People Are Sharing The Things That Were Normal For Them Growing Up That They Would NEVER Put Their Kids Through, And Wow, Times Have Changed

People Are Sharing The Things That Were Normal For Them Growing Up That They Would NEVER Put Their Kids Through, And Wow, Times Have Changed

A while back, we wrote about the mistakes people feel their parents made with them that they refuse to make with their own children, and members of the BuzzFeed Community piped in with their own submissions. Here are 39 more toxic parenting habits people will not pass on to their kids.

1."Whenever I said I would never do some of the things my parents did, my mother would condescendingly say, 'Just wait till you have kids. You'll see.' Sorry, Ma. Three kids later, the oldest now 16, and I still haven't...1) Told my kids, 'I brought you into this world; I can take you out.' 2) Spit on my kid's face to clean it, 3) Left my young children home alone just so that I could go party. 4) Made fun of my daughter's weight...I could keep going."


Woman in bathrobe on phone with concerned expression, possible parenting issue depicted

2."I was told, 'You're smart, figure it out,' to every problem I had, from not having field trip money to being sexually assaulted by a neighbor. So dismissive and not good parenting."


3."Children should never have to initiate communication or try to have an active relationship with their parents; that is solely the parents' responsibility. I asked my dad once why he was so absent my entire life, especially after the divorce, and he said, 'Well, you don’t call me either.' I was 10 when they split."


"As an adult, this is so hard to explain to my parents. They tell me I never call...I was didn't even call me on my BIRTHDAY. Yet, I'm supposed to think to call you regularly? For what? To feel like shit?"


4."I love my mom dearly — she's been my only consistent parent my whole life — but she raised us using guilt as a driving force. I don't know if it's her Catholic upbringing or what, but it sucked. I will try very hard not to do that with my kids."


Man and woman having a serious conversation

5."The few things I hate that EVERY boomer seems to do to my five-year-old daughter are: 1) Say, 'You're too pretty to be acting like that.' I get so angry about this, and every time I say something, they act like I'm the one who is wrong."

2) "If you don't listen, then..." I've taught even my mom and in-laws that if they want to use this tactic, then they better be prepared for me to follow through. I will not threaten.

... 3) The guilt attack if my daughter doesn't want to hug them or speak to them on the phone. I'm sorry the 5-year-old would rather play than sit on the phone with you, but the conversation is boring."


6.Related to the one about "threatening": "The false threat one caused big problems later in life with my brother-in-law. His parents would constantly make false threats like, 'If you don't clean your room by lunchtime, we're going to cancel the vacation,' and of course, he didn't, and they didn't cancel the vacation. When he graduated and got a job, the boss would say, 'If you're late one more time, you're fired,' and he was completely confused when he was late again, and the boss actually fired him. It took him a good five or six years, several lost jobs, and several evictions before he finally got his act together."


7."Negging ... was my boomer parents' form of 'affection,' and it resulted in me not having anyone to go to when I had a problem because my parents would just mock and tease me until I was so ashamed that I retreated. They never had anything positive to say about me, just complaints. ... It was hard being a kid like that, but even as a young adult, when I dyed my hair, and my mom, brother, and sister-in-law made fun of it until I cried, they acted like I was not in my right mind. ... A 27-year-old should be able to dye her hair without an emotional firing squad unloading all the hilarious insults they could come up with until they peed themselves laughing. Since going no contact, I haven't had anyone mock me at all or show affection by insult. Freedom — I love it."


8.Similarly..."My mom still complains that I'm 'too sensitive.' For some reason, it's upsetting to me when she's emotionally abusive. 🙃 It's terrible, and it'll fuck you up for life. I'm still so used to it that my husband has to say, 'You know that's not okay, right?' because it has to be REALLY bad for me to actually respond. It's something I'm constantly working on in therapy and probably always will be. (It also helped me walk directly into an incredibly abusive relationship at a young age.)"


Two characters from Glee, one standing, the other seated, appear surprised by the word "sensitive" in a dialogue

9."My mom NEVER provided any real emotional support, and my dad barely even talked to me. I was given a diary in elementary school, and I wrote in it that I liked a certain boy, and my mom took the goddamn thing to read to everyone at the dinner table for laughs. I was framed for something in school I didn't do and came home crying, and of course, she laughed at me. The default reaction to my being upset was laughter; when I was happy, I was annoying her. My mother was on a constant diet but relished making me eat up every meal and tried to convince me that I was just 'naturally fat.' When I lost weight, she had a meltdown. Today, I'm 38, and on the few occasions I still agree to meet her, she tries to make me eat cake and tries to convince herself she looks about my age at 64 and that people probably think we're sisters. I didn't have kids because my grandmother was the same, and I was terrified of prolonging this miserable excuse for a family."


10."Not believing your children when they tell you a family member has hurt you. The whole 'sweep it under the rug' and 'blood is thicker than water' BS."


"Amen! My grandmother even made my mom apologize to the person she accused when she was five (her brother, who did it for ten goddamn years), so my mom never said anything about the two separate family friends who did it too. We think the same thing may have happened to my grandmother. Fortunately, my mom believed me. She went to his house, put him in the car, and drove his ass to the police station an hour after it happened. This shit has got to stop!"


11."Telling your child, 'That didn't happen, don't lie' when he comes to you straight away to confide that he was just abused by his babysitter's boyfriend while they were out. It gave me a lifelong fear of speaking out or trusting people that actually ruined relationships and friendships. Thanks, Mum and Dad!"


12."How about identifying things as 'boy things' or 'girl things'… No kid should be shamed or dismissed or dissuaded from expressing themselves however they want to. Even if it doesn’t conform to gender stereotypes."


"This. I was a tomboy, and my mom and grandma supported my love of Scooby Doo and dirt and worm colonies. My son (he’s 5) likes it when I paint his nails. He sees me do mine and loves it when I do his, too. The first time his dad and I got into a big fight over it. His dad came around, and it definitely stemmed from the rigid, traditional way he was raised. But I have never and will never gender things like that."


"I identify as nonbinary now, but as a kid in the '80s/'90s, I was only able to play with girl things like Barbies. No one ever thought to get me a chemistry set or anything, even though i thought science was very cool."


"Although, I would rather a book."

13."My parents thought it was appropriate to ban me from going to school dances my freshman year of high school. I wasn't allowed to go on a date until age 16. Guys thought I turned them down because I was stuck up, because there was no way I would admit the truth. I would actually trust my child and never, ever tank their social life."


"My parents are Gen X and banned me from going to any dances, games, or social activities my entire time in high school and college. I wasn’t allowed to have friends, couldn’t even be caught talking to anyone. I had a strict 3:30 p.m. curfew. It was hard and so socially isolating to the point where I struggled with social skills well into my adulthood."


14."Not keeping promises you keep with your children, especially those on the spectrum... I'm on it myself, and I do take people's words and promises very literally, and when I was going through both high school and college, my mom and my grandparents promised me trips to California and Europe, respectively. My part of the agreement was to finish school and show them diplomas. I did my part, even though I damn near burned out. What did they come back to me with? 'Oh, well how's the trip going to be paid for? Where's the money going to come from? You want the trip, you pay for it. We only said this to motivate you...' WHAT. THE. FUCK. And you ask me why I'm so unsure about you lot?! I DID MY PART!"


15."Forcing you to hug and kiss relatives. ... 'Go hug your tía!' Or 'Your cousin hasn't seen you since you were a baby! Go say hello!' which, of course, includes a big hug. The worst was when they would tell me to kiss a relative while they were in their coffin at their Rosary. I hated even to touch a dead person, let alone kiss them. I always refused and held out until they forced me to."


Four scenes from a TV show depicting a conversation between a young boy and a woman, likely his mother, about doing something he's hesitant to do

16."Forcing your kids to do things that they don't want to do. Physical touch is one definitely, but also activities and such. If they say they don't want to do something, they don't have to do it (unless, like, something important for them like going to bed at a decent time)."


"Ugh, this. I was not an athletic kid, at all, but my parents made me play every sport that their friends' kids were playing. They wouldn't let me skip any of it, and I hated it because I was awful and disliked because I was not an asset to the teams, also I was just never into sports and am still not. If they would have followed my lead, I would have probably excelled in my actual interests of music and art, but I didn't get into that until high school when it was finally available to me. They always said I had to do sports for physical exercise, but I could have gotten into aerobics or dance — they only picked sports because it was their social event with their friends. That part of my childhood was so miserable."


"My parents would force me to do sports, but I never knew the reason. My mom asked me once, 'Wanna play soccer this season?' I said no, and she got mad and said she'd talk to my dad about it. Idk if they even talked, but they signed me up anyways. They wouldn't let me skip practices, even if I felt sick. And then if I ever complained or said, 'Can I skip this one? I'm not really feeling like it today,' they'd be like, 'We spent all this money for you to do this!! How dare you?! Blah blah blah.' I didn't even want to do this! So frustrating."


17."My dad figured out I was good with painting when I was about 10, and he always demanded that, instead of wasting time hanging out and having a good time with friends, I painted. He wanted me to be a prodigy. I wasn’t. But he insisted that I paint all through my teens and early 20s. And every time I did paint something, he’d always start out his critique with 'it’s good, but this needs to be changed…and this…and this…and this.' It would always come down to him being disgusted with the end result and me being in tears because I couldn’t do what he wanted me to. I threw the brush in 15 years ago, and every time I do want to start painting again, I find a shit ton of excuses not to, because I’m afraid it’ll be shit. And I’ll be disappointed in myself."


18."Denying your kids from engaging in activities on 'religious' grounds. Growing up, my father was extremely religious and would constantly watch and read 'religious' news, and as a result, he came up with certain things that were banned for us (even though they weren't for other kids in my church). Like, I never got to celebrate Halloween (go trick or treating, dress up, or even be in school that day), I was not allowed to watch or read Harry Potter. I could not play Pokémon cards or watch the cartoons. Being forbidden from these really popular things really isolated me from my peers. And as a result, I had a hard time bonding with others and making friends. I think it's the reason why I became so shy, something that I still can't get past even as an adult."


"Same. I was raised Jehovah's Witness, and the list of things I wasn't allowed to do was LONG. No holidays or birthdays, no hanging out with my school friends outside of school, I couldn't read FICTION like the fucking Baby-Sitters Club. There was one time my mom was feeling particularly zealous, and she made me throw out my books (I am a reader, so it hurt). When I wasn't studying for school, I had to study bible shit. I was encouraged to literally tell kids at school about 'The Truth' to get them to convert. I had to tell my best friend that we couldn't see each other anymore ever because I had to go to another district for high school. It was heartbreaking."


"My parents won't even let me watch Twilight."

19."My mother complained about me eating snacks outside of mealtime all the time. She also didn't feed us very nutritious foods. And when I was half anorexic in high school and the only time I ate was after school, or very late in the evening for band practice reasons, she'd tell me I was gonna get fat. ... Parents need to stop projecting on to their kids."


"I love my mom so much, but I have been dieting since I was 6 years old. I distinctly remember being in first grade and weighing 60 lbs. and having to use our weight for a class assignment, and I panicked because I didn’t want anyone to know that I weighed so much because my mom was upset I weighed that. It also led to untreated eating disorders all throughout my teens. She did the best she could, but she clearly has undiagnosed eating disorders because to this day, she’s most proud of me for being thin."


20."Always being forced to clear my plate and/or eat more than I wanted to…or when I’d be hungry outside of normal meal time for a snack, I’d be asked if I was actually hungry or just bored. All of it conditioned me to not understand my body’s hunger cues. Either to not trust my body when it said it was full or create disordered and guilty eating habits. I never properly learned how to listen to my body’s hunger cues because it was either lying to me that I was hungry or lying to me that I was full."


21."Body issues. My mom would tell me to stop eating in front of others, saying I ate enough. When I was seven and quit gymnastics, she told me I was getting my belly back. In high school, she told me that I was prettier than my friends, but they were skinny, so the boys liked them. I started bingeing at 10. I have worked so hard not to say anything negative about myself in front of my daughter. I let her have snacks because she's healthy, and in the grand scheme of things, fruit snacks aren't a big deal! She is five and has amazing self-worth. She sometimes isn't very humble, but I never say anything because I know that soon others will start to chip away at it. Mean girls start really early."


22."We had a pig in our fridge that would oink every time we opened it (triggered by the fridge light). It was so we wouldn't eat except for the meals provided, but it sent some pretty clear signals. Also, sometimes we were fucking hungry and should have been able to eat."


A girl looking upset

23."A mistake that pretty much all parents do in my country — yelling at the top of their lungs EVERY TIME they do something bad. This not only can cause anxiety as an adult, but forcing the kid to act like an adult increases the chances of being immature as an adult."


24."My family never talked about anything uncomfortable. I never got the sex talk, just 'God doesn’t like it so don’t do it.' What is it? How does it work? What happens if I’m in xyz situation? I think the first time my parents heard something about me having a crush when I was little, I was told that I better not have a crush. Even if it was joking, it stuck. I’ve never been able to tell my parents who I had a crush on."

"I never got to talk to them when things went wrong, or things that went right for that matter. I couldn’t ask about intimacy or get any relationship advice. I wish I had that kind of relationship with my mom."


25."I remember being old enough to watch movies that had 'suggested sex' scenes, and my mom would fast forward and make us close our eyes during those parts (specifically Big and Dirty Dancing). We never talked about sex. it was the same: 'Just don't do it because God said so' or 'If you do it, you're going to burn in hell.' It's why I'm not very sexually open and find most things 'weird.'"


Two characters from Dirty Dancing practicing a dance move, man kneeling and woman leaning forward
Vestron Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

26."I grew up in a 'show no feelings and then explode and scream' household. I’m an emotional person and a crier, so as a kid, I was regularly told to stop crying or called oversensitive. It took me until I was in my 30s to really learn proper emotional regulation. Being told I’m too sensitive is still triggering to me and signals to me that the person really has no desire to hear or try to understand where I am coming from."

"My father has also never in my memory told me he is proud of me or loves me. I know he does, but still, 'I’m proud' or 'I love you' would be nice to hear."


27."One thing that was always said to me was that if I follow my dreams (I'm still playing music to this day — that will never stop), I'll end up homeless and/or broke. This was told to me by a lot of adults when I was growing up. What they didn't realize is that saying something like that to a kid when they're growing up will have a huge impact on their adult lives. Now, I keep putting off things I want to do because I have the images and memories of these people stuck in my mind. It traumatized me to the point that even when I had a record deal (which I lost later, long story), I felt like I was cheating people out of an opportunity, and again, those words I had been told growing up kept echoing in my mind. I will never do that to my two wonderful sons whom I love very much. Watch what you say to kids, man. For real."


28."I don't have kids, but if I did, I would never embarrass them by talking or teasing them about their bodies. I don't mean important, necessary conversations about health, bodily functions, consent, sexuality, etc. I mean grown-ass adults teasing kids and asking things like whether their boobs are growing or if they have body hair yet."

"Maybe my extended family was just weird, but they told each other EVERYTHING. I was a quiet, private child, and I would just want the floor to open up and swallow me when they made me the center of attention at a large family gathering just so they could ask me embarrassing questions. I'm 53, and my mom gets so mad at me because I still don't share health or body-related things with her. It all stems from that shame and embarrassment as a child. My body is MINE, and we're not going to talk about it unless and until I want to."


Screenshots from "Sixteen Candles"
Universal Pictures

29."Choosing your partner over your child is a big one for my childhood. My ex-stepdad used to emotionally and mentally abuse me day in, day out. I ate too much, I was worthless, I was stupid, I was pathetic, I was a waste of space, and everyone would have been happier if I'd fucked off to Australia with my dad. My bedroom wasn't *my* bedroom, it was my 'room to use.' I had literally no boundaries — he would just fling my door open, look round, usually laugh at what I was doing (because the idea that I could read was hilarious somehow), then disappear again."

"No one ever stood up for me so I didn't know how to stand up for myself until I was 29. With my own kids, I'm overly protective to a point where my partner reminds my kids (gently, I might add) to clean their room like I asked or do the dishes like I asked, and I'm jumping down his throat. It's a lot to undo."


"For me, it’s the fact that my parents (who had me at 18, and divorced when I was 12) consistently chose their love interests post-divorce over parenting me and my younger sister. It wasn’t a short-lived thing; it went on to the extent that when my mom remarried and the man didn’t like us, he gave me and my sister a choice: pay rent or leave. We were 16 and 14, respectively, and my mom went along with it. I’m now a parent of a 15-year-old, and I would literally take felony murder charges before I would let some man treat my kid like that.

PS: Our dad was an active alcoholic who was in and out of mental health facilities and homelessness, so he wasn’t any help or refuge. My sister ended up moving across the country with random second cousins, and I moved out on my own at 16."


30."My parents are wonderful, but like all parents, they made mistakes. One that really ground my gears was comparing me to their friends' kids. In *that* tone, they'd say, 'Well, Billy just made the dean's list and has been pre-accepted into so and so law school...' Like...okay? Good for him? Am I supposed to be sorry I'm not like Billy?"


31."My parents didn't discuss things like politics or current events with us, not ever. I grew up having no idea what their political leanings were, or what my dad's religious beliefs were (my mom is a Jehovah's Witness, and religion was NOT up for discussion AT ALL unless it was to say how false every other religion was)."

"My kids know where my husband and I stand politically, why we're pro-choice and why we feel that way, why voting matters, and so on. We talk about what our privileges are and what we can do to help those who don't have the same privileges. We have dinner table discussions about what's going on in the world. We took the kids to church when they were younger but didn't make them keep going once they were old enough to stay home alone, and we accept that our oldest is agnostic (but still likes to be involved with the youth group because he enjoys the people and the charitable work) and that our youngest is still figuring it out."


"I'm not blaming you. I'm just trying to say how I feel."

32."I would never belittle my child for their chosen profession. I was almost spat at when I said I wanted to be a teacher. I felt so crushed and hated I went to law school. That didn’t happen, and long story short, I ended up being a teacher anyway. It just took longer. I am good at what I do and have been doing it for 26 years."

"I see my family and loved ones doing this to the next generation now, and it makes me die a little inside. I do what I can to talk to and support them in being themselves. But my husband and I will NOT do this to our son."


33."I have children and was successful in changing a pattern. My mom could NEVER admit that she was wrong and would be furious if a mistake was pointed out. My husband and I will admit when we are wrong. We also got teased or shamed if we didn’t know how to do something. It took me well into my adult life to feel okay about asking someone to show me how to do something."


"My parents had a rule that if you had to ask for an apology, then you didn’t deserve one. Never had to take accountability."


34."Having a certain idea of who you want your kids to be and forcing it on them. My parents had this expectation that I would be perfect, I’d only focus on school and become a doctor. As a result, they would blow up every time I didn’t know something or made mistakes. They also put this pressure on me to always have straight As and to be a prestigious doctor. Since I was little, anytime I shared any ambitions for a different career path, they would shut me down and say that it wasn’t good enough because I didn’t make six figures and that I would be wasting my time on something that wasn’t being a doctor. Now they wonder why I never open up to them about things, but if they'd have been more supportive and didn’t force their idea of a perfect daughter on me, I’d feel comfortable sharing about my interests or my struggles."


"Not your puppet"

35."I will not minimize my kids' emotions. I grew up with parents who blew off any negative feelings I had. They told me to grow up, or deal with it, or called me ungrateful or selfish, anything to avoid the fact that I was upset or invalidate what I was feeling. I had vicious mood swings and would lash out because I didn't ever feel like I was being heard. Turns out I had an undiagnosed mental illness caused by a hormone imbalance, and if they took my moods seriously, I might have been diagnosed and medicated before my 30s."


36."I think for me, the biggest one is that my feelings didn't matter. I was to shut up and deal with whatever situation was going on in the home (and there was some shit going on, lemme tell you). I was never apologized to for anything, minor or major. My parents would admit no wrongdoing. Also, I was never taught (it was never modeled for me) appropriate emotional regulation skills. It took a lot of therapy to learn."


37."My mother was a single parent by choice, and yet, she acted like I was a burden, and if not for having to deal with me, she could be happy and do great things. It was especially annoying because I was a child actor so I paid most of the bills growing up. I’m the burden? Please, I’m the only reason we had a roof over our heads and food!"

"She’s passed now, but it still upsets me, and sadly, she died when I was 15 so we never spoke about it. The only good thing about it all was I was able to become emancipated at 15 and live on my own. I had pretty much raised myself so I was able to function."


38."I was adopted. My mother didn't like the attention I got, so she shifted her hypochondria to me, and I was at the doctor’s office constantly for (her) imaginary problems. Once she had my brother, I became a burden. She would say, 'I've always loved you like you were my own.' She would constantly tell me I wasn't pretty or smart. I grew up believing her. It wasn't until recently when I was looking at some old pictures with my grown kids and heard them say, "Wow, Mom, you were so hot!!" that I realized it was just another form of abuse. I am always telling my kids how proud I am of them because they make me proud! I don't criticize. If I think I need to say something about their choices, I always open up with a question about whether the choice makes them happy and why. We have a discussion, not a lecture or criticism. I'm only here to support, respect, and love them."


stepmom telling sam "You're not very pretty, and you're not very bright" in a cinderella story
Warner Bros. Pictures

39.And finally... "I'm not having kids, but if I did, I wouldn't make fun of everything they enjoyed. I was mocked over every single thing I loved. I hyper-fixated on my joys, which turns out was because I had undiagnosed ADHD all along (and I might be ghosting along the spectrum), but I was relentlessly made to feel bad and stupid about the things I loved. Music, movies, writing, didn't matter what."


"Ever get really excited about something and tell your parents, only to have them tell you, 'That's not that big of a deal, don't get so excited, and you better not get a big head about it.' Now, they don't hear anything about my life, good or bad."


What are some boomer and Gen X parenting trends you won't be using with your kids? Let us know in the comments!

Submissions have been edited for length/clarity.