Being a parent is difficult, and there is no instruction manual. It’s almost impossible to not do something that you’ll later realize you should have done differently. Some of the things we say and do can be corrected, but it helps to realize that our children need us to think through what we’re really teaching them.

Children sometimes learn harmful things while they’re growing up. Sometimes it’s from their parents. Sometimes it’s from their teachers at school. Sometimes it’s from random strangers or even their friends. Although parents will never know everything their children are learning from all of these places, they can at least be aware of some situations their children might encounter and try to think how they would respond if this happened to their own children.

One Reddit user asked, “What harmful things are being taught to children?” The Reddit community shared some very real and unfortunate examples from their own lives. 

  1. Bullies

    Reddit user EGoldenRule wrote:

    “Ignore bullies and they’ll leave you alone.”When you do that, one of two things are likely to happen. Either they’ll mess with you more, or they’ll move to someone else and bully them. If you stand up to bullies, they back down. The earlier in life you put these people in their place, the less likely they’ll develop their bad behavior as a lifelong practice.

  2. The Concept of a Dream Job

    TheRealGreenTreeFrog explained:

    Going too far on the “find your dream job and it’ll never feel like work” stuff.Really messed me up when I wasn’t “excited” about uni assignments and thought I had to change degrees

  3. Not Questioning Adults

    AtLeast5 added:

    Teaching kids not to question things just because someone is older, or allegedly wiser, is one of the most frustrating things that I see on a daily basis. How is a child supposed to ever develop any individual and nuanced ideas if they can’t think for themselves.

  4. Being Wrong

    oti890 wrote:

    Being wrong is bad. That’s why many people don’t change their mind when they were given trustable sources, they don’t want to be wrong.

  5. “He Likes You”

    mbar2004 added:

    “If he’s mean to you he likes you” It just teaches little girls (mostly girls) to expect violence from people who love them

  6. Social Media

    kay37892 shared:

    Kids are starting social media so early these days, and I think that’s very dangerous because it puts a lot of pressure on the kid to attribute their worth to their social media success. I also think parents are way too open with their social media when it comes to their kids, and it’s totally a violation of the child’s privacy, of which some parents will never admit.

  7. “It’s Not Okay to Fail”

    0-Username-0 explained:

    Teaching them that it’s not okay to fail. Some people need a little more time than others. It’s okay to not get something now. Kids should be given more time to process things. Imagine having a poor grade because of a low score from the beginning of the year. How can we show children that it’s not pass or fail, it’s try and improve?

  8. Emotions

    eldritch_candy wrote:

    To repress their emotions. It will only cause them to bottle them up and accumulate them to the point of exploding in an instant.

  9. Don’t Complain

    II_Neo_II shared:

    That complaining is the same as not being grateful. Can’t count the number of times growing up when adults basically told me to shut up whenever I was complaining about something and that I should be grateful that I was born where I was.

  10. Playing with Everyone

    lethologica5 explained:

    You do not have to play with everyone. There is a total lack of social accountability. If Laura is always cheating at tag it’s okay to not let her play. If Little Billy throws sand in the sand box Little Timmy does not have to play with him. Laura and Billy need to learn how to play appropriately.

  11. Hugging and Kissing Relatives

    NemoKhongMotAi added:

    Making children hug or kiss someone (usually a relative) that they are uncomfortable with is not good. The child may just be grumpy and or not wanting to show affection or their warning bell sensors could be going off and they do not know how to communicate that. Plus forcing them to hug/kiss sends mixed messages about personal/physical boundaries and affection itself

  12. Insulting Their Parents

    some_personn wrote:

    In a nasty divorce, the parents may only talk about each other’s bad qualities and the kid(s) may have an issue/issues with their parents.

  13. Don’t Be a Tattle Tale

    Horror-mrs explained:

    No “telling tails” or “snitching” like how many kids are abused or bullied and won’t come forward because of this