People Share 78 Harmful Things Parents Should Stop Teaching Their Kids

As kids, we see our parents as all-knowing people. However, as the years pass, we realize that our moms and dads are just regular humans after all, and that they too don’t have all the answers. So we start looking elsewhere.

There’s an interesting study published in the British Journal of Political Science, based on data from the U.S. and U.K., which found that parents who are insistent that their children adopt their political views inadvertently influence their children to abandon the belief once they become adults.

This can be explained by the fact that children who come from homes where politics is a frequent topic of discussion are more likely to talk about politics once they leave home, exposing them to new viewpoints—which they then adopt with surprising frequency.

Similar transformations happen in other areas as well. To get a better understanding of them, Reddit users u/nousername1982 and u/ZestyClose_Ad4682 recently started threads asking people to share the things their parents taught them that turned out to be totally wrong. Here are some of the responses, ranging from romantic relationships to personal finance, that we thought might be interesting and worthy of your time.

That sex, sexuality, drinking/drugs/partying, politics, money, spirituality are awkward things to discuss. I want my future kids to know facts and that if they are ever in trouble, I am a safe place for them. We don’t have to talk about it if they don’t want to, they’ll be taught how to be safe, but they should also know that these subjects are a part of life and should not cause shame.

[deleted] , pexels Report

People Share 78 Harmful Things Parents Should Stop Teaching Their KidsThat you need to hustle 100% of the time and be constantly busy with school/work, extra activities, side projects, cleaning etc. Spending time unwinding is a sign of laziness and boredeom and intelligent people are never bored. This really messed me up and I’m still learning the art of wasting time.

GlossyCinnamon , pexels Report

People Share 78 Harmful Things Parents Should Stop Teaching Their Kids“If a boy acts like a jerk, it means he likes you!”

No…just no…

First of all, he shouldn’t be let off the hook for acting like a jerk. (Whether he’s 5 or 105.) Secondly, it teaches girls that abuse is okay, or that they should expect to be treated like crap (and that it’s okay for them to be treated like crap.)

coffeeblossom , pexels Report

People Share 78 Harmful Things Parents Should Stop Teaching Their KidsThat parents never have to apologize to their kids.

I love my dad. He is a great dad and I know he loves me so much, but he has it in his head that even now, even when his youngest (me) is an adult, that he doesn’t need to apologize if he does something wrong. It’s baffling.

shineevee , unsplash Report

People Share 78 Harmful Things Parents Should Stop Teaching Their KidsThat as long as we “have always been given everything we need we are loved”. The emotional abuse has ruined me

CEmofficially , pexels Report

Math and science aren’t gonna serve a girl well.

I would had killed to have someone reared me into STEM when I was younger.

emotionallybougie Report

‘’Parents always know what’s best for their child’’

[deleted] Report

People Share 78 Harmful Things Parents Should Stop Teaching Their KidsMy mum made me believe that privacy was a privilege. Wasn’t until I started studying childcare and learning in depth about the rights of the child that I learned it is a right and that my mum is full of bullsh*t

[deleted] , pexels Report

People Share 78 Harmful Things Parents Should Stop Teaching Their KidsLack of empathy. My parents grew up in a really really horrible situation and they made it out and did well for themselves. So now anytime anyone struggles they refuse to feel bad for them because they have gone through worse and did fine. I think people deserve empathy regardless.

alejandrotheok252 , pexels Report

People Share 78 Harmful Things Parents Should Stop Teaching Their KidsThat their love has conditions, and if not followed they will drop you in your time of need. Right or wrong, I hope my children will never feel like they can’t talk to me or that I will judge them.

AnxiouslyHopefull , unsplash Report

People Share 78 Harmful Things Parents Should Stop Teaching Their KidsThat you have to “suffer for love” (I’m a chick). Thanks mom, you set me up for a lifetime of trying to change narcissistic losers.

bailey052211 , pexels Report

Saying, ‘Do as I say, not as I do.’ A leader shouldn’t ask his followers to do something he wouldn’t.

Kozzie Report

To try to fit in as much as possible and to please others, at the expense of who you really are on the inside.

ConsciousnessWizard Report

People Share 78 Harmful Things Parents Should Stop Teaching Their KidsThat I would get pregnant as soon as I had sex. Told me that as a teenager, so I was terrified I’d get pregnant every time I interacted with a penis. Now (a decade later), I’m married and have been actually trying and it turns it out it’s not as easy as they made it sound

emilyyy712 , pexels Report

Well I was mostly raised by my grandparents. We lived in an all white community and my grandparents believed every terrible thing they had ever been told about black people. I spent my youth being fed those lies but everyone I knew was white and I couldn’t imagine it being true. When I got to college I met my first non white people and was able to verify that the things they believed just weren’t true.

And luckily both of them realized that before they passed away.

Zetta216 Report

People Share 78 Harmful Things Parents Should Stop Teaching Their KidsThat i basically have to be a smaller version of them, believe exactly what they do and not think for myself and have my own opinion. If i have kids id let them be open minded and believe what they want

MrMartensite , pexels Report

To wait until marriage. You know they won’t anyway. The best you can do is teach them to be safe and pray they do ok.

10ismyfavoritedoctor Report

“Your job is to do whatever your boss tells you to do.”

This led to a bunch of stupid situations of both me getting walked all over by employers and me quitting jobs over things that could have been fixed with a conversation.

Smyley12345 Report

“Respect your elders” but in the sense that you should just keep quiet when you disagree with somebody older than you – turns out many people are awful regardless of their age. Don’t get me wrong, my default is to respect any new person I meet, but when a person has repeatedly shown me that they don’t are about my feelings or even basic logic, I won’t hold back from speaking my mind calmly, even if they see this as disrespectful.

theevilamoebaOG Report

“Bullies are cowards.”

No they aren’t. They’re evil scum who are naively capable of ruining your life for decades after. And they’re not afraid to do so.

sicknessandpurgatory Report

That God and Jesus commanded some 14 year old farm-boy Asshole to start the one true religion in Up-state New York…

friend_jp Report

My parents fought a lot. They’d both get very emotional about things and raise their voices in every argument. By example I will teach them that when you are angry, take a break from the argument until you’ve both calmed down.

Lark_Iron_Cloud Report

That girls shouldn’t want careers, and therapy and SSRIs are for “crazy people”

Yeah I’m in a much better place now ever since I got out of that closeminded bubble. My daughter is not going to be shamed by me for her choices.

jynfinnigan Report

That it’s cocky and conceited to show any kind of self confidence.

baileebee95 Report

“Don’t compare yourself with your friends” when they got something I didn’t have, while comparing me with my friends whenever they did better than me at something

LifeGainsss Report

That people will judge you for colored/ fun it hair, piercings and tattoos. It’s only partly true. They judge you for everything.

somber_opossum Report

When I was 11 years old, I was crying hysterically over my father’s treatment of me after being placed with him after my mother passed away.

I won’t go into what was happening.

I will, however, say that in my despair I made the comment that I wished I could be a wild animal instead of human, like a bear for example.

My father told me that I was dumb for saying that, as mother bears correct their cubs by picking them up and bashing them into rocks until they stop making the mistake they did.

I thought bears were essentially monsters for a very long time after.

cigarettecarnival Report

One of my friend’s grandfather told him that giraffes have long necks to reach over the zoo wall to eat children.

Sandpaper_Pants Report

Apologizing and showing emotions is a sign of weakness

Ahstia Report

That crying and expressing your emotions in general is rude, over sensitive and embarrassing.

It’s not. And I hate that I still feel like a piece of shit when I can’t hold back my tears. Expressing your emotions is natural and healthy. Crying is a mechanism to let go of emotional distress instead of overloading your brain.

OverlyShyEnby Report

Men and women couldn’t be friends

I was raised in a weird ass religion in which almost any amount of communication with the opposite sex was seen as dating. Regularly texting a girl? That may as well be dating. It’s a belief that I’ve had to unlearn after moving out so that I could have normal friendships with people.

Kicooi Report

That work should be something you love

It just has to be tolerable. If you make work your life, you will feel hit hard by the rough stages of work, which any job has. And you’ll feel bad for taking a sick day, or miss it when you should be enjoying time off

LunarLeopard67 Report

My dad told me he had to get an A every day at work. Turns out a C is good enough and you can cheat most of the time.

nousername1982 Report

That grades determine your future. Grades are important and all, but they shouldn’t come before life.

[deleted] Report

My dad on finances, “when you have money you spend it and when you run out you just stay home”

justsomegirl80 Report

Just get a degree and you’ll able to get a very well paying job with health benefits and a solid pension.

Mista_Madridista Report

We do not drink regular Coca-Cola because red soda cans would clash with our jewelry. Here is a dollar. Go get Mommy a Diet Coke and you may have a Diet Caffeine Free Coke. It is gold-colored and you were good today.

We do not put sugar in our tea because the corrosive effects of glucose could degrade the glaze on the china. The pink packets are saccharin and the blue are aspartame. Aspartame pairs best with pekoe black tea, for green tea, use saccharin. Trust Mommy, dear.

We try new foods to be polite, and we find something nice to say about them to the hostess. If you cannot think of anything good to say about the food, say “What a lovely party, Mrs. B,” or praise how everything looks. Yes, exactly. ‘Just like a picture’ is perfect. You’ve been reading again. Of course we can go eat food we know we like afterwards if there’s nothing we can eat much of, but try something to be polite.

Well, the doctors say girls can’t get autism, though, so I expect we’re just picky eaters. Ladies often are.

spiderqueendemon Report

Just a “dot” of soap is all you need for doing ALL the dishes. “Don’t be wasteful”… Ya ok.

pyromaniwizardac5 Report

That you can be ANYTHING. There are some things in life that you just will never be cut out for. My parents told me that I will be the next president if I work towards it. My family told me I would become an astronaut one day and have millions of dollars and a mansion.

Some people think that you can do anything, but you’re not.

[deleted] Report

They said: don’t be friends with the “bad kids”. For my parents my whole class were “bad” even they were quite normal. So I ended with no friends because my parents didn’t allow me to go outside with them.

Those “bad kids” are now normal, succesful and friends with each other, but not with me.

_Lurko_ Report

“Don’t trust anyone, ever” said my dad, who is retired with no friends and no social life after frequently burning bridges throughout his life. I was about 8. It took me almost 20 years to actually learn how to socialize and have trusting, healthy relationships with people.

eyebrowshampoo Report

Video Games will get you nowhere in life, boy were they wrong…

Texas_Leon Report

I asked my dad what the biggest number ever was, he either realized it was an impossible question and I was going to argue if he said “there is no biggest number”, or was messing with me. Anyway, imagine the laughter when in like 3rd grade we all had to go around and name a number and I said “big toe trillion”.

ScottyB280 Report

Being hypercritical. My parents were very critical of me about so many things. My grades, my performance in extra circular activities, even how I did chores. What was worse was that they would often compare me to others as well, and would only ever praise me when they were basically bragging to other people. An example that always stuck with me was when I had a part time job as a waiter in high school, and my dad would often scold me for wasting my time at a a useless job instead of focusing on school, and how I was just gonna end up being a bum just like my older brother. But then when he’s talking to his friends he brags about how his youngest son is so hard working, he even has a part time job in high school!

It’s this sort of hypercriticism is why I struggle a lot with self esteem and confidence. What’s worse is that I find myself even being hypercritical of other people’s behavior, like if they make a mistake or don’t do something how I would’ve done. I don’t snap like my dad would do, but I still find myself immediately getting annoyed. It’s something I’m working on, and hope to never do to my future kids.

[deleted] Report

That I will become stupid if I eat too many hazelnuts and that I will become dark skinned if I eat lamb spleen (yes they just wanted them for themselves and yes my parents were racist)

eatinghearts Report

I learned to draw anime and my dad is a portrait artist. He always said start woth the eyes, which is okay when you’re drawing portraits of people, but a strong foundation of building up simple shapes and getting more detailed with each pass is truly what I needed to know. Didn’t change the way I drew til I was roughly 24 years old, and when I did productivity skyrocketed. Side note: my stepmom told me I should try to not use an eraser at all… she’s not an artist.

that-sevvi Report

How to change an electrical outlet, 120 volts, LIVE.
Good stuff.

42_Dude Report

When I was in kindergarten, the teacher asked us to go home and ask our parents how many days are in a year. So I went home and asked my dad:

“240 days, son.”

Imagine my disappointment the next day when my teacher said that was wrong! Dad swears I never asked that or if I did I misunderstood his answer, but I heard what I heard.

smorkoid Report


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