Everyone makes mistakes, even parents! Every parent tries to raise their child to be an amazing adult, but this job is a lot trickier than it looks. Parents sometimes find that their children formed bad habits as kids which became serious problems as adults. Or, sometimes the parents forgot to teach their children important life lessons until it was too late.
Parents on Reddit were asked what mistakes they’d made in raising their children, which have now manifested in their children as adults. Check out the source at the end of the article to read more!
I’m a parent but my kid isn’t 1 yet so I’ll tell you something my dad told me before he passed away. He told me that he was always harder on me than my siblings because I was the most like him and that scared him. My dad, before he met my mom, was a heavy drinker and liked to do drugs. He said that he was always scared that I would do the same thing unless he was super strict with me. What ended up happening was he made me feel like I couldn’t tell him anything so I ended up taking all my frustrations from feeling singled out and going out and binge drinking and doing drugs. Apparently his dad did the exact same thing to him. I’m hoping to break this cycle with my son.
This is actually a mistake that my parents made that I refuse to pass on to my kids: they never apologized to me. Not even once, and sometimes it was obvious that they were dead wrong. When I screw something up for my kids, I make sure I sit them down and say, “I’m sorry- I screwed that up.”
Do you know what I get for it? Respect. My kids always tell me that they forgive me, and that it is ok. I try my best not to mess things up for them, but when I do, I feel that they deserve a heartfelt apology.
I didn’t let her fail enough. She’s a very anxious adult. She was a super anxious child, and I felt terrible anytime something went really wrong for her, so I tried to teach her strategies to avoid having things go wrong. Now as an adult, there are times when no amount of “strategy/back up plan/double checking” etc will prevent something from going wrong, and she just goes to pieces very much the way she did when she was three. Not exactly the same way, because she’s slowly and painfully learning that failure is not the end of the world, and that you can pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start over. But I have a feeling that lesson would be easier and less painful to learn at three than in your twenties.
My daughter is almost 8 and she is way behind on reading in school, she’s in the slow reader group, and every time there is homework where she has to read anything with any degree of difficulty she completely shuts down and is almost impossible to deal with. Take the time and read a book or two to your kids as much as possible!
My wife’s little brother cannot be away from a phone or iPad for more than 5 minutes without going into withdrawal. I’m not talking about whining, I mean full on shaking and not knowing what to do. His boredom goes from captivated to anxiety unless he’s killing brain cells watching the dullest let’s play on the internet.
His mom would put Netflix on for him while they went on trips. The grocery store is a solid 20 minutes from their house, everything is 20 minutes from their house, so at home or in the car he had a screen in his face from the time he was able to hold a tablet. He never charges his own tablet so he’ll just go up to anyone in the house, grab their phone and start watching stuff, without asking. It’s become a real problem because now they can’t get him to do anything else.
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I built my kids PC’s, upgraded them, cleaned the dust, set up their Xbox’s & PlayStation, Fixed the bikes and did everything that I could do for them.
I should have showed them how to do it instead, taught them, not left them floundering at college when their stuff inevitably breaks down and they cannot fix it, not there fault. It’s on me.
I am not a parent, but I watch my brother raise his three sons and I think the biggest mistake he makes is forcing all three to do the exact same thing. If one plays baseball, they all play baseball. If one quits karate, they all quit karate.
It drives me insane because he has one son, my favorite, who is sensitive and intelligent, but whose interests are always eclipsed by those of his brothers. He wants to learn French and take dance classes, but his brothers want to play football and pressure him until he says he does too. I can see that he is miserable and I try to get my brother to let him explore different activities, but he ignores me.
The funny thing is that this is exactly how my dad raised us boys. I see a lot of myself in my nephew and it frustrates me to know that he is going through the exact same thing I went through.
My friend’s kid is 4. She was their first child and from day one was “Princess Name”. The mother is real girly girly but is also very grounded so combine that with a baby girl and the grounded part of her went out the window.
Everything was pink, pretty, and princess.
Now that she is 4, and has a baby brother, already her parents are seeing the error of their ways. She is demanding, a ham, a diva and gets very mad if you don’t pay her 100% attention.
I wonder what this will be like when she is in her teens.
My kid isn’t an adult yet, but he is a teenager.
When he was young, we lived with my mom and then later, with my grandma. I was working full time and taking online classes from our local college.
I tried to wait until he was asleep to do my school work, but sometimes I had too much and had to start after dinner. He would be absolutely fine – just playing near me while I studied or did homework – and I would always answer him or give him a cuddle when he needed it. However, my mom and grandma couldn’t handle this apparent lack of attention and would take him in the other room and dote on him.
That sounds nice – and I think they had good intentions – but the result was that it took me years after finally moving out on my own to teach him to play on his own again without constant attention.
My parents were the hands-off type. They believe that we should explore our worlds by ourselves. We had no regulations, we did whatever we want. It was nice growing up, in fact, the kids in our neighborhood were jealous. Their parents, however, hated it. They thought we were corrupting their kids, and they were probably right.
As an Adult, I have absolutely no discipline when it comes to doing work during my free time. I would miss every deadline and forget about any responsibility. It’s frustrating. There were times when I told myself, it’s time to change, but I would fall back in my indolence way in about a week or two.
I have no concept of cleanliness. I have a had time keeping my apartment clean. I would try but it would revert back to its former condition in a day or two.
The lack of my parents’ affection drove me to be needy. I am still struggling with relationships. As of now, all of my relationships had ended horribly. I scared away some very good women.
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My son was always slow to complete tasks…eating dinner, chores, ECT. So I would put on a timer. Now he goes crazy whenever there is a timer and totally shuts down. Like if he plays a game and a timer comes on he just stops playing. Totally gave him an anxiety problem. Lucky for me he is still young so I am trying to fix it. Still feel junky about it though.
My biggest mistake was not taking better care of myself. I have been a stay at home mom for 20 years, and I dedicated my life to my kids. I always put them first, and as a result, they see me as a second class citizen 🙁 Yes I spoiled them (another regret) and I should have demanded more respect. I also wish I had given them more opportunities to learn about gratitude. They are still young (teens/one who just turned 20). I know they love me, but they are spoiled and selfish.
“Don’t be a quitter,” is what we said to our first child. He joined soccer, got bored, but we made him finish the season. he joined basketball, didn’t like it, but we fought with him every week to go because we are good parents and didn’t want to raise a quitter. He joined band . . . etc. After a few years he refused to join anything because we’d make him go. So he just didn’t do any extra activity. We figured it out for our other two kids. They couldn’t just quit, but had to think it through and try one more game or practice. Turns out they quit very few things, but never regretted it. Today our kids are adults and our oldest refuses to listen to our suggestions (often to his detriment) while the others will listen but do what they wanted to do but at least take our advice under consideration.
Not encouraging him (enough) to put himself out there and make friends.
Lousy work ethic. They are all ADD/ADHD & various other special needs. So when they were growing up they had chores.. but there didn’t seem to be any pressure to do them on time. You did them when Mom absolutely lost her shit.. and not until. So I felt like a nag.. and now they are all adults and they still don’t do their ‘chores’. They don’t clean anything. Their rooms are a mess. They don’t help with dinner. They don’t do anything around the house… except leave a trail for me to clean up wherever they go. If I go completely bonkers and yell at them.. then they will help. Once. Then they forget again. I am so tired of being the resident housekeeper. But the only option seems to be being a complete nag. Which frankly I’m bloody tired of after 20 years.
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As a 21 year old child, I can say I lack motivation. For anything, really. As a child, if I didn’t want to do something, I didn’t. Chores? Nah. Grocery shopping with the parents? Stay at home. That guitar you bought me and I took lessons for a year? Screw it, I quit. My parents always let me choose what I wanted, let me quit whenever I felt like it. I was disciplined when I stepped out of line, but whatever I didn’t want to do, I didn’t have to. Now, a senior in college, most of my days are spent playing video games. I give up on any hobby start, I procrastinate homework, and I have no motivation to break bad habits.
Without a doubt. I did not let them fail enough. There are so many lessons to learn from falling and having to pick yourself up. From having to suffer the consequences and celebrate the victories of your decisions.
I am watching my son struggle as a man. While watching him do exactly the same thing with his daughter. He never ever lets her fail. Because he never wants to see her hurt. I totally get it.
I should have let them fail!!
My older boy is twelve and I caught him yelling at his younger sibling using the exact same tone and mannerisms I use when I’m angry. He needs to learn how to let go of anger, and I don’t know how to teach him that because I don’t know myself.
I made sure they were well provided for and I may have over-provided for the sake of them not having to be without. Now, we have an entitled young adult that takes no responsibility for her actions and can’t/won’t move out b/c “It’s too hard out there.”
I raised a niece and a nephew, and by far the biggest mistake I made was spending too much time reaching for the stern solution (swat on the butt) when the firm solution (“kid, come here”) would’ve served them better over a lifetime.
The net effect for them as adults is an inability to take anyone but the most serious and threatening authority figure seriously.
My advice to current or soon-to-be parents would be to appreciate that if it takes three “come here” moments to avoid using physical punishment, it’s likely going to be worth it for the kid in the long run. There’s value in making them do things — the most important skill you have as an adult is the ability to suck it up — but how you make them do things matters a lot.
On balance, they both grew up to be genuinely good human beings. Every now and then, though, they’ll be telling me about something from work, and I’ll cringe a bit because I know what the source of the problem is. The boy, especially, had a stretch in his late teens where he really gave too much credibility to adults with an authoritarian streak and not enough to those who wielded soft power. It took him a few years to figure out that the soft power person who could cut off your paycheck was just as dangerous.
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This is an easy one. I tried too hard to shield my children from heartache and rough times because I grew up in a neglecting and abusive home.
Bad things happen, life can be unfair, heartbreak can’t be avoided and sometimes we fail. It hurts, damn it, I know but do not shield your children too much. They need to work on healthy coping skills. They need to learn how to handle heartache and failure and people being total shits and they need to know how to cope when they are the ones being total shits to someone.
Pain, tears, railing against fate – it all needs to happen.
My sons, as adults, were easily rocked by bad times and had to learn how to cope better because I’d sheltered them too much from pain that life to offer. Yeah, kiddo, I know falling on your face hurts. It’s supposed to hurt but what can you do to prevent yourself from falling down that hole in the sidewalk again? Take another route.
I’m not a parent but I am a teacher. The best thing you can do for your kids is read to them. Start before they can fully talk. When they can talk read chapter books they like to listen to, not books they might soon learn to read themselves. There is no bigger predictor of academic success than vocabulary and no better way to build vocabulary than by reading to your kids and talking about the book.
Not a parent but an Aunt. I can see this happening to my nephew.
His dad is one of those “MEN SHOULD BE MEN AND MEN ARE TOUGH AND STRONG AND DO SPORTS AND ROUGHHOUSE” whereas my nephew, since he was teeny tiny, has always been a much more sensitive, arts-and-science kind of kid.
He’s 8 now, and recently told my parents that he wouldn’t hug them because “real men don’t hug each other.” He was forced into sports he clearly has no interest in and his dad doesn’t even acknowledge his successes in school, because they’re not sports related.
I wish his dad would see the mistakes he’s making.
Never had much money when mine were growing up and what money I did have I was irresponsible with. But I didn’t want my sons to worry so they never knew when I was poor and I bought them about what they wanted. I wish now I had been more open and said “I can’t afford it” because now my 19-year-old has the same bad habits that I do. No idea what stuff costs, overdraft fees because he doesn’t pay attention, impulse buying. I told him this week that somehow we were going to learn budgeting together this year. Hoping Dave Ramsey has a starter course or a book.
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I made him extremely nervous about getting yelled at when speaking to us, so now he has a major fear of confrontation.
We were never praised for trying hard, for working hard, for preparing; we were praised for being smart. They’d always be very proud of me, and whenever I aced a test or won a competition, they’d say “You’re so smart!” ‘See, I knew you are the best there!” And when I didn’t do so well on exams, they’d say, “Don’t worry, it’s just this time. You have our genes so you’re smart.”
Two decades of hearing this made me afraid of failure. My siblings and I try to hide the fact that we’re not “naturals” or “geniuses” by not challenging ourselves if the task looks slightly difficult. We give up in fear of failure, in fear of others seeing that failure. Now, when I see someone getting that 100 or getting a first place in something, I praise them by saying “I could tell you really worked hard for this and it paid off” rather than saying “You’re a natural!”
I smoked, I went outside to do it, but they saw it and then mimicked it when of age.
Biggest regret of my life was ever smoking, especially with them knowing.
Everyone is now smoke and vape-free which is good, but it tends to come back and as such, may haunt them for life as it has me.
The biggest mistake we made was not having them do chores when they were younger. It is difficult to get them to do anything around the house as teens.