Thursday 8 June 2017 10:04 BST
Bringing up children is scary. Most parents feel a lot of pressure because they know they’re shaping the type of person their child will grow up to be.
Most of us resolve never to make what we see as the mistakes our parents made, but no parent is perfect.
And people are now sharing what they consider to be the things parents do that cause their children to have the most problems in later life.
One of the most common complaints is refusing to admit when they’re wrong – it can have a negative impact on children.
“I don’t understand why this is so hard for adults,” one person wrote in the Reddit discussion. “Your kids won’t think less of you for being wrong sometimes. They already know you’re wrong sometimes. They lose more respect for you if you refuse to admit it than they do if you make a mistake.”
Over-protectiveness was another trait mentioned by many:
“Of course there are always some things that need to be tightly watched around kids, but when you shield your child from every possible inconvenience they’ll end up either spoiled or overly dependent,” one person pointed out.
And another shared her own experience of being wrapped in cotton wool as a child and it then affecting her adult life: “I am not proud of this by any means, but I am currently 21 and I have no idea how to do just about anything because of my parents.
“They always had some ‘what if’ story made up for when I wanted to do things. Now that I am older I have no idea how to do anything and have to ask for help to learn the simplest things.”
Another person said that she’d developed anxiety because her mother was so anxious about her doing anything: “She has unintentionally made me afraid of everything and everyone as well. I’ve improved over the years but my anxiety is still present.”
Most people believe it’s about balance – you need to look after your child whilst also giving them freedom and independence.
“Giving a kid freedom as a teenager is key,” one person said. “However, giving a kid so much freedom that you essentially check out from any sort of parental role is bad parenting that ultimately leads to the kid trying to make life decisions without any real guidance and somewhat f***s up their life.
“Yes – it’s all about balance,” added another. “Enough rules and routine that the kids grow up feeling safe, building a good work ethic, but enough flexibility and freedom that kids learn how to go with the flow of things when plans suddenly change, and learns how to deal with ‘mistakes/failures’ and less than ideal outcomes.”
Other examples of bad parenting techniques that affect children as they grow up included belittling them and still treating them as a small child when they get older, trying to live vicariously through a child’s athletic activities, and giving in to the child whenever he or she threw a tantrum.
Parents often find themselves in tricky situations when their kids ask them scientific questions like, “Why is the sky blue?” or “What is a dream?”, so they sort of shrug them off.
But many people believe giving these “low-effort” answers can discourage a child from being interested in science.
“If you don’t know, that’s fine; teach the kid how to find out,” suggested one person.
Some parents use sarcasm and “smartass answers” with their children, but then get angry when they do it back, which sends the children confusing messages.
One parent shared a memorable moment of his child picking up such mannerisms: “The day my son, five, told me to ‘Stick that in your lunch box and eat it!’ is a day I will never forget.”