As much as we may love our mothers and fathers, the majority of people swear there are certain parenting traits that they’ll be sure never to use on their own children. Whether it’s creating a negative body image or not talking enough, we learn from our parents what not to do as much as what to do. And now people are sharing the failed parenting techniques that had a negative impact on their own lives - and that they refuse to pass on as parents.
One of the most common themes in the Reddit forum was of a father shouting at his children instead of having calm discussions. “I will teach my children to argue rationally. In my house growing up, it was dad shouting until everyone else decided to pretend he was right so he would calm down,” one person explained. “I want my kids to be able to have a calm discussion with me. That's a life skill I had to learn a lot later in life.” And many people had had similar experiences as children.
“Same here. My dad complains that we don't call or talk to him enough now that we're adults and can take care of ourselves,” one person added. “Maybe you shouldn't have shouted us down anytime we said something you might not agree with. We aren't interested in talking to someone who can't have a discussion without flying into a rage.” But people are learning from their experiences as children and changing their parenting styles accordingly.
Mothers meeting their newborn babies
“It took me many years (I'm in my 30s now and still working on it) to learn to speak up for myself and even to show and express emotions like anger and irritation,” one woman said. “I was always taught that those feelings were not allowed to be felt or expressed by me, only by people in ‘authority.’ I will never do that to my children.” Another common outcome of unhealthy parenting is a troubled relationship with body image and food, and many people swear they’ll help bring their children up to avoid this. “Constantly commenting on their weight and appearance. If my kids look unhealthy, I will feed them properly and do activities outside with them,” one person said. “I never ever want my child to grow up and look at themselves with disgust the way that I do now.”
Many women, in particular, admitted they’d struggled in their adult lives because their mothers had constantly commented on their own - and others’ - weights and body shapes. And both men and women revealed they wished their parents had talked to them more openly about puberty. “I grew up one of five and none of us had any education out of what was taught at school. When I got to college, my mother wrote me a letter saying that I didn't need to give into peer pressure and have ,” one man shared.
But as a young adult, that letter was pointless and too late - he explained that he’d lost his virginity aged 16 and had been mastrurbating since the age of 13. “I would have loved my parents to be there if I had any questions,” he added. And many people swore they’d never tease their children about their crushes, boyfriends or girlfriends like their parents had: “It wasn't cute, it wasn't good humour,” one person explained. “It left me with crippling emotional problems (mainly apathy) that took a long time to exorcise.”