10 Significant Things People Wished Their Parents Taught Them

Krystal DeVille

Parents: Love or hate them; they’re the first teachers you encounter on your way to understanding the world.

But unfortunately, not all parents know what they’re doing, perhaps because they’re young or still figuring out the world themselves.

No parent has it all figured out. We often only realize our parents aren’t all-knowing, omnipotent beings until we’re adults. These are the ten most significant things people agreed their parents should have taught them.

1. How to Stand Up For Themselves

A woman named Kiara wishes her parents had taught her how to stand up for the way she feels, even if it’s scary. She isn’t alone.

The number one thing people wished their parents had taught them was how to deal with confrontation. One person said conflict is so stressful that they begin shaking and crying within 30 seconds. Undoubtedly, holding your ground in a heated conversation, debate, or attack is an invaluable skill.

2. Proper Study Habits

Even though they got by with Bs and Cs with minimal studying, a 60-year-old reflecting on their youth wishes that their parents presented homework as a problem-solving task rather than a chore to endure. As a result, they could put little effort into their studies because their parents were too hands-off.

It’s a good idea for parents to have regular check-in with their kids’ homework and test scores to understand how they’re performing in school. Your child’s school experience can foster a life-long attitude toward learning. Ideally, you want it to be a healthy one.

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3. How to Fix Things

A commonly echoed sentiment by many users was wishing they were handier around the house. Someone recounted an unfortunate childhood experience of being the “flashlight holder,” which aptly describes children’s role when parents won’t let them be a more active help.

Instead, it’s yelling and scolding for not knowing what’s happening while refusing to teach problem-solving skills, demonstration, or letting you get your hands dirty — no wonder many of us don’t know how to fix a burst pipe later in life.

4. Financial Literacy

Countless people wished their parents had taught them a whole range of lessons on financial literacy, including how to do taxes, build credit, and create a budget. Others said they wanted a broad financial education that covered the basics.

Thankfully my high school offered a class called Financial Literacy, and the information I obtained was crucial, but not all schools offer these classes, and the earlier you learn, the better. Finally, another person wished their parents had taught them to be more disciplined with money.

5. How to Speak Another Language

Many users from multilingual families regret not demanding their parents teach them more of the language. Becoming fluent in a non-native language is easier when you’re a child. In addition, these people have said not knowing how to speak the language of their extended family members makes it harder to connect with them.

Some of the reasons why their parents didn’t teach them another language was that they were worried it would confuse them or that they would feel too different from their peers.

However, the children of these parents insist that it would have been better for them, in the long run, to start speaking another language from early childhood. Being bilingual would enable them to communicate with family members, get around other countries to explore their heritage, and open doors for them professionally.

6. Self Worth

One user replied that they grew up lacking self-worth because their parents always put them down. The insistence that they were a burden and the devaluing of their worth compounded over time, leading to a severe lack of self-esteem.

In response, a woman named Lindsay said that their parents did that to them because they were abused in their childhood and had to go to therapy to unlearn all the toxicity they had internalized.

Tragically, one of the most up-voted comments was about how to experience parental nurturing and love. The lesson here is kids need to be loved and accepted by their parents before learning to love themselves.

7. How to Cook 

Several people said they wished they knew how to cook, but their parents never taught them how. This! Trying to learn one of life’s most necessary skills as an adult is frustrating. I highly recommend getting involved with the cooking process as a child or adolescent.

Some of us didn’t come from homes that cooked homemade meals, so there was little to learn. However, just because your parents didn’t teach you or didn’t cook doesn’t mean you must repeat the same cycle. I liked what this person said, “they still got time, but [I wish they taught me] how to cook.”

Even if you’re a full-fledged adult who moved out of the house, you can always ask your parents to teach you some basics. This person said it was frustrating that their parents would complain about no one helping to cook, but when they offered, they would deny their help.

Lesson learned: get your kids involved. Not only does it help you out, but it teaches them invaluable life skills. It’s a win-win!

8. How to Maintain a Home

It should come as no surprise, but another skill people wish they had acquired through their upbringing was maintaining a home, including cleaning and doing laundry. A user noted that their parents handled all of the housework so they could focus on school. “This was great,” they said until they became a clueless adult.

9. How to Regulate Emotions

According to many users, a common problem they have yet to learn how to deal with from their parents is how to handle their emotions healthily. Sadly, someone said their parents couldn’t teach what they didn’t know, implying that they grew up in an unstable home.

Despite another suggestion that you could do the opposite of your parents by going to therapy and acquiring helpful tools to deal with your emotions, one indicated having a solid foundation to build upon would have been beneficial.

10. How to Respect Your Partner

Respecting your significant other garnered the most detailed and personal replies. For example, one woman replied that she and her sister struggled to have healthy relationships because they didn’t have a fit relationship model to look up to.

Because her father was abusive to their mom, it’s hard to escape that cycle, even knowing it isn’t what she wants. Another expressed the same desire for a healthy relationship model since their mom was constantly belittling and berating their father, which led them to tolerate abuse from their girlfriend. Children who grow up with abuse in the home may think that abuse is love.

This thread inspired this post.

This article was originally published on STEM Education Guide.

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