Parents Of Kids Who Grew Up To Be 'Jerks' Share The Things They Wish They Did Differently

Often, parents do unconscious things that disrupt their child's positive development.

parents arguing with adult son SpeedKingz / Shutterstock

There is no denying the complexities that arise while raising children. For every stage of their growth, there are various trials and triumphs parents encounter as well as a number of different parenting styles, each with their own pros and cons.

For better or for worse, not all of us turn out how our parents wanted us to be, and one person went to Reddit's r/AskReddit, "the place to ask and answer thought-provoking questions," to ask parents to reflect on how their kids turned on. 


"Parents who tried their best to raise their kids to be good humans but they turned out to be jerks," the question asked, "what do you wish you did differently?" 



RELATED: Traumatic Brain Injury Expert Explains The 'Fun' Way Some Parents Play With Their Babies That Can Cause Serious Damage


1. Parents who hold resentment can seriously impact their children.

A user identified resentment, an often overlooked but potentially destructive emotion, as a significant factor contributing to negative child development. "The one defining characteristic of bad parents is being resentful of their own children... These parents may consciously 'provide' for their kids while they unconsciously sabotage them," they wrote.

Such resentment, even when unspoken, can permeate the parent-child relationship, instilling a sense of unworthiness in children. "Resentful parents don't really want their kids to be happy unless they credit the parents for their happiness. No achievement belongs to the kids, but every failure does," they finished.

2. Parents should avoid spoiling their kids.

One parent admitted to spoiling their kids in the name of happiness, leading to unpreparedness for the real world. 

"We wanted our kids to be happy so I think we coddled and spoiled them. They aren't ready to function independently in the adult world," they replied. "In retrospect, I think learning some hard lessons growing up helps prepare them and is less damaging than learning those lessons as adults."


RELATED: Kylie Jenner Accused Of 'Yelling' At Her Niece For Touching The Birthday Cake At Her Daughter's Party

3. Make sure you don't over-punish children.

One parent shared that they engaged in a "vicious cycle" of punishment for their acting-out child. Often, we think that bad behavior must always be punished in some form or fashion. However, this parent proves that this isn't always the case.

"If you have a kid who doesn't respond to your parenting style/philosophy, you should rethink your approach. It's not all the kid's fault," they wrote. They elaborated that every time they punished their child, they would only act out more in response. It took them a while to learn that many children act out because they want to be seen as "mature" and wanting of "adult respect."

So, instead, parents should try giving their children more responsibilities, which they gave few examples of, like letting "him walk to school alone if he doesn't get to do that."


4. If a child goes through a traumatic event, make sure they get therapy immediately.

One person shared an emotional story of their childhood abuse. He explained that he was sexually assaulted by an older boy when he was a child.

"My life was a chaotic mess until I addressed it myself, and my sexual life was reckless, harmful, and dangerous to myself, and my partners, because I didn't know what a healthy relationship was (I was hyper sexual for decades)," he wrote.

Despite his mom later admitting she should have gotten him therapy, she never did. "Parents, if something traumatic happens to your child, get them help," he added. Even though he clarified that therapy can be financially burdensome for many, it is an absolute necessity for a child after a traumatic event.

RELATED: Did Elon Musk Father Amber Heard’s Baby? Details About The Embryos They Created Together


5. Don't let manipulative people near your children.

Some people detailed their mistakes of letting manipulative people, disguised as loving family members, near their children. Even grandparents can be perpetrators of manipulation!

"I wish I knew that some grandparents shouldn't be allowed to have a relationship with a vulnerable, easily manipulated child. I wish I knew it was okay to cut people out of your life," one person wrote.

Another person shared a similar experience, which continued to affect them later in life.

"My grandma traumatized me after years of emotional abuse. It wasn't anything extremely toxic but it doesn't take much to mess with a small kid, especially if they're sensitive like I was," she wrote. Now as an adult, she shared that she's distant from her parents because she doesn't trust them on an "emotional level."


RELATED: Owen Wilson Allegedly Still Refuses To Meet His 4-Year-Old Daughter — Her Mom Says She 'Needs A Father'

Their responses prove there's a fine line between nurturing and overindulgence and the importance of allowing children to learn from their mistakes.

One person who had previously worked with youth in poorer rural parts of America classified children who display disruptive behavior into two categories. 

"[T]here are two types of kids that can turn into bad humans. One, they've just had tough lives and no good role models. If you get to know them you realize they are just normal kids that have never been given the tools, opportunity, or encouragement to act any different...Two, kids that never suffer the consequences of their actions," they wrote.

parents who raised jerk children reddit commentPhoto: Reddit


So, standing up for your child is important, but sometimes they deserve to face the consequences of their actions to learn and develop from them!

A parent of a popular and charismatic young boy shared a particularly compelling perspective.

They expressed concern over his growing arrogance, a trait often misunderstood or misinterpreted as confidence. "[H]e needs to treat others with the same respect he expects for himself. Confidence is good but it needs to be combined with kindness," they wrote. They're struggling to teach their son that lesson due to how well other kids treat him in school, though, they're still holding out hope that they'll teach their son how to be a "good person" one day.


RELATED: Moms Of Autistic Children Face Backlash After Saying That Autism Is Not A 'Blessing'

parents raising jerk children reddit commentPhoto: Reddit

These parental experiences and reflections underscore how multifaceted the approach to raising good children is.

From managing family dynamics to battling personal resentments, from teaching accountability to instilling empathy, each aspect plays a critical role in shaping a child's character. However, it's also clear that there's no 'one-size-fits-all' approach to parenting. What works for one child might not necessarily work for another, and that's where the complexity lies.


These insights serve as a sobering reminder that parenting extends beyond providing the basic necessities. It's about nurturing emotional and moral growth alongside imparting life skills. It's about raising not just successful individuals but kind, empathetic, and responsible citizens of the future.

RELATED: Why Tom Cruise 'Chooses Not To See' His Daughter 11 Years After Their Last Sighting Together

Ethan Cotler is a writer and frequent contributor to YourTango living in Boston. His writing covers entertainment, news, and human interest stories.