like. I cry every time I think about it.

Angry mother talks to her sonMichal Kowalski, Shutterstock

31. Unhappy Birthday

I stole $200 from my best friend. He was an only child and it was his allowance/birthday money. He had everything and I was jealous and wanted to have money of my own. I never told him and it haunts me to this day. We grew apart after high school but I still think of it often.

kid in striped t-shirt stealing money from walletKittyfly, Shutterstock

32. Sucker Punch

When I was in second grade, I was handing out suckers for my birthday, everyone in the class got one but there was this one girl that always irritated me. She just made faces at me and stuff.

She asked me why she didn't get one and the whole class did—and my reply was brutal. I told her: "You have to be good enough to get a sucker". I still remember her name and I currently go to high school with her.

It’s been a few years since it happened, so I apologized for it and actually gave her a sucker. She thought it was funny and we became friends. She says that I'm too hard on myself about it and that it was just stupid little kid stuff, but I felt like a piece of garbage for doing that, still do.

Girl in white sweater giving   sweets suckers to her classmates in front of yellow backgroundRed Fox studio, Shutterstock

33. A Real Scallywag

When I was about 7 years old, this kid showed off his new pirate Lego figurine. I thought it was so cool. I asked if I could borrow it and he said yeah. At the end of the day, he came back to get it. I was with some other kids and wanted to look cool in front of them I guess. I told the kid, “What do you mean? I already gave it back to you”.

The other kids backed me up and said yeah, he already gave it back. The kid just looked absolutely crushed and just walked away. While the other kids patted me on the back, I felt the worst guilt I have ever felt before or since then. I didn’t even know that poor kid and it was the end of the school year so I couldn’t get it back to him.

I still feel bad about it more than 30 years later. I’ve told that story to my kids as a life lesson that I hope they can learn from.

Sad kid  having regretful look, asking for forgiveness in plaid shirt in front of blue backgroundJihan Nafiaa Zahri, Shutterstock

34. Listen To Your Instincts

I told family and teachers that I wanted to be a hairdresser after school finished, and was told that was a dumb choice and that I could do better. I was one of those kids who could always naturally get top grades, so people insisted I was “too smart” for a career like hairdressing.

My mistake is, I listened, and didn’t go into hairdressing. Family and life events led me to drop out, move away, and I ended up having my first baby at 18. I worked every low-paying bad job that would have me, just to keep a roof over our heads and food in our bellies.

The baby is 33 now and it all turned out well, but there were many, many years of scraping and utter poverty. If I had followed my desires and been a hairdresser, I would likely have stayed in school, and had a decent career to support my family in my younger years. 

God knows why I listened to a dumb reason like “it’s a waste of your intellect,” I can tell you the jobs I ended up working were a waste of my intellect AND I had nothing to fall back on. Silly thing to rant about, but it’s the one thing I do regret from those years.

Sad girl in sweaterDương Nhân, Pexels

35. Flirting With Danger

I lived right next to the highway, and my friend and me, sometimes went to play "petite danone". it was really silly, and made no sense. What we did was to go out in middle of the highway, yell “petite danone” while jumping twice, and then go back to the side of the road. There had to be a car coming, or else we would not do it.

We really hated it when the cars honked at us, and couldn't really understand why.

Beautiful blond child in white t-shirt , standing in the middle of the highwayTomsickova Tatyana, Shutterstock

36. Disappointment Is Always Worse Than Anger

There was a very nice summer camp I went to one year, and loved it. I didn’t realize that it was paid for by a foundation for adopted children like myself, and I was going for free.

The second year I went, for some reason things were different, everyone was older and edgy, and I became uncomfortable and cried all the time. Eventually I was able to convince them to let me leave early.

I threw away half my time there that was paid for because I was a little cry baby and I often think that was a poor decision. When my parents came to pick me up they weren’t irate, but the disappointment was real.

sad  little boy in white t-shirt cryingPorvata Tripper, Shutterstock

37. Mending Fences

I had an experience back in middle school where I had a friend who I would only see on bus rides. I didn't think of it at the time but I made him the subjects of jokes a lot and was pretty mean at times.

Around a decade later, I saw him as a suggestion on Facebook and I felt guilty. So I messaged him just saying that I thought I used to be awful to him and I apologized. He took it well and it was a positive outcome. I haven't spoken to him since then—but it felt good to do it.

Sad boy in t-shirt sitting on a school busSkyward Kick Productions, Shutterstock

38. Secret’s Out

I regret not telling my mother about my father’s affair sooner. I was scared of losing one parent because of divorce as a child, so for 7 years I kept that secret within myself and by the time I did tell her…he had done some horrible stuff to her which I didn’t know about at the time.

I wish I could go back and tell her about it so that he would’ve left our lives sooner.

Beautiful sad little girl puts index finger to lips to keep a secret, in plaid shirt , on gray backgroundBestPhotoStudio, Shutterstock

39. No News Is Good News

When I was 9 or 10, I tried so hard to be edgy. Every time I'd hear my parents finish talking to someone on the phone, I'd ask, "So, who died?" 

At first, they'd grit their teeth and say nobody, but after a while they got mad and said along the lines of, "You need to stop asking that. Don't ever ask stuff like that when I'm on the phone. It's disrespectful. You don't know if someone you know will die”.

Angry  father scolding lecturing sad  kid son for bad behavior at homefizkes, Shutterstock

40. Playing With Fire

I was about 6 and I noticed my dad going up for a shower. I had seen him using his Zippo like 20 minutes prior to him going upstairs. I wanted to try it out, so I took off my button-up shirt and started lighting it on fire.

I blew out the flame immediately…but then it got out of control. The third time around, I couldn’t blow it out, so I freaked and threw it on the carpet. My dad must have had some sort of super-smelling powers, because he smelled burning and quickly ran downstairs. Oh boy, did I ever get in trouble for that big black patch in the middle of our carpet.

A sad and resentful boy in plaid shirt sits facing the cameraElena_Goncharova, Shutterstock

41. A Saucy Prank

When I was 14, I poured ketchup on our back porch and laid down with my head next to it right as my mom came home from work. She came outside screaming and I laughed. She beat me with her shoe and I was grounded for the weekend.

Now that I'm a parent I realize what a real stupid move it was and the terror she felt.

Angry woman in yellow top yellingAndrea Piacquadio, Pexels

42. Incendio!

I was in year 7 at school, just started “high school/senior school," which is whatever grade you’re in when you’re 12-13 years old for the Americans out there.

Our chemistry teacher’s name was Mr Franklin. We were doing an experiment called “copper sulphate”. Basically, it’s copper and hydroelectric acid over a Bunsen burner. until you get blue crystals. The Harry Potter movies were NOT out yet…but the books WERE!

My partner and I decided to see what would happen if we added powdered Magnesium to the mix. We knew there would be a pretty flame cos we had seen magnesium ribbon being burned a few weeks before. Now it is important to note, that at the time, magnesium powder was only allowed to be used in a CONTROLLED SETTING for year 9 students, aged 14-15.

Our teacher left the room and I slipped into the supply cupboard. I grabbed a pinch and told my partner that our teacher would be so amazed and think it was awesome! That’s when I made a mistake I still regret to this day. 

Mr Franklin came up to our station and wanted to see our progress. I said, “not good at the moment but check this out!" Right as he leaned in to have a look, I threw the magnesium powder into the mixture and it blew up in his face.

He still, to this day has a massive scar across his face. I’m 37 now and wish I knew more—and also wasn’t left unattended to go into the storage room! Mr Franklin was only 28 at the time. Now, bless him, he still teaches at the school but is known as “Mr Franklinstein”.

The guilt eats away at me to this day at what 12-year-old me did…

Enthusiastic chemistry  Teacher Explains Chemistry to Diverse Group of ChildrenGorodenkoff, Shutterstock

43. A Happy Ending

There was this boy in 5th grade that had a crush on me. I wasn’t shy but I was really scared about having a boy like me like that. Our class took a field trip to a skating rink. He fell right in front of me. I jumped over him on my skates then went and hid in the corner until we left. Not sure why I was so embarrassed about it because it was a clean jump and he didn’t even see me.

He and I met up later in life and I married him. I wish I’d helped him up instead of hiding.

Adorable little girl in winter clothes skatingAlinute Silzeviciute, Shutterstock

44. The Cat’s Out Of The Bag

When my mom was 12, her mother and grandmother got her a kitten. She loved him so much, he was very smart. Two years later, my mom's mother had a newborn baby son, and she was so scared that the cat would bite him or harm him somehow. So she gave the cat away to another family far away from home.

My mother didn't have a say, and she was crying and begging them not to do it. Later, she went to this family's house where her cat was supposed to be—only to make a chilling discovery. The cat wasn't there. He had run away from this new family on the first day. 

My mom was looking for him everywhere near the house and was calling out to him but he wasn't found. After so many years, my mom still hates my grandmother for that, and everyone who didn't support her in keeping the cat. This was her first cat, but after so many years, our family got our first cat. 

He is wonderful, my mom adores him. She even says that he reminds her of her first cat, he also has the same name.

Gray little cat sitting on a bedTranmautritam, Pexels

45. The Tooth Hurts

When I was 4, I saw a skateboard leaning against the wall at my church during Sunday school. I was delighted to see one in real life—it was the early 2000s and skateboarding was really cool—and stared at it longingly. Well, two twin girls a bit older than me saw me staring and asked if I wanted to sit on it while they pushed me back and forth.

I eagerly said yes and hopped on without a second thought. Now, I don’t know exactly what went wrong here; I’ve been told many different things. But what I do know is that I went flying face first onto the concrete floor. I had seriously messed up my baby teeth. I was bleeding and screaming at the top of my lungs. 

All these people started shoving toilet paper in my mouth since there were no tissues anywhere and then my mother came running into the room and grabbed me up in her arms. After having a look at me, she took off running across the road to the doctor’s office and the next thing I remember, I had an injection of morphine and a strong sedative. 

I woke up vomiting and twitching uncontrollably and totally unable to eat solid foods. A couple of days later, I got an appointment with a dentist in the city. After doing some x-rays, he deemed it necessary to remove my teeth. So, a few days after that I went to the dentist for the surgery. That’s when things got even worse. 

They had a gas mask for me to go under with. I started panicking as soon as the gas smell came through the mask and I tried to rip it off my face screaming and crying. They ended up holding me down with the mask over my face until I passed out. The whole experience was pretty scarring, but we all thought that was the end of it. Nope. No no no.

My adult teeth starting coming through pretty early and they were very crooked. I got a referral to an orthodontist when I was about 9 or 10, who deemed that the accident had caused my jaw to be pushed back slightly, thus causing the adult teeth to grow through crooked. Slapped braces on at 12, got them removed at 13, thought the whole ordeal was over. Nope again.

At 19, I started having pain in my two front teeth, so I went to the dentist who tapped on them a couple of times and went “Yup, it’s dead. I’m referring you to an endodontist.” A few months after that, I finally saw the endodontist. She took some x-rays and even this crazy 3D imaging thing that circled around my head, and was absolutely bewildered by what she saw.

It appeared as though my adult tooth had somehow been broken completely through and then tried to heal itself, leading to repeated infections and the inside beginning to disintegrate. She had never seen anything like it and was beyond confused as to how it had happened. 

Eventually, we came to the conclusion that it must’ve been related to the initial accident, and I had a root canal before being sent on my way. Since the accident, I also developed a very serious fear of vomiting, leading to panic attacks and needing to be medicated. This one stupid decision has led to a lifetime of misery.

Yong dentist working in gray scrubCedric Fauntleroy, Pexels

46. Surprise Ending

I regret not continuing on with my education after high school, or getting into a career field I’d enjoy. I have cystic fibrosis, so I genuinely didn't think I'd live long enough. Why waste time and money?

Now I'm 42…thanks to science. Sheesh.

Sad man in plaid shirt sitting at home with his arm on foreheadNicola Barts, Pexels

47. Behind Closed Doors

When I was 4, a neighbor girl and I became friends. I invited her over one day to play, we were playing with dog food as if it was fake food. Well, she started eating it. I screamed at her and called her nasty and was just a jerk about it. I told her I didn’t want to play with her anymore…but I didn’t realize the dark truth. 

As it turned out, the poor girl was neglected. Her parents never had food so she was basically starving. It didn’t dawn on me until they were kicked out of their home and it was condemned and torn down a year after. I have tried to find the girl via social media with no luck.

Image of surprised shocked cute little girl in plaid shirt and jeans pointing left with fingerDean Drobot, Shutterstock

48. Forgiven But Not Forgotten

When I was about 5 or 6, I was with my parents and brother on a property in a rural area of North Carolina that my father’s parents had bought and were working on developing. They were also there that day.

My father and older brother were helping my grandfather fell some trees and cut them up into smaller logs to carry out. I was further up the hill sitting on a bench with my grandmother and mother.

Now, let me tell you about my grandmother. She was truly a saint. She never ever raised her voice, she was always so incredibly gentle, gracious, and classy. But when she was 9, she got polio. It severely affected one of her legs, so she spent the rest of her life with a limp, had to wear special shoes, etc. But I never once heard her complain.

I loved her more than my little 5-year-old brain could truly understand. So there we are just sitting there enjoying the quiet peacefulness of undeveloped mountainside forest. She turns to me and says “I bet your grandfather would love for you to offer to help, why don’t you go see if you can help”.

Now, in my mind that meant carrying those 30-40 pound logs, and I was a very small 5. Like, I didn’t get over 100 pounds until I joined the Marine Corps. So I said, “I can’t do that Grandma those logs are too heavy for me”. She replies: “Please just go ask anyway”.

I couldn’t see the real reason she was asking. All I could see was my helplessness. So without thinking about her disability, I said something so awful, I’ve never forgotten it. I told her, “I would like to see you go down the mountain and carry up logs”.

She stared at me for a few seconds and in those few seconds I felt the weight of what I had just said. And I knew I had hurt her feelings. I was absolutely crushed. I apologized later but I never forgot that. I lost her back in 2005 and that comment still haunts me. She never said anything but I still know it had to hurt her. We were very close.

Grandson hugs his beloved grandmotherAlonafoto, Shutterstock

49. Lesson Learned

I was a bit of a problem child when I was younger. Picture typical fatherless kid acting out kind of thing. Usually, my episodes would never get physical, but I remember one time when they did, and I ended up kicking my poor mother in the back of the leg. I had no idea what kind of danger I was putting her in. 

She developed quite a bruise, which eventually resulted in a clot forming. After an emergency ambulance call and a stay in the hospital, she recovered. I now work as a paramedic and am fully aware of how dangerous a pulmonary embolism can be. The thought of my mom potentially dying because of me still breaks my heart, and I still live with a lot of guilt for it.

Paramedic wearing blue jacketRDNE Stock project, Pexels

50. Cat’s In The Cradle

My father had unexpectedly gotten off work early, so he came over to my mom's house to pick me up and take me to a movie or something. I was next door, jumping on the neighbor's trampoline, and mama told me he'd come to spend time with me, and, being a little kid, I shouted back “Can I just finish my game first? 2 minutes”?

When I ran back home, I made a devastating discovery. He had left. It hurt his feelings that I didn’t want to come with him right away, especially since we had only been living separate from each other for maybe 6 months, and this separation was still new and painful.

My father and I aren’t close now, mostly due to his actions, but I still think back to 8-year-old me late at night, choosing to play with the neighbor over spending time with my father, and how that made him feel.

kids playing on a trampolineKarolina Grabowska, Pexels

Sources:  Reddit, ,

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