41 People Reveal The Biggest Mistakes Their Parents Made In Regards To Their Upbringing

Having a healthy and emotionally stable environment is crucial for a child's well-being, but, like pretty much everything else in our world – parents are not perfect. 

There's no one right way to become this flawless individual that'll spare their offspring of all the distress. Ideally, a parent will be there to support, encourage and guide their kid throughout the not-so-great periods of life while also allowing them to be independent. Yet, not every person is aware that the things they assume they do "out of love" are not loving at all.

"What was your parents' biggest mistake in raising you?" – an online user took it to one of Reddit's most informative communities to find out about people's parents and things they've done wrong in terms of their upbringing. The question has managed to receive over 4.3K upvotes alongside 2.9K worth of comments discussing some Redditors' troubled childhood. 

More info: Reddit

#1 Communicating Through Child When Separated

the way they used to communicate through me because they wouldn't speak to each other after they seperated. when I had to deliver a message from one parent that the other one didn't like, I was the one who was yelled at, and both of them asked me to side with them instead of the other. there was no way to win, because I always either made mummy sad or daddy sad. good times.

Image credits: thingstooverthink

#2 Taking Away Sports For Bad Grades

Taking away sports every time I got a C in school. I will NEVER take away my future kids passions. Does not matter if it is sports, art, music, or anything else. Don't know if the frustration of that will ever dissipate for me. That was my outlet that was severely needed.

Image credits: jomo1322

#3 Never Praising A Child For Their Results

I was one of those gifted kids that do very well in school without much effort. My parents were used to it so they never praised me for my results and expected me to always do good by default. This resulted in me thinking that very good was just average, and constantly striving for perfection in any aspect of my life. This led to countless problems that I needed therapy to solve.

Image credits: _FreakLikeYou_

#4 Teaching That It's Never Okay To Lie

1. Teaching it’s never OK to lie is an awful life lesson for keeping yourself out of trouble.
2. Being a “member of the clean plate club” teaches kids to keep eating when they’re full.
3. teaching that the man is head of household, when that doesn’t work in a lot of relationships.

Image credits: Donler

#5 Excessive Sheltering

Wayyyyy too sheltered. I will definitely shelter my kids to an extent and raise them right but my parents took it to the extreme. I was only allowed to play with religious children and wasn't allowed to watch movies besides basically Disney movies until I was in High School. This led to a pretty rebellious phase when I was around 15 that I think could have been avoided if my parents weren't so strict.

Image credits: CrispyCrunchyPoptart

#6 Lashing Out For Bad Grades

Violently screaming at me for bad grades or poor performance in sports.

I think it had the opposite effect where I became afraid of making any mistakes, which would lead to more mistakes. Feel like if your kid is underperforming in any way, there’s a way to talk to them without making them feel stupid for f*****g up. There are better ways to motivate them.

Image credits: theMAJdragon

#7 Never Admitting That They Did Something Wrong

Never admitting that they did something wrong. An example is that when I was in second grade my mom would literally yell and scold me because she thought that HAVE was spelled HAV, and that also confused me with the word HAD. Even though at school the teachers and everyone else spelled HAVE, when I got home she would scold me for spelling it correctly until I told her that that's how everyone else spelled it. She just looked at the paper and never said a word about it again.

So now I always think that whatever I'm doing is wrong or if something did go wrong and was clearly out of my control I still get nervous.

Image credits: NotBorris

#8 Giving No Privacy

Giving me no privacy. My parents snooped way too much. Searching my clothes draws for hidden things, checking my phone, eavesdropping on my conversations, talking about my private life to their friends as if it was hot gossip, spying me when i was out, asking their friends to report in if they ever saw me out and around, checking my mail, checking the computer history every time i used it, listening to my CD’s to check they were appropriate, arranging additional meetings with my teachers to ask about me, asking me personal questions all the time. Basically not giving me any space to just be me.

They also made a lot of jokes about me to other people, right in front of my face. I often felt like i was their pet more than an actual human.

I’m now deeply self-conscious and suspicious as a result. I always have this feeling that people are watching and judging me.

Edit: reading it back, that all sounds minor. But believe me when i say i didn’t have even once second of privacy and they went to extreme lengths to find out every single thing i was doing at all times even when i was out of the house. They would then share that information about me with their friends and colleagues, like i was just a piece of gossip or a tv storyline.

Image credits: whymyheadhurt

#9 Not Saying "I'm Proud Of You"

Keeping me /s

Honestly, it would have been nice to hear they were proud of me - just once, don’t want to overdo it.

Image credits: Few_Faithlessness796

#10 Leaving A Child To Their Own Devices

Leaving me to my own devices so long as my grades were good. Not teaching me much of anything outside of knowing right from wrong. Outside of being kept alive I pretty much raised myself.

Image credits: Wyzeman3283

#11 Being Exceptionally Toxic

Well my dad's f*****g great but my mother, constant screaming for everything, depriving me of any and all food a lot of the time, punishment for things someone else did, invasion of privacy, not giving a f**k about my mental health, not giving up custody to my dad, constantly degrading me

Image credits: DemonicAtomic

#12 Giving Their Child Body Dysmorphia

My mom always meant well but I have body dysmorphia for life. I’m sharing because if any parents are reading this you should be diligent about how you talk about your body in front of your kids. Don’t talk about needing to lose or gain weight unless it’s for health reasons. Don’t put yourself down about how you look in front of your kids. This creates doubt and body image issues from the jump and that sticks with you forever.

Image credits: Chereke

#13 Lack Of Boundaries

The total lack of boundaries based on the believe that they had raised us to be responsible and smart, even though clear evidence were present that we were not.

Image credits: ir_blues

#14 Not Getting Their Kid On ADHD Medication

Telling me I was gifted. No, mom I'm not a genius I'm just good at tests.

Also, not getting me on ADHD meds. It would have solved so many homework related problems.

Image credits: brumagem

#15 Never Taking Interest In Their Child's Interests

They didn’t take any interest in my interests. So now I’m 30 with parents I have virtually nothing in common with. It makes dinner chitchat very depressing for me.

Image credits: King_Kingly

#16 Not Teaching Anything About Financial Responsibility

Not teaching me anything about financial responsibility.

Image credits: wee_man

#17 Never Apologizing For Anything

Never apologizing for anything and then taking it a level up by denying certain things were even f**k ups.

Image credits: dzogchenism

#18 Blaming The Child For Their Problems

If I had a problem, first thing they said to me "its your fault".

Image credits: dell02

#19 Expecting Their Youngest To Be The Same As Their Siblings

Expecting me to have the same grades, activities, and social lives as my older siblings.

Image credits: BillyJoeFootballIII

#20 Not Being Supportive

Not being supportive, not dealing with the abuse I suffered from family and school. Pretty much anything that involves my mental health was neglected. Being taught that women were pure and men were c**p, which lead to abuse from women in my adult life cause it had to have been some wrong I've done. Being told is was ugly and I would be inadequate for a woman. I could really keep going for ages on this.

Image credits: Mr_AsmodeusOfFraggle

#21 The Lack Of Discipline

Not enough discipline

Image credits: RolfSonOfAShepard420

#22 Not Wanting Their Child To Grow Up

Mom's personality is very complicated and toxic, but what I really hated as a kid was that she didn't want me to grow up. She didn't teach me how to do laundry, pack my clothes, how to swim, anything. She was also overly protective and I still cope with bunch of irrational fears as an adult.

When I was 11 I was really ashamed that kids my age are much more self-sufficient. She was sabotaging me anytime I tried to do some 'adult' stuff like cooking, taking care of myself, nothing illegal - I was well behaved kid. At this time she started ruining our relationship with her behavior, I feel like she hates me for growing up and not being baby anymore

Image credits: kralicek16

#23 Giving Insane Social Anxiety

Due to them giving me insane social anxiety, I now have the social skills of the new kid in elementary school. I can't hold a conversation for more than 5 minutes without making people uncomfortable. I have proceeded to lose all of my friends due to this and am now sad and lonely.

Image credits: wokenphoenix

#24 Causing And Ignoring Trauma

They let their fear of dealing with their own trauma turn into causing and ignoring mine.

Image credits: ViridianBella

#25 Never Teaching Their Kid To Be Independent

Never teaching me to be independent. My guardian was obsessed with keeping me way too close and I was always sheltered and now I'm alone and don't know how to function

Image credits: 22poppills

#26 Teaching Nothing About Nutrition

Taught me nothing about nutrition, let me eat junk, and made excuses for my obesity. Took me 10 years as an adult to finally take responsibility for myself and shed the weight.

Image credits: rawbface

#27 Giving Their Offspring An Eating Disorder

Besides not taking care of me until i was eight, i would say when they actually parented me, they messed up by putting me on a restrictive diet in 3rd grade.

While kids were having fun and talking at lunch, i was memorizing what calories each food had.

I was not unhealthy, i was a growing kid and of course i still had baby fat.

Putting me in said diet made me learn about 'bad' foods which led to developing an eating disorder that i'm only just now recovering from, i became healthy on my own, no thanks to them.

#28 Forcing Their Child To Be A Member Of Their Cult

Forcing me to be a member of their cult under the threat of homelessness.

Image credits: SlyCoopersButt

#29 Body Shaming

I want to preface this by saying I think I got as lucky as you can with parents. They were consistently supportive, allowed me a lot of independence and trust, and respected boundaries. They were the kind I could call in high school for a ride home if a party got weird. They are generous, not just with me but everyone around them. I am still very close with them and both my brothers.

However, the one area where I think they messed up was in regards to my body. They were very critical of my weight throughout my childhood and teen years. I was never a tiny kid but I wasn't very large, I was a pretty standard size kid for the most part. I played a lot of sports. But my mom was very much a 'do you really need that' type of person with snacks and grocery shopping. They were both very self-critical and into fad diets. When I was a teenager I quit my major sport and as a result put on some weight. At the time I thought I was so fat but looking back I was a size 12 for all of high school. But my parents leveled up the criticism, they got me a Wii Fit for my 16th birthday and mentioned my weight a lot. In another universe I definitely would have had a nasty eating disorder but on the contrast I became very resistant to health and wellness, I hate the gym and I'm weirdly resistant to trying to eat better.

Given all of that I haven't gotten too unhealthy. I'm a bigger girl, between a size 14-18 but nothing extreme. And I've worked really hard to unlearn a lot of that and remind myself that my weight is unrelated to my worth as a person. I'm actually eating healthier now and have learned to make piece with my appearance. My parents still pushed that for a long time, my dad asked every time I saw him if I had started going to the gym yet. My brother finally told them off a couple years back (they never criticized my brothers weight or health at all and both of them had weight fluctuations) and called them out for the harmful behavior. To their credit, they listened, they apologized, and they corrected the behavior.

There is no good that comes from being critical of your child's weight or appearance. A child's body is going to change and fluctuate and grow. Sometimes that involves gaining weight. If you are genuinely concerned for their health go see a doctor, do not try and get them on a diet yourself. Shaming them isn't helpful, as I mentioned it made me highly resistant to a lot of health and wellness. And looking back, I wasn't unhealthy. At least not any more so than an average teenager. I gained weight after quitting a sport where I practiced 12-15 hours a week which happened to be the same time my breasts and hips developed. It happens.

#30 Spoiling Their Kids

Spoiling us and always doing the chores. We ended up being lazy mfers. I'm currently procrastinating writing this.

Image credits: kazemaru04

#31 Not Motivating

They haven't tried to motivate me for anything.

Image credits: traveler9o

#32 Not Making Health A Top Priority

Not making health a priority.

Image credits: H1ghwayun1corn

#33 Never Getting Involved In Their Kids' Lives

Complete apathy.

My parents basically never got involved in me or my siblings' lives. Never attended things like school plays or parents evenings, never cared about how things were going or what was going on. So long as we didn't get into trouble and didn't cause them problems they didn't care and took no interest. "Anything for peace and quiet" as my mother frequently said.

As such, because they never tried to be a part of my life, they effectively aren't a part of my life anymore. We only speak out of obligation, and not very often at that.

Image credits: Nambot

#34 Ladling Out Too Much Guilt And Shame

Ladling out too much guilt and shame. They are not motivational forces for me to be “better”, in fact quite the opposite was true

Also telling me that I wasn’t good at math. Sure, it wasn’t my strongest subject. But don’t tell a kid that they will never ever succeed at a subject due to some inherent shortcomings

Playing favourites. My brother was allowed to grow marijuana as an “experiment “ by my very straight laced and anti drug parents. In fact they were enthusiastically supportive. Not so much for me. That’s just one example. Basically he could have pissed in my face and our folks would have blamed me. They always made me feel like I was inadequate because I wasn’t like him. My brother is a classic grandiose narcissist.

#35 Not Communicating Enough

Not communicating with me, on my graduation my mother actually said "even though we dont help her, she still has honor"

They also said im just "shy" then i started high school, it turns out i developed social anxiety

Image credits: WindyYeet

#36 Telling Their Kid They're Smart Enough To Do Whatever They Want

Telling me I’m smart enough to do whatever I want. It seems as though I’ve spent most of my 37 years annoyed that I’m not doing what I want.

#37 Caring About The Wrong Things

They cared but not about the right things. They took the easy way out with me. I was reprimanded but not taught
. 0 communication

Image credits: AmyVawda

#38 Taking Their Child To A Church That Was A Breath Away From A Cult

Taking me to a non-denominational, pentecostal like church that was a breath away from being a cult. I went from the time I was born until around 17. Years old. We went on average three times a week, twice on Sunday. It's hard to understand all that is going on when you are that young. It's hard to understand it now.

When the gifts of the spirit started progressing and coming into play more during the services , I could only put together pieces that I could comprehend. As a result, I literally thought the preacher's could read my mind. As a result I did what I could to stay out of sight and out of mind which was easy since I was a middle child anyway. But when I would get pulled up to the prayer line I would try extra hard to hide things in the back of my brain. That taught me early on how to compartmentalize and section off parts of myself and especially my emotions. I would be scared when I was up there. If I shed a tear everyone around me would celebrate the the spirit was acting on me. I was crying because I was scared and didn't want to be there.

#39 Never Standing Up For The Kids

My mom never stood up for herself or us, and let our father scream at us and take his anger out on us. She’s still with him and won’t apologize for letting him mistreat us.

Image credits: edgyusername123

#40 Not Embracing Enough Self-Love

My mom never showed herself a lot of self love when I (25F) was growing up. Whenever we took pictures she would say to delete it because she didn’t look good. She constantly talked about being too over weight (when she wasn’t even that big) or her crows feet were too prominent when smiling. I have terrible body image and find it hard to love the imperfections about myself.

My mom is a beautiful women with the kindest soul and not hearing her realize that kinda messed with me. Family friends and people in our community constantly called me her mini me growing up because of how much I looked like her.

It’s not as bad now but in high school I’d take pictures with my friends and think of all the things my mom didn’t find beautiful about her and I would find those same qualities in me, so I didn’t think she’d find me beautiful. She would also, still does to this day actually, make small comments of my weight.

Edit: added a lil more backstory

#41 Letting Their Child Fight Their Own Battles

Letting me fight my own battles...