13 People Share the Unconventional Ways That Their Parents Taught Them Life Lessons

Parenting is kind of a make-it-up-as-you-go type job. Shhh. Don’t tell the kids.

Proof of that is that probably every single one of us can think of something unusual that our parents did, and it actually turned out to be good parenting. Like, something that our parents did that definitely would not be in a parenting book.

Reddit user IridescentBrushtroke wanted to hear some of these unusual parenting tactics that actually worked and asked the following question:

“What is an unconventional way your parents taught you a life lesson as a kid, which makes you think to yourself ‘woah that was good parenting’ now that you´re older?”

Scroll down to read 13 of our favorite responses. We’re definitely going to try out a couple of these unusual tactics on our own kids.

  1. Don’t You Remember?

    Reddit user broccophobia shared:

    “Whenever I didn’t want to try new food for dinner, my parents said: ‘don’t you remember you’ve eaten that before? It used to be your favourite!’ And then I’d enthusiastically eat it.”

  2. Call Us

    From thewrongrecroom:

    “Told me from young adolescence that no matter the situation, if I was drunk or high or whatever, if I was ever in trouble I could call my dad and he would come pick me up no questions asked. It seemed unconventional compared to my friends with strict parents who went buck wild when they weren’t under their supervision, but it taught me to stay safe and smart, and I ended up being a pretty good and stable kid who knew I could go to my parents if I needed them.”

  3. Kicking Off Shoes

    Shared by theoptionexplicit:”When I was 3 I always kicked my shoes off in the car seat. Mom would have to put them on again at every destination. One time we came home and there was snow in the ground. I had kicked my shoes off again and my mom just about had it. My dad came to the car and said ‘Ok theoptionexplicit, get out and go inside.’ ‘But Daddy it’s cold…’ ‘I know.’ Never kicked my shoes off again.”

  4. Gambling

    HeadassMcDeadasss shares:”When I was really little (probably like 6-7) my dad gave me 5$ while we were at seaworld. I wanted to win one of those huge stuffed animals, so I went to spend my 5$ at what was basically a gambling booth. Obviously I lost, and I had no money left. He said ‘son, that is why you dont gamble’ and then he took me to the gift shop to look at what they were selling. They had a smaller stuffed animal for 5$. ‘look what you could have gotten’ Since then I never have been nor will I ever be a gambler.”

  5. Educational Punishments

    VyrPlan’s parents had a unique idea:”My parents divorced when I was a baby and pretty much ignored me my whole life. But my mother would punish me by making me read this huge history book (Roman Empire through WW2) and my dad would make me clean and polish his tools. By the time I was a teenager I was pretty well read and handy around the house.”

  6. Never Means Never

    From natsugrayerza:My husband threw a tantrum when he was little because his mom wouldn’t buy him something he wanted, and his mom got down next to him and said ‘now I will never buy you that for the rest of your life.’ He never threw a tantrum again. I laugh every time I think of that story. It’s just so hardcore. But it worked!”

  7. Looking for Answers

    Fuzzy-Nothing shared:

    “When I asked a question she didn’t know the answer to, my mother would go out of the way to find an answer or find someone who knew. This humanized her and allowed me to understand that you don’t have to be an expert on everything but you should always know where to look for answers.”

  8. Shoplifting Is Not Okay

    Cephalopodium learned a valuable lesson:”I stole a pack of candy when I was about 5. My mom busted me in the parking lot, marched me back inside, got the manager and walked me to the person who had checked out our groceries. She made me apologize for stealing and promise to never do it again while I was full on hysterically crying. It was mortifying. When other teenage girls were shoplifting later- I remembered that moment and was like NOPE.”

  9. Patience

    Shared by Irisproperty:

    “When I was young, i was playing with a slinky and it had gotten horribly tangled up. I was sitting on the stairs frustrated and pulling at it randomly trying to untangle all the rings and eventually called my dad for help. He let me keep trying my way for a few minutes. He then sat on the steps with me and untangled the slinky slowly and methodically while telling me about patience and slowly working through something difficult. Now as an adult anytime I get frustrated with something (especially untangling headphones), I think back to that day sitting on the stairs with my dad and smile as I slowly untangle whatever mess I’m in.”

  10. Sometimes You Need to Experience It Yourself

    RubberChickenFingers learned the hard way:

    “After throwing sand in my sister’s eyes so many times, which resulted in my mom hanging out with us in the sandbox, my mom took a kiddie shovel of sand and flung it in my face. Most people would say, ‘That’s so mean!’ but I don’t blame her, I was a little asswipe that wouldn’t stop doing asswipe things until I learned the hard way.”

  11. Where Do Babies Come From?

    BrainWithAMouth learned the truth at a young age:

    “Telling me the basics of how babies are made (I.e. man and women have sex and a baby comes out of the vagina) when I was 5 or 6. Mom didn’t say anything graphic, just ‘man and woman have sex, baby is made, baby comes out of vagina’ (she said it way better than how I just phrased it). She straight up told me she never understood why parents used the stork analogy. She knew that we would learn the truth eventually, so why delay the inevitable? I didn’t even care about what sex actually was. I was just glad I knew how it worked (mostly)”

  12. Gratitude

    LawsOfWonderland learned a great lesson:

    “I feel like it will give context to give a little backstory on myself. I grew up very fortunate in a middle class family. I never wanted for anything. But, when my parents gave me something and I did not say thank you, they took it away. When I was younger, I was always so upset by this. But to this day, I am not reserved when it comes to saying thank you. I find it very important to express gratitude to others, and I am so thankful that my parents taught me that.”

  13. Smoking

    From ajfirnfh:

    “My mother let me take a drag of her cigarette when I was about four. I would constantly pester her to let me smoke because I wanted to be just like her. I vomited. But I’m nearly 23 and have never touched tobacco since!”