Everyone has probably gotten a mouthful from their parents before.
Whether it’s for something you’ve done wrong or a joke you made that was suddenly turned into a life lesson, it usually comes with the favourite rejoinder, “This is for your own good.”
And as we grow up, we start to slowly appreciate them for the constant nagging that we used to despise them for.
However in some cases, along the ranks of advice that our parents told us while growing up might actually be next to useless.
We’ve collected them here, and we’re sure you’ve heard quite a few of them before.
1. “Study hard, and you’ll be fine.”
This has been around for a long, long time.
Encouraged by their parents, many children don’t see the bigger picture beyond the walls of academics. All they know is that by studying hard they might enrol in good colleges or universities and later, get the jobs they want.
And of course, there’s all the stress around scoring and report cards days.
But the question is, “Are results that important?”
Studies are important but they’re not the only thing that matter. While being knowledgeable helps, it’s really a good character or personality that build the trust and value needed for success.
Your performance at work and how well your do in life aren’t solely dependent on academic ability. Unfortunately, most of use don’t realise this until we’re out of university and it’s a slap on the face from to universe.
2. “Always respect your elders.”
Don’t get me wrong, it’s good that people show respect to their elders. That’s part of our culture and it has its foundations in wisdom. After all, older people have the experience and knowledge that can greatly benefit us.
When our parents say this though, what they’re really saying is “Shut up and listen, don’t fight back when someone older is speaking.”
We have to accept that there are antiquated notions that our elders should be discarding. Casual comments that promote violence, racism, sexism, body shaming or ignorance—should we allow them to continue or just nod and stay silent, simply because the speaker is older?
We shouldn’t excuse such words just because of who the speaker is.
3. “Don’t hang out with people who have bad results.”
There’s an old adage that it takes just one bad apple to spoil the whole basket.
Such sentiments prompt parents to caution and even actively prevent their kids from hanging out with the “bad” crowd. After all, in the Asian mindset, if you’re not doing well in school, the rest of your life is probably in a mess as well.
Not only does it belittle those who aren’t to good at studying, it also teaches the children to actually look down on others. What this ignores is that getting bad results doesn’t necessarily mean a person is stupid or lazy, as we will eventually find out on our own.
4. “Extra co-curricular activities are a waste of time.”
Many parents especially, who more worried about their kid’s education believe most co-curricular activities are a waste of time, especially those organised by the school.
The children might as well take private lessons to up their own skills at home.
However, the whole point of extra co-curricular activities is to help students relax and give them a break from their studies. They also teach valuable lessons like teamwork, persistence and can even pick up new skills or explore their interests.
5. “You have to be able to do this to get married.”
The constant dating advice that parents produce out of thin air can be helpful, but can also be more annoying than what they think.
Parents might not be aware but some of their advice are the result of stereotypes or sexism. Particularly for women, they are often more pressured to get married and this would traditionally mean they would have to take on other jobs in order to take care of the child.
The typical stereotype, “All mothers must cook and clean” is a perfect example and is completely disregarding what women actually enjoy and want to do.
In the same way, men are expected to “Earn enough income to support your family”.
6. “If you don’t get a good job, you’ll just be a disappointment to yourself.”
It comes as no surprise that many parents expect the best from their kids, even if it means they have to keep on pushing them.
For some parents, they believe that their children need to take up a certain path in order to be successful.
At the end of the day, parents are that way because they truly care for their children and want them to have stable jobs and careers in the future. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that one of those careers ensures bragging rights for the parents at family gatherings.
Unfortunately, having a choice of just four acceptable careers is quite limiting on the children. The world has changed, any even these four fields might not necessarily ensure success or even stability down the line.
7. “If you wake up so late, half your day is gone.”
Parents are always reminding us to sleep early, and it doesn’t stop even when you’re well past your teens.
Not everyone can function on the “sleep early and wake up early” routine. Parents generally sleep early, so they don’t see the hours of work their children put in during the wee hours of the morning.
In fact, some studies have shown that teenagers in particular have their biological sleep patterns shift towards later times, meaning that it would be difficult for them to sleep earlier, even if they wanted to.
8. “You should be like her.”
Our parents say this as a form of motivation or encouragement. After all, they’re trying to give us a goal to work towards.
Their intentions may by good, to give a boost of initiative to do something but this often backfires leaving the kid with low self-esteem and a feeling of self-pity. In fact, you may get so tired of chasing the perfect prodigy that you may just give up altogether.
9. “When you grow up, you’ll understand.”
Often, this cliché comes out when parents are reluctant to explain their motivations, as an alternative to the ultimatum, “Because I said so.”
Either that, or this advice appears when parents are getting frustrated with how their children aren’t cooperating. On the other hand, rather than hoping that your child will grow up and eventually get where you’re coming from, isn’t it better to try and reach some sort of understanding when they’re younger?
Sometimes enough is enough
Parents might think they’re doing what’s best for their kids, constantly giving them tips and advice. But they also need to watch what they say and be tactful. It might have sounded right to parents but it might sound wrong and inconsiderate to others.
We say all this but who knows, we might end up repeating these exact same words to our own children in the future.
Did you get any other pieces of bad advice from your parents? Let us know in the comments below.
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