Caleb Woods/Unsplash

Parents make mistakes. We want to believe that parents are doing there very best to raise their kids, but sometimes they do more harm than good.

Research into childhood trauma didn't actually begin until the 1970s, so we don't have as much knowledge about our mental health as adults as we might like.

However, a study that followed 1,420 from 1992 to 2015 found conclusive results about childhood trauma:

"'It is a myth to believe that childhood trauma is a rare experience that only affects few,' the researchers say."
"Rather, their population sample suggests, 'it is a normative experience—it affects the majority of children at some point.'"
"A surprising 60 percent of those in the study were exposed to at least one trauma by age 16. Over 30 percent were exposed to multiple traumatic events."

Not all of the things our parents do that were not so helpful technically classify as trauma, but it definitely has an effect on us as we get older.


Redditor Gooncookies asked:

"What could your parents have done better when raising you?"

Here's some of the ways that these Redditor's parents could have done better.

Rules to maintain purity.

"Would've been nice if my dad hadn't convinced me I had to behave in certain ways to maintain my innocence and purity."

- canijustbelancelot

"Catholic? I can relate."

- Gooncookies

"Nope. He's an atheist. He's actually extremely upset that I practice my (non Christian) religion. He just has some really weird ideas about having female children. Like, if I wore spaghetti straps when I was a child he'd say it was like he was living in a brothel."

"It's funny, the experience made me personally sex repulsed but extremely sex positive. The idea of me personally as a sexual being freaks me out, but I fully support others experimenting and not waiting for marriage or whatever."

"I'll never stop working on it. Healing our trauma is the best way to stop the cycle."

- canijustbelancelot

"I once had a Popsicle that stained my lips red when I was around 11. My dad wouldn't let me out of the house until it came off because he said it looked like I had lipstick on. When I caught the bouquet at my sister's wedding at age 28, he tried to take it away from me. It's been a weird and uncomfortable existence in this family."

- Dangerous_Effort3355

Becoming afraid of failure.

"Encourage me to do more. I was never pushed to do anything. I mean, I get why some athletes are like 'my parents pushed me too hard where I hated it.' But I was never encouraged to go out for it try anything new. I played little league baseball and decided I thought it was a good idea to try and be a pitcher. I told my mom, but got the response along the lines of 'That's a hard position, and the whole game kind of rides on you, and if you mess up, everyone is going to blame you.' As a 37 year old I now see how that kind of stuff screwed my self esteem up and why I'm so afraid of failure as an adult."

- chunky-flufferkins

"Same here. Also when I wanted to try anything new my mom was like 'But that's too hard for you, are you really sure you wanna do this? I don't think that you want nor can.' What's even worse than just forbidding, in this way the kid won't 'protest doing it' and get too low self esteem to do it."

"I'm really happy now that I overcame this after I moved out. I started doing all those things I wanted to do as a kid and I freaking love it (but kinda hate the fact that I haven't started earlier)."

"But even if I have a good relationship to my mom I hide a lot of things I do from her, since she still does the same and tries to convince me that I actually don't wanna do what ever I planned."

"But dear mom, sometimes you just need to try new things. if it wont work out who cares!? Even got a tattoo with 'What if I fall? Honey what if you fly?' to remind me if I should ever forget. (And no, my mum doesn't know about it)."

- UnicornRat

We're allowed to feel our emotions.

"Allow me to express my emotions, treat me like an actually person, actually interact with me instead of just ignoring me and them just telling me to kill myself."

- laundryday_

"Wow. I'm so sorry. I think a lot of parents forget that their children are actually human beings."

- Gooncookies

"Its okay. I'm trying to work through some of that trauma, its easier said than done."

- laundryday_

Kids have to be taught to express their emotions, not bottle them up.

"Allowing and even teaching me how to express myself emotionally."

"I've only recently started reaching out for help with my anxiety and panic attacks. But it's gonna take 7 months before I can get ongoing therapy."

- Anthony13151

Interest is nice.

"They could have shown more of an interest in my mental health and education."

- SnooMachines1182

"I didn't get help for my anxiety until after college and it's so frustrating to hear my parents acknowledge I was an anxious child yet nothing was done. I can look back and see how many things could have gone better for me."

- oscarisaweenis


"I had diagnosed ADHD and my mom thought that the meds made my brother and I zombies and decided she wanted us to just be kids. My parents never looked into any kind of non-medication help for my ADHD."

"I'll always wonder what school would've been like if I had the tools to properly manage it."

"I got an MFA, but I feel my entire life has been a whole lot of masking."

I also have comorbid sleep/circadian rhythm disorder which they also never did anything about. Going to the doctor for anything, physical or mental, was not prioritized. But, my parents definitely weren't well off financially, so I imagine that that was the biggest contributor."

- hey_sjay

These Gestures Are Offensive In Other Countries | George Takei’s Oh Myyy

People explain the friendly gestures in one country that are offensive in another. It's imperative to do a little research about the destinations and culture...

Kids deserve autonomy.

"Taught me to question adults and trust myself."

"They thought they were doing the best thing by teaching my sister and I 'All adults are always right and you obey them no matter what,' but it made me a dysfunctional employee and vulnerable to abusive relationships."

"The good news is it can be unlearned. But I hope this new generation will teach our kids to assert themselves respectfully instead of blind obedience."

- ligamentary

"Stop f*cking yelling at me and explain me why should I do whatever they want that moment instead of 'because I said so.' Explain me how do to do stuff and perhaps even help me. Or, hell, if it is so important, do it yourself, so you don't have to blame me if I did something wrong."

"Just because I am a kid, doesn't mean my opinions and arguments are automatically bullsh*t. Explain me why am I wrong, if I am wrong."

"And what the hell is up with this 'don't talk when older people are talking!" I want to ask a genuine question, like where the fuck is the bathroom when we are visiting someone or something like that, but no - f*ck you, kid, you dont get to talk."

"Mind you I am like 10 or more when the above happened, not 4 years old."

- geolluncaneummq

"I can't stand when parents act like us trying to explain ourselves or ask questions is 'rude and disrespectful.' My mom is a control freak, and any time I so much as asked why she was mad at me growing up (the scapegoat), she would get even madder."

- Survivor_Fan10

"I'm 22 and my dad still acts like this."

- abou_51

"I had very similar experiences to this. It resulted in not trusting anyone. I discovered earlier than most, that I needed to be independent and an autodidact, or I wouldn't learn anything. I don't think I was disciplined correctly, later in life I had to teach my self self-discipline just so I could get things done. Even now I don't take people's opinions on things seriously, unless it's been peer reviewed."

- International_Ad1287

Why keep up the charade?

"My parents are great people who did a good job raising me, but there was one weird thing they did that still kind of annoys to this day (and I'm 44.)"

"Once I got old enough to figure out that things like Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny weren't real they still wouldn't admit it for some reason; I think it was more my mom and my dad just went along with her. But even when I became a teenager and all my siblings were teenagers it's like they still thought it was funny and cute to keep pretending that Santa Claus was real. I don't know why."

"They missed the point of that sort of thing. It's a rite of passage for children to eventually get old enough to figure out that this sort of thing isn't real and for the parents to let them in on it. I was denied that and it still bugs me for some reason."

- FreshwaterOctopus

"I could imagine that being infuriating at 14-15 years old. At that age you're wanting to be seen as more of an adult and I can imagine them not acknowledging Santa as a way of not welcoming me into adulthood/making me feel like a little kid."

- 895501

Yea that's weird. When I got older and looked back I realized that my folks never flat out said Santa was real. My mom would say something like, 'He's only real if you believe in him,' so she never technically lied to me. Maybe it stems from that, they don't want to admit they lied to you?"

- Gooncookies

"That could be, but I think it was more a matter of my parents (again, my mom especially) thinking that doing the whole Santa Claus thing on Christmas morning, and Easter Bunny thing on Easter was fun and something that she just didn't want to let go of when my sisters and I got older."

- FreshwaterOctopus

Healthy criticism is necessary sometimes.

"They lacked discipline and parental authority which led us to treat them like our friends, disrespect them. We also couldn't be academically successful because they didn't help us develop a healthy studying habit."

"Kids like it when a parent tells them what to do (I mean, parenting is about teaching a kid what to do, if you just leave it like that, it won't learn anything), help them when they can't get through it, never give negative criticism, but constructive criticism when they fail and appreciate them when they succeed."

"Negative criticism: this type only tells them what is wrong. e.g. 'you can't do this,' 'you are doing this badly.'"

"Constructive criticism: this type gives them an insight into what should they do, you can add what is lacking if necessary. e.g. '[...] is not good behaviour, please do [...] next time, then you would succeed,' 'it looks ok (if it is badly done, then don't say this), but if you do [...] it'd be better / [...] is the correct way.'"

- thisisathrowaway6980

Share your opinions on the world.

"Being more open with me."

"If they had really expressed their views more on topics such as the LGBTQ+ community, coming to terms with my sexuality would probably have been easier. I'm still building up the courage to tell them. They also should've been more with open a lot of other things too, I wouldn't have known that I am autistic had my mom not randomly mentioned it in passing."

"Basically, to any new parents reading this, please make the effort to be as open as possible with your children without making them uncomfortable."

"This can be just sitting them down and having a conversation, or just mentioning it casually. You would be surprised at how helpful for their development it can be if they know beyond the shadow of a doubt your opinion on something."

- Lone_Wolfy_31

"When I (F) was about 14, my mom gave me a 'talk' expressing her support if I ever brought home a girlfriend, which was nice (just an awkward convo to have). But I guess because I didn't bring home girlfriend all throughout high school or show any interest in girls then, my parents thought it was okay to start expressing their homophobic thoughts. It wasn't a lot but when you start questioning your sexuality you internalize every little bit of judgement from your family and peers. Every little less-than-supportive comment here and there about a gay actor or a family friend coming out was mentally filed in my brain."

"I didn't realize I was bi until late-college, still haven't told my parents. That earlier experience told me they're only supportive if they have to be, but they'll default to being bigoted if they can. I know they'd be accepting but I can't help but feel they'd only be suppressing how they really feel about it."

- SeaAnything8

Moving has a huge impact on kids.

"My family moved two days after I turned 13. I understand now, as an adult, that big decisions like that are made by the parents, but they made me feel so unimportant throughout that move. I think it would've been easier to deal with if they had made me feel like my feelings mattered - that though my voice wasn't authoritative, it was heard."

- annairachelle

"I hear you. My Dad moved us to a different country when I was 13 and 15. It was tough, leaving friends behind again and again."

- Italophilia27

Stop the 'clean plate' mentality.

"My parents discouraged me from doing sports because I might hurt myself; they would freak out if I had any scars and bruises on my skin. I also developed a 'clean your plate' mentality and they encouraged me to eat even when I'm not really hungry."

"Obviously, I became an overweight kid. I was physically weak and walking up and down the stairs made me breathless. When I was a teen, I developed an unhealthy relationship with food while trying to lose weight. Basically, I traded my disordered eating habit of overeating from when I was a kid for another disordered eating habit of undereating."

"Growing up, if only my parents talked to me about my feelings instead of letting me eat unhealthy food to comfort myself. It would've been nice if I was allowed to do sports, too."

- StressRoutine4192

Kids deserve apologies too.

"Apologize when they were wrong and not laugh when I expressed seriousness about a subject."

- rotuntious

Whatever the situation was with your parents or caretakers, there are ways to heal from this trauma.

Psychology Today says we need to process our emotions, especially if we were taught not to when we were children.

It's important that we break these generational curses.

Want to "know" more?

Never miss another big, odd, funny, or heartbreaking moment again.

Sign up for the Knowable newsletter here.

Let me be real for a second.

Every time I listen to Bjork's "Unravel," my heart breaks a bit.

Have you ever listened to it?

It's on Homogenic, her third studio album, and it's incredible, passionate, smartly produced and a great showcase for her stupendous voice.

That song? An emotional rollercoaster, for sure.

There's tons of great music out there, though, and even more sad and gorgeous songs to discover.

Keep reading... Show less
Duy Pham on Unsplash

Unfortunately, a friendship could really end at any point in life.

Friends grow apart, but also, sometimes, it's just necessary to say goodbye to your relationship with a friend.

Maybe they aren't the right type of friend for you anymore, or maybe something has happened in their lives to make them self-destructive and toxic.

The reasons are many, and they are all sad.

Keep reading... Show less
Kelsey Chance/Unsplash

Certain personalities show up at almost every party like clockwork.

There's always that person who get's too drunk, someone awkwardly standing in the corner nursing a drink, the person who's not having a good time no matter what and the person babysitting the crowd they came with.

When there's alcohol—or any other substances—and the pressure of a social situation, all sorts of quirks will come out. We wanted to know what people thought their country would act like if they were a person attending a party.

Keep reading... Show less
nrd on Unsplash

Irrespective of men's sexual identity or preference, there are men who hate sports, and there are men who love musical theater. Do participating in either activity make men straight or gay?

Keep reading... Show less