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People Reveal What They'll Avoid Doing To Their Children That Their Parents Did To Them

There's no official guidebook to parenting and everyone makes mistakes, but some people carry the scars for life and promise to do better with their own kids. The challenge is not turning into your parents, when you become a parent.

keep-thinking-bud asked: [Serious] What did your parents do to you that you vowed to never do to your children?

Submissions have been edited for clarity, context, and profanity.

10. Snooping.

Snoop through their stuff. My mom would do it any time she had a suspicion I was hiding something or lying to her, which wound up being pretty often, because I never told her anything about my life knowing she would do things like that either way.

There were so many times I'd wake up in the middle of the night and hear my mom digging through my backpack or flipping through notebooks. Nothing pissed me off more than getting interrogated at 2 AM over why I had a hall pass from my math teacher on the 23rd crumpled at the bottom of my bag, or why I had an assignment with half the answers blank.

I was a good kid that didn't do anything besides go to school and come home, so I don't know why she had it in her head that I was hiding so much stuff.

She did it once when I was still living with my parents during college; I left my back pack at home on a day I didn't have class and was going to work, and she found some things she wasn't thrilled about while I was gone. It ended with our whole household not speaking to each other for close to a month.


9. Negative reenforcement.

My parents, up until I graduated high school, would call me a "disappointment," and compare me to others, even though I got into a good college and didn't misbehave. If I were to have kids, there's no way in hell I'd be calling them a disappointment and comparing them to other kids. That sh*t can be damaging.

Edit: I'm realizing majority who have this issue are Asian. I thought every kid raised by immigrant parents went through this oof. I'm guessing my Latina ass just got lucky with having strict ass parents.


Same, until I got into a good class at high school my mum would compare me to my friends about how they we're better at math. this did push me but still, I felt like a piece of crap whenever she compared me. I know how it feels.


My father often told me that if I were his only child he'd have killed himself a long time ago because I regularly brought home average grades no lower than a C.

He wonders why I'm not fond of him.


8. Abusive, tbh.

Feed them garbage food nonstop. Being the fat kid was the worst but I didn't know better when I was young.


My mother did that too. Her defense now is that feeding me horrible food was her way of showing she loved me. Whoever I showed concern for my weight I'd hear, you're just about to hit a growth spurt! Now I'm still chubby but in better shape but have a hard as f**k time with over eating.


7. Imagine my parents' surprise...

Tease them for talking to girls.

My parents would give me so much sh*t for every girl I talked to.

"Aww, you have a little girlfriend. That's so cute. Here let me tell everyone I know."


Yep. Same here. Like what the f**k. You look through my phone and see I'm talking to a girl, then you tease me endlessly. It really just made me super shy about meeting people, it made me have a hard time trusting people because it just felt like I was being patronized for talking to a girl.

I mean I'm fine now except the trusting thing but it's still something I wouldn't ever ever ever do to my children.


I still don't tell my parents about a new girl I am dating until she mentions its weird she hasn't met them. They have met 2 out of like 12 and I am only 23.


6. Shouldn't have been born, chief.

My dad used to tell us all the dreams and big things he had planned in life but couldn't accomplish because he had kids, idk if he realized what he was doing but made us feel guilty of ...well being born.


Yeah my Father did that too. Would say stuff like "why did we have 3 kids."

"should have cut my balls off."

I'm the last of the 3.


I mean, yeah, it's TRUE kids ruin lives, but you don't tell them that because it was your choice to have them, not the kiddos.


5. Teach respect.

Growing up, my parents always had all the answers: there were right ways and wrong ways. The right way earns approval, the wrong way earns scorn, or (even worse) �condescension.� This works! It instills work ethic, discipline, and sense of purpose - until it suddenly doesn't, because a child has been raised on the how, but not on the why. �Slaving away at goals becomes meaningless when you don't know how to set your own goals.

I try to listen to my children, to have them formulate what they want, and to guide them in how to achieve that. And, on occassion, to throw down and say 'no' when they want something particularly stupid - and to explain them why.

Wish me luck.


Good luck. It seems like having that awareness is key. You want your kids to look up to you and I suspect it's difficult to admit when you are wrong or don't know the answer. I'm finishing my PhD and have been able to teach a few classes and the hardest thing to lean is that people will ask you a question you don't know the answer to and saying that out loud.


4. How to instill panic attacks 101.

My parents used to scream at me when I was in trouble. It's made me terrified to be in even the slightest bit of trouble with any authority figure.


This broke me 100% t the point that the first thing that crosses my mind to this DAY when I have a life problem, is what will i tell them? My mother one day asked me why I lie to her, and I ripped into her and told her the truth, that I would rather take the chance and save face than have to deal with their petty bullsh*t. The screaming, the drama, and the over-analysis of everything in said event would be questioned and then, when a fault was found, it would be chastised.

There was one day that taught me that habit. I was volunteering at a hospital to pad my resume and my college application. They had assigned me on the front desk, so I was responsible for directing where patients went to. Should be pretty simple, something a 17 year old could easily do. One day a lady who spoke some broken English came in and told me her water broke. I, knowing limited Spanish, asked her again, and she confirmed it, so i sent her to the maternity ward. A doctor came, yelled at me for a moment, and stormed off. I was unsure what to even make of it. The next day I came in and was fired.

From a volunteer position. I had the bad luck of going on vacation for the next four days with my family after i was a done with my four hour shift. I called early, admitted what had happened. They yelled at me and went nuclear on my @ss for four hours, calling me every name in the book, telling me I was a failure, I was lazy, I was entitled, I was an unemployable loser and that I was expected to demand my job back (spoiler alert, didn't even get a response).

And they apologized later, but they'd never f*cking change, and did it again and again throughout my life. I've learned to seek others for advice.


3. Not picking favorites.

They had favorites.

The firstborn were a pair of twins, a boy and a girl. They were the favorites.

Three boys born after that were also-ran. Parents would give them second hand clothes, second hand toys (bikes etc.)

I asked my father why and he said that with children, the first born was special and used to inherit everything. (Primogeniture?) The others would have to go join the church or the army.

So at birthday time boy 1 would be given brand new presents. Other boys would be given second hand ones.

I remember on his birthday (12) oldest boy got a brand new dragster bike. Cost more than $100 at the time.

Youngest boy was given a second hand girls bike. (cost $10; we found out later.)

When youngest boy woke up and ran outside to see his "bike" he was unable to ride it because it had two flat tyres. On asking dad if he could fix he was sworn at and told not to be in such a hurry. Dad was very busy drinking coffee and reading the paper. He didn't fix it till the afternoon.

My sister was treated specially by mum because she was also first born, and the only girl. In fact she she was the "imelda marcos" of the family because she had a bedroom of her own (ok, she was the only girl) but also cabinets full of clothes and shoes - I counted 17 pairs at a time when us boys (even the eldest) had two pairs each - one for school and one for play (And sometimes we just had one for school.) I asked mum why and she said when she was a little girl she lived on a farm and the boys were given horses and gifts of money while the girls just got to help with the household. So she said she was going to make up for it with her own daughter. I said "that's not fair" and she said "I don't care".

I was the only one in the family that won scholastic prizes, and i won several - even cash ones. One time I used the cash to buy a train set I saw advertised in the paper. My dad drove me over and back.

Once we got back he insisted I give him the brand new transformer that came with the set I had bought, so he could give it to my older brother. "I drove you there so now you have to do something for me" he said. He took my new transformer that I bought with my own prize money and gave it to oldest brother, and gave me his sh!tty old one.

You know, dad, I was your son, and the only one that ever won prize money; maybe as I was your son you could have just done it for me anyway, instead of trying to cheat me out of something?

It hurt so much I buried it for years and didn't remember till a couple of decades later.

As a kid I knew our parents weren't popular with other parents on our street, and I also knew they weren't even popular with their own relatives. When I got older I started to see why.

I vowed to treat all my kids equally -boys and girls - and I have.

Mostly I use my parents as examples of what NOT to do to my children. Ah well. At least progress has been made.


2. Not actually answering questions.

Not explaining ANYTHING. I am a very literal, curious person that likes to apply things across the board where applicable. So, when my mother would say "because I said so" or anything else dismissive like that, I wouldn't clearly understand and I would do almost the exact same thing because I wasn't allowed to make the connection. I thought "be quiet" meant "make quiet noises" and was different from "shut up" and got in so much trouble one day for whispering after being told to be quiet.

Really, is it that hard to learn your children or are people just lazy when they demand respect from you for your age?


My kid's probably in here saying he won't over-explain things. "I ask my dad one question and 3 hours later we're still reading Wikipedia and watching youtube videos explaining <thing>"


1. Blaming the victim.

My sister (f26) and I (f22) did not get along at all growing up. She was both physically abusive and mentally. It got to the point where I modeled my entire life to be the opposite of hers because I wanted literally nothing to do with her. How my parents handled it was to tell us not to fight. That was it. I spent most Christmases in my bedroom crying and have permanent scars from her nails digging into me and all my parents ever did was tell me "Can you please just try to get along with your sister?" or "Why do you always let her get to you? You know she's just teasing you". My parents were wonderful to me in every other way but how they handled conflict between kids was terrible. If my child is crying at Christmas or wants absolutely nothing to do with their siblings I'm going to have a hard look at why and I'm going to actually listen when they tell me there's a problem.


Oh god that sounds like my mom. My older brother physically took things from me, and my younger brother had the rule "if it shuts him up just let him have it" which she enforced. I grew up needing to put a padlock on my room because they would steal my stuff and give it away.

My mom's response was always the same: "if you don't like it don't play with them". Like god damn he stole my PlayStation and all my games while I was out of the house.


What did you parents do to you that you vow to never do to your own kids?

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