Sometimes, the hardest part of being a parent is taking the things you hated and using them as lessons on what NOT to do.
Even the most loving and well-intentioned parents screw things up. But not every parent is loving as well-intentioned. One Reddit user asked:
So yeah... this is a pretty solid "What Not To Do" list.
That you need to hustle 100% of the time and be constantly busy with school/work, extra activities, side projects, cleaning etc. Spending time unwinding is a sign of laziness and boredom, and intelligent people are never bored.
This really messed me up and I'm still learning the art of wasting time. Don't get me wrong, I love laying in bed doing nothing but it usually comes with guilt that I could be more productive during this time. I'm still in the process of learning that rest is needed for a healthy and well functioning body and mind.
Stop When You're FullFull GIF by memecandy Giphy
Eat everything on their plate. I try to get my kids to make an effort to eat their meals, but I'm never going to punish them for not being hungry when I say so. Sometimes you start it and can't finish. Sometimes you just don't like it. Now if they keep saying they're hungry sometimes you gotta learn to take what you can get though.
My parents were Depression-era kids, so they were taught that wasting food is a sin. I guess it was back then. But now I am trained to clear my plate no matter how full I am. It has been an uphill struggle to not teach my kids to do that.
That crying is shameful
I'm trying to not teach mine this one. But I still feel REALLY ashamed when I cry. I'll say it's allergies rather than admit I'm crying. I HATE it if anybody sees me crying.
"I'll give you something to cry about" was common for me. I hate it, I hate it so much.
This. My father has always been well... mean. Then he will tell me to stop crying because it makes me look weak and I 'm stronger than that.
It really messes with me. I wear my heart on my sleeve. Even now as a grown adult struggle with embarrassment when I cry.
The "Awkward" Stuff
That sex, sexuality, drinking/partying, politics, money, spirituality are awkward things to discuss. I want my future kids to know facts and that if they are ever in trouble, I am a safe place for them. We don't have to talk about it if they don't want to, they'll be taught how to be safe, but they should also know that these subjects are a part of life and should not cause shame.
A Crush Shouldn't Hurt
"If a boy acts like a jerk, it means he likes you!"
First of all, he shouldn't be let off the hook for acting like a jerk. (Whether he's 5 or 105). Secondly, it teaches girls that abuse is okay, or that they should expect to be treated like crap (and that it's okay for them to be treated like crap.)
My daughter had a little boy that was picking on her and I was pissed. I asked her what would happen if Tati (her dad) pushed me off of the sidewalk or pulled my hair?
She said he wouldn't do that because he cares about me and that other little boys in the school are a lot nicer. That's damn right... you stay away from that little boy. That little boy is an a$hole and don't forget it. Oh! And at the start of the Coronavirus thing he was "blowing air" on her.
Oh my god this sh!t brought me into so many wired and some even abusive relationships. It actually taught me to choose the guys that were mean to me.. "because that must mean they like me right?"
Go Your Own Way
That i basically have to be a smaller version of them, believe exactly what they do and not think for myself and have my own opinion. If I have kids id let them be open minded and believe what they want
I'm not saying I'll let them do whatever they want regardless of it being stupid or dangerous or harmful. I fully intend to offer guidance to them and try to reason with them if I believe something they think is wrong. I'm just not going to punish or censor them.
I've seen so many parents disown or punish their kids for leaving their religion or coming out as gay and it hurts me man. When they get older I believe they have the right to have their own opinions
The "Wait" Isn't Worth Itmr bean waiting GIF Giphy
To wait until marriage.
You know they won't anyway. The best you can do is teach them to be safe and pray they do ok.
Same with a lot of things, actually. I know my daughter is going to have sex no matter what. I know she's going to try alcohol at some point. I know she's going to probably try pot. Her safety is my priority, so the sex talk is going to include how to stay safe, where the extra condoms are stashed, that it's perfectly okay to ask me any questions about sex (like, "x happened, is this normal?"), all about consent, etc. And about the effects of alcohol (based on science) and how to stay safe when drinking socially with friends.
Definitely would prefer if she didn't drink before 21, but if she's going to, might as well try to help her help herself not get absolutely shitfaced and possibly assaulted.
My mother celebrates her pettiness, and never misses an opportunity to take the low road or seek revenge. For example, she had a customer skip out on a $150 bill. My mom turned it into collections.
Years (and I mean yeeeeaaaaars) later, she was contacted by a debt management company looking to pay the $150 bill so the former customer could fix their credit to buy a house. My mom dodged the call for weeks ON PURPOSE just to be an a-hole and hold up the process.
She told me this story all proud and smug. I think she was expecting me to clap for her. I just stared in disbelief. My kid is being taught to show mercy when given the opportunity.
Being hypercritical. My parents were very critical of me about so many things. My grades, my performance in extra circular activities, even how I did chores. What was worse was that they would often compare me to others as well, and would only ever praise me when they were basically bragging to other people. An example that always stuck with me was when I had a part time job as a waiter in high school, and my dad would often scold me for wasting my time at a a useless job instead of focusing on school, and how I was just gonna end up being a bum just like my older brother. But then when he's talking to his friends he brags about how his youngest son is so hard working, he even has a part time job in high school!
It's this sort of hypercriticism is why I struggle a lot with self esteem and confidence. What's worse is that I find myself even being hypercritical of other people's behavior, like if they make a mistake or don't do something how I would've done. I don't snap like my dad would do, but I still find myself immediately getting annoyed. It's something I'm working on, and hope to never do to my future kids.
"You Make Me Hit You"
That a parent's feelings are more valid than the childs.
My mom did this once when I expressed to my dad that she constantly hurt my feelings. She came into my room after that since my dad had just tucked me into bed when I told him and she said and I quote, "I hurt your feelings? You hurt mine when *you make me* spank you or yell at you!"
Almost every time she spanked me (with what we call "The Board" which is basically a shaped piece of wood with a handle) it would be about me talking during church or playing with my friends in restaurants too loudly. She never said to quiet down, she'd say shut up/stop and threaten me with "licks" aka spanking me with "The Board". So I never felt like I could have fun as a child.
Basically, that's a trauma I'm still trying to get over. Though my confidence is getting better and I'm finally branching out and doing things by myself. (I say finally because I'm around 20 years old and have yet to ever have a job or adult properly.) I do still have trust issues and issues with feeling like how I feel is valid and okay but I'm working on it.
This might sound mean but to give to the homeless
My parents always gave their spare change to homeless people who would just use it for drugs or cigarettes. I think it's better to give them food.
We were poor growing up and I would have rather them saved the money for useful things for ourselves rather than have them give it to people who use it on drugs.
The Neighbor's Daughter
My dad, when I was like 13-14, says, "Son, the neighbor's daughter is ready for some sex education, get on it"... This is not something that helps you grow up to be in the proper mindset!
I know you guys are very curious... No, I didn't bang the neighbor's daughter!
An Intolerant Pot-Smoking Atheist
My parents were extremely old fashioned in a lot of ways. My dad was a proud, racist, homophobic man that had a problem with everyone that didn't think the same way as him.
His lifestyle and ideals projected to my mother, who is mentally unstable and easily manipulated. My dad passed away when I was 11 but one of the things that really pissed me off as an adult (aside from his hateful nature) is them teaching me that if people don't think the same way as me, then I couldn't associate with them because they were horrible people.
For example, I wasn't allowed to hang out with any kids that didn't believe in God. They didn't have to be committed to a religion - but if their faith wasn't in god, I couldn't be their friend cause they would be a bad influence on me.
I've abandoned all his teachings, but that one has always kind of stuck with me and I hate it. Now that I'm my own person, I feel like I still project that behavior onto others based on their political views or religious views, and it's still something I have to correct in myself even though I'm a (in my dad's words) pot smoking atheist now.
I Will Not Be A KarenRedhead Karen GIF by moodman Giphy
My mom is very manipulative and she keeps trying to teach me how to be the same way. When I refuse to do something bad she gets a bit mad at me.
Sorry mom! But I will never follow your Karen footsteps
Maintaining The Un-Fun Things
That you don't have to keep doing something if you don't feel like it. For example, when I was a child, my dad showed me all kinds of possible interests. Baseball, golf, cars, music, books, etc. Most of them I said "I don't feel like learning this any more" very early on. He was just like "okay". It worked out because I came around to find true interests in music and art, but i think It would be a good idea if there was just a bit more discipline imposed.
I'm not a parent yet, but I think maybe I would say: "You can't quit after three days. You're going to play for a season and stick it out. Then you can choose to quit. You'll learn plenty of lessons and maybe make some friends." (Of course that would change if they're traumatized or being bullied or something) It's important to learn that if you want to do something you need to stick things out when they're not fun. I still have a hard time knuckling down and getting to work unless I really feel like it.
I will have them do small chores as well. It doesn't have to be every week, they don't have to be punished or something. Teach them how to keep a clean house, how to maintain those un-fun things that are necessary in life. My first apartment in college became so messy. I remember not wanting to wash gross dishes and after a week I'd just throw them out. I had to learn on my own those seemingly simple things.
I suppose the thing they did best though was teach me how to learn. Learning is a bit of a skill. You need to be able to break down problems and identify obstacles. You need to be persistent and believe you can learn. If you have that skill plus some books or the internet, you can do anything.
These are super minor things, I had fantastic parents growing up, they were trusting, understanding, and never played head games or withheld love. If I was in trouble , they were mad, but I was still their child and loved. Come to think of it I was never in trouble much. My dad's dad used to use the belt, so he made sure to never hit me, I got time outs and groundings if I was really in trouble.
Feeling Weird About Religion
Religion, I guess. And I kind of feel a bit weird about it.
I grew up catholic but my parents were not militant about it. We went to church on Sundays, I went to Sunday school for a little while...but that was the extent of it. My parents never preached or made a big deal about it...they obviously believed in god and all that but we weren't living our lives for religion.
Then, two things happened: One day my mom was picking me up from high school and on the corner of the street were a ton of anti-abortionists on the holding graphic signs of aborted fetuses. My mom flipped out. My mom herself was mostly pro-life but she was absolutely livid that this group would expose kids to these really horrific images. I remember her getting out of the car and screaming at the top of her lungs at these people. She found out the people went to our church and we immediately stopped going.
The second thing was when my grandfather died and we had a traditional catholic service in the church. The entire service was all about god. They barely said a single thing about my grandfather or what type of a person he was...it was just about god and everything else fell by the way side.
After that I rarely heard my mom ever talk about religion. I'm not sure where she stood after that.
When my kid was born there was never any talk from her about getting my daughter baptized. Never any talk about religion, really. I think I remember her teaching my daughter about the manger scene she put out for Christmas but that was about it.
I don't necessarily have an opinion one way or the other about religion. I don't think it's a bad thing but I find it difficult to believe it. My wife and I feel conflicted about religion in general (wife's parents were a bit on the wacky spiritual side) and it's become one of those things we just don't even discuss.
My mom died last year so I'll never know what she really believed. Like I think if it was important to my mom we would have had our kid baptized for her but it really doesn't mean anything to me either way. I just don't see it being a big part of our lives and I'm still trying to determine what I actually believe myself.