Lessons People Learned From Their Parents On What Not To Do With Your Own Kids: 35 Stories Shared By Our Community
Many people growing up learn everything from their parents and most strive to be just like them when they grow up. However, some of us that grew up in a less-than-stellar household with less-than-competent parents have only learned what not to do from our parents.
Thinking about that, I asked our community to share their experiences that have taught them what not to do with their kids. Scroll down for the answers!
It is really very important to believe and validate your children when something or someone hurt them. Don't tell them nothing really happened and all is in their imagination. And please just don't pretend to make them feel better by telling them other people have it worse.
Also pretending everything is good and therefore not allowing them to show how much something affected them is not healthy, keeping quiet for any other's sake is in fact very harmful for them.
Don't give your kids body image issues. Give them the tools to support a healthy body and mind.
Pain is not a contest between me and my kids. They tell me they hurt, they hurt. We will not be discussing my surgeries, this is about them and their bodies which they are experts in.
I learned that it's a really bad idea to expect your child to be your primary emotional support. My father cheated on my mother, so she didn't trust him to care for any of her needs, so she leaned on me. I essentially parented her emotionally from a relatively young age.
Now I make sure that my child knows they're not responsible for my emotions or problems, that I have peers and professionals to lean on, but if they want to give me a hug, I will be so grateful.
Stop your kids from attacking their siblings and your partner. My brother is a hazard to all of us by now, and I definitely don't want to witness it again if I ever have kids.
Two things: NEVER hit your kid, not even spank because hitting doesn't solve anything; and don't scold or punish your kids if they're having a bad day or a bad mood. Ask them what's wrong and listen to them instead.
Don't guilt-trip or get angry with them for having mental health issues.
Don't attempt to recapture your own childhood through your kids. My mom made me do all the things: dance, gymnastics, sports of all kinds. I was a geeky thing that preferred school, school work and books and never had time for that because of the activities I was forced to participate in. I was miserable and my mom berated me for never being enthusiastic about her choices.
Now, as a mom, I let my kid decide what she wants to do with her extra time. She's a kindergartener, so her choices are a bit chaotic ("I want to try scuba diving!!" "Mom, can we tie-dye this week?"), but letting her decide the extracurriculars lets her flex her creative muscles. It's not about me, I have a decent grasp on what I like and don't, it's about her finding herself.
To not force religion on children. To not force children to finish their plates, and then shame them for eating either "too much or too little". It really sucked. It's important to let children be curious and growing people!
Please for God’s sake don’t tell your kids you never should have had them, that they ruined your life. Sixty-two and a life time of self-esteem issues.
Like many parents, mine believed it was better to insist we eat everything on our plates, even things we absolutely hated. When my 3 kids were young, I encouraged them to try new things and provided a variety of foods (especially healthy options). I never insisted they finish what they took or forced them to try things. They are now healthy teens who eat a wide variety of foods. They love trying new things from different cuisines and are WAY more adventurous than me with their choices! They have a much healthier attitude towards food than I do!
Don't silence their voices for the sake of "keeping the peace" My siblings and I were emotionally abused for years by one parent, the other would never let us speak up, we had to stay quiet otherwise things would just get worse.... Keep quiet, give them what they want, don't make life difficult for everyone...We grew up unable to speak up for ourselves, no matter what treatment we were put through... it took 40 years before we finally found the strength to stop being silent. Keeping the peace never made things better, it just made the abuser think they could keep getting away with it.
(also.... don't emotionally abuse your kids!)
Mental issues are not your children's fault and it is YOUR OWN responsibility as adult to seek help and properly comply with treatment and therapy. Also, suicide is never an act of courage and should never ever be romanticized.
To not tell my kids about my aspirations of their future. My mother told me she always expected me to be perfect. I was 10. I'm still messed up from it, but I can't tell her about it, because she probably forgot about it. Now I have intense anxiety about not being good enough for her despite reassurance
1) be there & don't force your eldest to raise the younger by being absent
2) be patient - just b/c you have been good with whatever in school, doesn't mean your kid is as good/fast as you
3) don't force them to practice stuff for hours - a little bit at a time, not a year's worth of stuff for 4h straight
4) try to find a place to live before having kids and stay there, don't force them to leave their friends behind ~5x in 9 years
5) don't punish your kid for accidents or not being good at sports
6) trust your kids - teachers can lie too, just like the neighbours, your friends, other kids and even family - if you have been there for your kid, you'll know when they lie... and if they're lying - ask yourself and your kid 'why'
1) If you don't want kids, use protection.
2) If you do have kids, don't guilt trip them for having problems, don't tell them they're ungrateful when they need you to adjust your parenting style. And don't only focus on the flaws in their grades.
Never shame your child or allow siblings to shame her for something out of her control.
I don't tell my kids to not cry (like my dad did when I fell and broke my arm).
I don't give my kids the silent treatment (which my mum did on two occasions, which lasted more than a week each).
I don't talk badly about my spouse (like my mum, who has slagged off my dad ever since their divorce 30 years ago).
I learned not to punish my kids for speaking up about something they disagree with me on. Kids are people with thoughts and opinions on everything. It doesn’t mean I will agree or change my mind… but sometimes I will. It’s ok to be wrong and it’s not disrespectful for kids to disagree with parents. It just teaches them to be people pleasers and they never learn how to handle disagreements with people. I’m a perfect example…
The screaming. We hear you just fine, we're trying to process you.
The moment you hear yourself say "oh you think this is screaming? I'll show you screaming." You are the reason the kids stop talking to you when they move out.
If you are divorced and are the parent who doesn’t have main custody of the children, never make a promise to be somewhere unless you are 100% sure you will make it.
If you are even slightly uncertain that you may not make it to something, kids of any age will understand when you say “I really want to be there and I will really really try my hardest to make it to ……., but I can’t promise 100% I will be there.”
When you turn up, even if a little late, they will always be happy. If you can’t make it (and call to say you can’t, or that you will be late) they will understand because they already knew this was a possibility.
If you make any promise to a child and you keep that promise 99% of the time, that rare 1% is easier to forgive. But if you make promises and constantly break them it will create mistrust, doubt and resentment in a child that will last a lifetime.
Dont guilt trip your kid saying how selfish they are if they are feeling suicidal it makes it worse
Dont s**t shame your child
If your child says they are sexually abused by your partner, don't just " chat" with the partner saying its not ok and sweep it under the rug
dont compete with your child for mental issues
Let your child interact with others that aren't just family
I had great parents but I learned to not pick favorites. Somebody is going to get hurt and do the same thing to their child. I learned that every child is an independent and unique person, and comparing one child to another child in the same family causes problems. So my husband and I made conscious decisions to treat them as individuals, to celebrate their differences, and not compare them to each other, because of this my children are extremely close with each other regardless of the age gaps, they all love each other, and talk to each other more than they talk to my husband and I. I also learned not to force myself upon them. When they need me they know I'm there and they come to me with their own accord. I check in with them on a weekly basis but I don't smother them. I don't want to do things that alienate them. Their choices are their own we encourage them we encourage their differences and let them know that they are unconditionally loved. I feel very blessed that my children are the people that they are and because we didn't compare them to each other negatively or positively I have very confident children with great judgment. I also learned not to place unreasonable expectations upon them. The only expectation that we ever put on them was for them to grow up to be productive members of society and I believe that the ones who have reached adulthood have succeeded in that. the things I'm most proud of in my children are also the things that they are most proud of themselves.
Take your kids to the doctor when they're sick - before it becomes severe.
I was hospitalized 13 times (that I could remember) by the age of 15. I had a host of childhood diseases that I wasn't vaccinated for, multiple pneumonias, anemia, etc. For most of my childhood, when I was taken to the doctor, I was immediately hospitalized. They had "the good" insurance (through my dad's factory job) but my parents didn't "believe in" doctors.
Do not use your kids as weapons when going through a divorce.
I later got divorced myself and made it clear to my ex that we were going to minimize the impact on our son. She fortunately agreed.
Be more open minded and actually spend time listening to my (future) kids.
As someone brought up by a helicopter mom that always knows better and is never wrong... I feel like my whole childhood and teenage years were stolen from me because of my mom's behaviour... She doesn't accept any of it.
Don't hang onto a lot of stuff you don't use and expect your kids to move it for you multiple times.
My husband and I moved my parents 7 times in 17 years, with my brother helping the first couple times. They didn't even use most of the stuff, but clung to it anyway. A lot of it ended up in storage, where it's sat for at least 10 years. My dad died 7 years ago, and my mom lives in a nice retirement community, with her apartment cluttered with boxes of stuff she still hasn't unpacked after 1-1/2 years. Now her mind is a little vague, and she doesn't want to think about getting organized or getting rid of things. So guess who eventually gets to deal with it yet again?
I encouraged my son to try something before he said he didn't like it. It's not that I was brought up to condemn out of hand but society started to dislike things without checking them out first.
My Dad was a good man, mostly, but he delighted in telling me my music was rubbish. I swore I would never say the same to my son. He and I now swap the music we like. Sometimes I don't like what he's listening to, but I still listen because I ought to have an opinion nonetheless.
Although he was brought up to be omnivorous, when he went through a vegetarian phase, because of his then girlfriend, we ate like he did, when he visited. There is no harm in accepting another's personal views and tastes.
I hope that he instills the same values in my grandson. He, himself, has grown to be a man I am proud to call my son. I gave him ownership, he accepted the responsibility. We respect one another.
Finally one for me. I learned a huge lesson from my egg donor (mother). I learned to always be in my kids' lives. To love them unconditionally and to never leave their sides (as minors). My mother tried to kill me several times as an infant and then when that didn't work abandoned me. Luckily my father had the foresight to take me to family where I was raised by others in the family. I never blamed my dad because he saved my life. He tried to get her help and when that didn't happen and she continued to make his life hell, being young and dumb he turned to self medication to numb the pain and well.... never got over that. My dad passed two weeks ago today. I will forever love and miss him. Part of my grieving process holds a lot of anger because although he made poor choices he never endangered me, he saved me. Why is he gone and she remains to live off other people and be a miserable human being? Don't take that wrong, I'm grown now and have forgiven her for everything. She's obviously mentally ill in some shape or form. Ok now I'm rambling, my apologies. Anyway, my kids are 20, 17 and 15 and I am grateful for every minute, every day. And I guess I am thankful to Her for that.
Do not smother them. Teach them to fly without you. Otherwise, when they have the chance to fly they might be giddy with freedom.
Didn't have kids of my own because it would wreck my freedom. Now, later in life, I see it didn't have to.
Don't brood your kids. Give them lot of love, but don't brood. Encourage them to fly by their own wings. The sooner they get independent, the bigger the return on investment will be. There's nothing more toxic than a brooding mother, or father
Never to insult my daughter's body or make fun of her weight. I'm fairly fit now and haven't touched soda or fast food in a decade, and maintain a mostly plant-based diet, but still feel like I'm disgusting and like I'm not "dieting enough". Like I should do more to lose more weight. Like I'm never doing enough. I've had and gotten over an eating disorder. I'm always very carefully finding ways to influence healthy habits without seeming coercive or judgy or overbearing. Trying to influence good health over body image, which every most important/close family member (mom, sisters, grandma) in my family was so focused on, and quick to call me the "fat sister". .. obviously it's caused long-term damage. Also to maintain a good relationship with her dad, even though we're long separated (all though of course there are circumstances where it's better for one parent to have nothing to do with the kids and/or other parent), and don't talk trash about her dad, because my mom always did, even though my dad was always kinder to me than my mom; and when I thought about how I'm half my dad it always made me feel really awful and hurt. There's a difference between justifiable warnings and truths about a parent and their behavior if they're a toxic/harmful/abusive/dangerous person, and just being mean and toxic yourself.
Give them lots and lots of respect. Don't hold being older, smarter, bigger, or being their parent over them. And don't think of yourself as better.
1. My mom wouldn't let me leave the table until my plate was clean, and then she would berate me for being overweight. I taught my kids to listen to their tummies, and when they were full, they were done with their meal.
2. My parents would beat me, thinking that was the proper way to teach a child to behave. It taught me that my parents couldn't be trusted and that I should hide my mistakes. I didn't hit my kids, and we were actually able to work through disciplinary issues. Their teachers, other parents, etc. always complimented my well-behaved kids.
3. Lastly, my parents were extremely judgmental and made it clear that their love was conditional. I taught my kids that I love them always, but you can love someone and be angry at them at the same time because of their actions. I also taught them to apologize and make amends and give people some space to cool down. They're much healthier and secure than I was as a kid.
Don’t tell your child they are lucky they’re only being beaten with a belt/ curtain rod/ iron cord because their mother used the buckle end.
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