12 Things People Wish Their Parents Taught Them

Parenting is tough and every generation has their own challenges. Many people grow up struggling through life, wishing they had known better. From life lessons and practical skills to emotional intelligence and personal development, the wisdom imparted by parents plays a significant role in shaping our lives. Yet, amid the complexities of modern society, there are often valuable insights and essential knowledge that people feel were overlooked in their upbringing they believe would have made life a little easier. Here is a list of things people wish their parents had taught them. 

1. How to Stand Up for Yourself

man with arms crossed looking stern like a decision has been made
deposit photos


Many people who are non-confrontational end up taking abuse because they don’t know how to stand up for themselves. Assertiveness is a useful skill to have when navigating challenges because it helps people advocate for themselves effectively, set boundaries, voice opinions and confront injustice. In a forum, one reader commented “I can’t do any form of confrontation, if I do I’m usually crying and shaking at the 30 second mark. Doesn’t even have to be a fight or argument.” Another reader wished he could stand up for himself when feeling afraid. 

2. How to Fix Things

plumber fixing the sink
deposit photos


Whether it’s fixing a leaky faucet, repairing a malfunctioning appliance, or tackling household maintenance tasks, the lack of hands-on guidance during their formative years leaves some people feeling ill-prepared to address common issues that arise in everyday life. Without the foundational knowledge and practical experience to tackle such challenges, they may find themselves relying on costly professional services or feeling a sense of frustration and helplessness when confronted with repairs. Learning some basic handy skills helps people feel empowered, allowing them to tackle DIY projects with confidence and independence.

One man recounts his childhood experience with helping his father fix things: “I ended up being the stereotypical Flashlight Holder, and was expected to magically learn how to fix plumbing and change the oil on a car by telepathic osmosis. There was no problem solving, no getting on my hands and knees, no actual participation, just a flashlight and a bunch of yelling when I didn’t know what to even hand my father, or where it was. Nobody ever sat me down and showed me a ratcheting socket wrench until I was 22.”

3. That it’s Ok to Fail

teenager looking sad with hand holding face
deposit photos


Many adults harbor a wish that their parents had instilled in them the resilience to embrace failure as a natural and necessary part of life’s journey. The ability to navigate setbacks with grace and resilience is a valuable skill that many feel ill-prepared for. Without the guidance to understand that failure is not a reflection of their worth, but rather an opportunity for growth and learning, individuals may struggle with fear of failure, perfectionism, and a reluctance to take risks. 

4. How to Speak Another Language

english and spanish words written on flashcards
deposit photos


Many adults express a longing for the ability to speak another language, a skill they often wish their parents had imparted to them through their childhood. Being bilingual or multilingual not only enhances communication and opens up new opportunities for personal and professional growth but also fosters a deeper appreciation and understanding of different cultures. Many readers expressed their dismay that their parents didn’t teach them their native language. “My dad’s Puerto Rican and didn’t teach us Spanish. I resented him for it.” Another commented “both my parents grew up in Warsaw, yet I don’t speak Polish. They fled communist to come to the United States, so when they had children they thought “Our children will be American!” A reader implored “If you know more than one language, please speak them with your children. It will offer them so many opportunities to enrich their lives.”

5. How to Apologize and Accept an Apology

woman with hands together, asking for an apology
deposit photos


Some individuals may struggle with apologizing or accepting apologies due to a lack of modeling or guidance during childhood. As a result, they may find it challenging to navigate interpersonal conflicts and may inadvertently perpetuate misunderstandings and resentments. A reader commented “How to properly apologize and how to accept an apology. It’s something I’ve had to teach myself in my adulthood.”

6. Financial Literacy

man hand on chin looking confused while holding piggy bank
deposit photos


“I’d be much better off now if my parents had taken the time to teach me those things.” Many adults regret their lack of financial literacy, wishing their parents had imparted essential money management skills during their formative years. Understanding financial concepts such as budgeting, saving, investing, and debt management is crucial for navigating the complexities of the current economy. Without a solid grasp of these principles, it can lead to financial stress, mismanagement, and missed opportunities for wealth accumulation. 

7. Proper Study Habits

teenage girl sitting at her desk in school, resting hand on head and looking upset
deposit photos


Effective study techniques, such as time management, note-taking strategies, and active learning methods, are essential for academic success and lifelong learning. However, without guidance and encouragement from parents, some individuals may struggle to develop these skills independently, leading to inefficiency, frustration, and academic underachievement. “I’m pushing 60 now, and my failures as a student long ago are all on me. Still, I think I may have stood a better chance at succeeding scholastically if I just learned to look at homework as problem solving rather than a chore to endure. It also didn’t help that I could squeak by with Bs or Cs without studying whatsoever.”

8. How to Cook

woman cooking in the kitchen frustrated with hands up, bread on the counter.
deposit photos


One reader said they wished they learned how to do the usual domestic chores on their own instead of their parents doing everything for them. “How to cook, clean and do laundry, etc. But then again I was pretty focused so on schoolwork so they (parents) handled the other stuff for me. Which was great until I became an adult.”

9. It’s Ok to Cry

woman looking sad, depressed with head on crossed arms
Image credit: Shutterstock


“I grew up being scolded for being overly dramatic even though I literally have trauma and anxiety,” a reader commented. Many adults wish their parents had taught them that it’s okay to express their emotions, including crying. Growing up in environments where displays of vulnerability were discouraged or seen as signs of weakness, some individuals may have internalized the belief that showing emotions, especially sadness, is unacceptable or shameful. As a result, they may struggle to cope with difficult situations or process their feelings effectively, leading to stress, and mental health issues. 

10. How to Tell Toxicity in a Relationship or Friendship

woman angry and man standing arguing, fighting
deposit photos


Many adults reflect on their upbringing and wish their parents had equipped them with the skills to identify toxic relationships and friendships. Without proper guidance, individuals may find themselves entangled in abusive relationships, unable to recognize red flags or assert boundaries. Learning to discern the signs such as manipulation, disrespect, or emotional abuse—can empower individuals to prioritize their well-being and cultivate healthier connections.

11. Time Management Skills

man pointing at his watch, annoyed for having to wait too long
deposit photos


Many adults find themselves grappling with time management issues and reflect on how they wish their parents had instilled better habits in them during childhood. Effective time management skills are crucial for success in both personal and professional life, yet many individuals struggle to prioritize tasks, set goals, and maintain a balanced schedule.

12. Self-Confidence

working woman professional smilling with arms crossed
deposit photos


Self-confidence is a trait many adults wish they had been taught by their parents during their formative years. Confidence is not innate but rather a skill that can be cultivated through positive reinforcement, encouragement, and the celebration of achievements. Unfortunately, not all parents emphasize the importance of self-belief, leaving many individuals struggling with self-doubt and insecurities as they navigate adulthood.

Read More: The Overdiagnosis of ADHD in Children

boy sitting in class looking sad or lost or depressed
deposit photos


Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) has become a prevalent diagnosis in children over the years, with a significant rise in the number of cases reported both in the United States and worldwide. While ADHD can undoubtedly impact a child’s life, there is growing concern about the overdiagnosis of this disorder. It’s vital to explore the potential misdiagnosis of ADHD in children to shed light on the long-term effects and the intricate issues surrounding the use of ADHD medications.

The Overdiagnosis of ADHD in Children

12 Reasons Homeschooling is On the Rise in the United States

Kids homeschooling with parents
deposit photo


In recent years, an increasing number of families have been embracing homeschooling as an alternative to traditional education systems. This trend reflects a growing desire among parents to take a more active role in their children’s learning journey, while tailoring to their individual needs and values. The following are some issues that may be causing this exodus of homeschoolers from the public school system.

12 Reasons Homeschooling is On the Rise in the United States

15 Names That Have Surprising Dark Origins

an angry baby looking to the camera
deposit photos


Do you have a baby on the way and are trying to narrow down potential names? Or maybe you’ve wondered where your name stems from and what it means. Something that may surprise many people is that some of today’s names have dark origins. Although many of the names sound perfect for an adorable baby, the names on the list unfortunately don’t come from a place of joy.

15 Names That Have Surprising Dark Origins

13 Disturbing Signs That a Child May Be a Psychopath

A mom is talking to her daughter and the girl is looking mad at the camera
deposit photos


As a parent, you want only the best for your child. You want to believe they will have a wonderfully happy and fulfilling life. You also want to believe your child is healthy both physically and mentally, but unfortunately, that’s not the case for all. Some children suffer from serious psychological disorders that can stem from various issues and circumstances, but does that mean the child is a psychopath? Here are 13 disturbing signs that a child may be a psychopath.

13 Disturbing Signs That a Child May Be a Psychopath