15 Parental Lessons That People Had to Unlearn in Adulthood

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Sometimes parents are wrong about stuff. The first time you realize this, it changes your whole perspective. But what if that thing they’re wrong about is something they’ve ingrained in you? What if that it’s clear now that that thing is harmful, and you have to unlearn it – as an adult?

This is where things can get annoying, even dicey.

These 15 people recall the not-so-great lessons their parents taught them that they couldn’t shake easily. See if any sound familiar.

#15. Always use your turn signal

“That you don’t have to use your turn signal if there’s No one behind you. Got pulled over by a cop that was just sitting in his car on the side of the road.”

#14. It’s okay to buy things

“Whatever happens, don’t spend money. It was a fucking breakthrough in therapy when I figured out that if I have a problem, and I can fix it by buying something I can afford, then it’s ok to buy things.”

#13. Unhealthy eating habits

“I’m still trying to unlearn the unhealthy eating habits they taught me.”

#12. It would suck me under

“Not my parents but my grandpa used to tell me that if I didn’t step off of an escalator quick enough it would suck me under. Had an irrational fear of escalators for years.”

#11. It’s personal

“That all constructive criticism is personal. You got a C on a project? It’s because you’re an idiot, you’re not good enough, you’re not as smart as your brother, etc. I can barely read corrections on my papers without having a mental break down. Even something simple as “try to word this better next time” sends alarms in my brain that I’m a huge idiot who can’t even write a paper. Constructive criticisms are just things to help you do better next time, it’s not a personal attack.”

#10. The right way

“Even though I’m a leftie, they insisted that I write with my right hand. They were convinced that it was the “normal thing to do.”

It was a huge struggle writing with my right hand, as every impulse told me to use the left. Finally, as an adult, I learned to write with my left hand. It came so naturally that I never used the right again.”

#9. I’m working on that

“Learned from my dad how to be non confrontational because of his explosive anger. I’ve come to realize not everyone gets irrationally angry when you confront them so I’m working on that.”

#8. Question everything

“My mother has a habit about talking about things like she’s an expert. It wasn’t until I hit my late teens she would make shit up without having proven or factual read about anything. Also she’s really gullible when it comes to polite people in administration. I’ve learned to question everything.”

#7. This would just be annoying

“To try to finish people’s sentences. My mom would sometimes get lost/stuck in the middle of her sentence so my sisters and I would finish the sentence for her since we could usually guess what she was trying to say. But for most people, this would just be annoying.”

#6. That’s it

“That if something breaks, that’s it. You don’t fix things in your house. Sink breaks? Brush teeth in the kitchen from now on. Especially never pay anyone to fix things.”

#5. Friends are meaningless

“How to not make friends.

It was always emphasized that friends are meaningless and we should stick to ourselves and not talk to anyone else. Now, it’s hard to make friends and keep them, or even have meaningful relationships with other people.”

#4. Why don’t we get lunch at school

“My parents never wanted to listen to kids music so they would change song lyrics and just sing them loudly over the songs when I was in the car. The most notable was the Jimmy Buffet song that goes “why don’t we get drunk and screw” which they changed to “why don’t we get lunch at school”.

I was fucking 20 before I finally figured out Jimmy wasn’t interested in eating hot lunch on a water bed and Eric Clapton wasn’t actually singing about hanging out with a woman named Jolene.

Edit: I still def sing cocaine with my dad’s silly lyrics “she don’t lie she got big furry thiiiiighs Jolene” all the time ??‍♀️

Edit2: my dad needed the internet to know the second verse of his child friendly version of cocaine goes “Don’t forget this fact she’s got a smelly crack Jolene” ??”

#3. Housekeeping

“I love my mom, but she wasn’t and still isn’t the most attentive housekeeper. I never really realised it until I was much older. I lived like a total slob for a long time. Then I met my ex with whom I have a son. She was/is a freaking cleanliness nazi.

It rubbed off though, because now I’m just as bad. I never realised how good having a very clean home is for your mental well-being.”

#2. Understanding how taxes work

“When I was a teenager, and beginning to work real jobs, my parents told me to never take a pay raise if it put you in a higher tax bracket, and wasn’t a big enough difference to cover the increased tax rate.

They didn’t understand that when you move up a tax bracket, only the income in that bracket is taxed at the higher rate. They were convinced that if you moved up a tax bracket then ALL of your income is taxed at the higher rate.

I’ve found that a TON of people actually think this!


Let me illustrate. By the way, for simplicity, I’m not including benefits, social security, and exemptions… But it works this way.

So, let’s say…

$0 to $10,000 was taxed at 0%

$10,001 to $40,000 was taxed 12%

$40,001 to $80,000 was taxed at 22%

Now, a lot of people think that if you made $39,000 that all of your income would be taxed at the 12% and you’d pay $4,680 in taxes, and have $34,320 in take home pay. But it doesn’t work like that!

The first $10,000 is actually in that 0% bracket, so you’re only paying the 12% on income in the $10,001 to $40,000 range. You’d pay about $3,480 and not $4,680. So your take home is really $35,520.

So, lets say your boss offers you a raise to $41,000.

Well, my parents would say, “Don’t take it! Your tax rate will go up to 22% and you’ll actually make less!” They think that I’d be paying $9,020 in taxes now, and my take home would be $31,980. Less than I made at $39,000! Well, they’re wrong!

In actuality, the first $10,000 is taxed at 0%, the second bracket is taxed at 12%, and only $1,000 is getting taxed at the 22%. So, I’m actually making $37,180 for my take home. My raise was really a raise after all!

Just to recap.

What my parents thought: $39,000 to $41,000 meant I’d be going from $34,320 to $31,980. A DROP in real take home income, and significantly more taxes than I was really paying.

Reality: $39,000 to $41,000 means I’m going from $35,520 to $37,180. A genuine raise!”

#1. I still get anxiety

“That it’s normal to be a pack rat and have a messy house. I still get anxiety when getting rid of things I no longer use or clothes that no longer fit but I have come a long way! Once my anxiety passes I feel so relieved that I no longer have all this stuff I have to move around or find a spot for.”

Count your blessings if, like me, the worst “wrong” thing your parents taught you was which side of the dinner plate to place the spoon!