40 Life Lessons Millennials Learned From Their Parents That Turned Out To Be Useless

Step into a world where childhood logic meets adult skepticism, courtesy of a Reddit thread that had us all questioning the pearls of wisdom passed down by our parents. The question at hand: “What is something your parents engrained in you that you now realize is ridiculous?” sparked a flood of hilarious responses.

From fears of watermelon seeds sprouting in your stomach to beliefs that the crust holds all the bread’s nutrients, these shared family “truths” range from the charmingly absurd to the laughably improbable. This collection not only showcases the quirky side of parental advice but also connects us through a universal experience of growing up and realizing, maybe, just maybe, our parents were winging it too.

Ready for a nostalgic chuckle? Let’s dive into the delightful absurdities that once shaped our world.


trialanderror13,Alexander Dummer / pexels

That perfectionism is the standard. Things aren’t worth doing unless you do them so thoroughly and perfectly that you basically are never done editing. helllllloooooo burnout.


Additional-Sky-7436,Monstera Production / pexels

I was told, over and over, “Just wait until you are a parent!! Then you will understand!!” Now I’m a parent and have fully concluded they were just trying to mask their insecurities with gaslighting.


thenorussian,Pixabay / pexels

Being called ‘mature for my age’ / ‘old soul’ was not a gold star, it was because I had no personality other than gaining the approval of parental figures. I always existed for other people, grew up way too fast, and set impossible standards for myself. My late twenties have been fun as I try to figure out who the hell I am now.


Pandamonium-N-Doom,Liza Summer / pexels

That you must have a “valid” reason for everything you do. “Because I want to” or “because it makes me happy” are not valid reasons.


RetroHipsterGaming,Askar Abayev / pexels

Hmm… The sort of “Sanctity” of family. Like, just because you are blood related, you somehow need to bend over backwards for them. Don’t get me wrong, I love my family and that includes the ones I don’t see often. That said, some of them are total pricks.. And I would bend over backwards for people I work with that are kind long before I would them. You don’t get a pass just because we are related.


anon,cottonbro studio / pexels

That I don’t need to learn to cook or do laundry because “my wife will do that stuff when I get married”. I went off to college having no clue how to do laundry and I didn’t learn how to do the most basic of cooking until my 20s. My three year old literally helps with laundry and cooking more than I ever got to do my 18 years of living at home.


KirdyB,Vanessa Loring / pexels

Being a member of the clean plate club is not the badge of honor I was told it was.


MrKBC,SHVETS production / pexels

Mental health isn’t real.


VogTheViscous,Dinielle De Veyra / pexels

Someone’s salary reflects both their intelligence and worth as a person, eg the higher salary the a smarter, better person.


brilliantpants,Keira Burton / pexels

You must conform and appear “normal”, otherwise someone might judge you as “weird” and that’s just the worst thing that could possibly happen.


Hahayayo,Sora Shimazaki / pexels

My dad convinced me that “unions suck”, either because “dues” or “lazy workers” or “they’re all left wing”

Then I got into a union, and the monthly dues are a drop in the bucket compared to my old non-union wages, the wages are high enough that everyone is happy to bust a*s if it’s ever actually necessary or beneficial to bust a*s, and the group is generally pretty politically diverse.

Union elections matter as much as actual elections once you’re in one. I’m far more concerned about who my union stewards and BAs are than actual politicians.


rockinem192,Gül Işık / pexels

College = success/money.



3720-To-One,cottonbro studio / pexels

Purity culture.


Imaginary_Train_8056,Julia M Cameron / pexels

That using public safety net programs made you a bad person. Food stamps, WIC, and Medicaid were for people that were completely morally bankrupt and would never make anything of themselves.


OverallContest6485,cottonbro studio / pexels

Make sure to tell your boss that you want to work all the weekends, evenings and holidays so that they know you really care about your job.


Respect your elders.

A lot of old people are s**t. – Bone_Breaker0


That the beatings she doled out as discipline always hurt her more than how she had hurt us. – Lirael_Grae


WandaDobby777,Mikhail Nilov / pexels

That EMTs care about your bra and underwear matching.


Destroying documents. I cant just shred them, i have to run them under water, cover them with soap, and put them in 3 separate garbage cans. Thanks dad. – NYTX1987


Gendered chores. My husband and I do not observe those rules. – anon


My dad had a*s hole humor. Like being a jerk is funny. I was an innocent a*s hole to people for a long time. My boyfriend in college would point it out and I was like “what are you talking about?” And it was literally the only thing that straightened me out.

My dad came from an abusive home as a child and as recently cooled his jets in his older age. I think he was unaware and his mom came from an extremely abusive household. Like- she had red hair and they sent her to a farm away from the family and beat her all the time. The other siblings got to live at home.

My college boyfriend came from an abusive household just like me (his dad was an alcoholic, my mom was an alcoholic) so we kinda understood each other and called out each other’s a*s hole-ness all the time.

My husband and I have also worked on it. My husband came from a religious family who shamed as a form of punishment, also pretty abusive. It’s taken years, therapy, and many books, but I think it’s over.

Coming from a tough family takes so long to realize “hey, that’s not normal. That’s being an a*s hole. No wonder I have no friends!” We’ll be raising our son with kindness and not being AHs.

Also, Reddit. I think getting dunked on by you guys all the time made me realize how much of an AH I was too. It hurts, but it’s needed.

Generational trauma! So fun! – Ihavesomethingtosay9


Other people’s perception of you was always more important than what you wanted or how you expressed yourself. My grandparents pushed that a lot so I understand where it came from, but once I got older I realized how damaging it was. – anon


My parents engrained in me that I absolutely cannot waste food. So, I have a psychological obsession with eating everything from my plate, even if I was already full. Now, when my children didn’t finish their plates, I’d have the urge to finish for them instead of throwing the leftovers away.

It’s really unhealthy, literally. – BetterSelection7708



“Therapists just find ways to blame the parents.”


Saving the best for last.
Whether it’s beer, food, or a nice soap someone gave as a gift.
My mom would hoard them until they were ancient and no longer in fresh enough condition to enjoy properly. Now I have the best thing first and enjoy it to its fullest potential. – Emotional__Vampire


Calling everyday when you apply for a job, totally horses**t but I f****n did it for like 5 years after leaving home. Anything concerning work culture honestly. – Fantastic_Art_5663


Men don’t feel emotions. – SereneGiraffe


“Work hard and you will be rewarded.” And I somehow continued to believe that c**p long after they themselves established a pattern of never rewarding my hard work, while harshly punishing my failures.

In their defense, they’ve come around to understand both the double-standard they applied to me and the inherent b******t of the saying itself. – N_Who


That you will drown and die if you swim after you eat. – orneryoneesan


That holding more than 3-5 jobs in a lifetime was a sign of my incompetency, not the changing nature of the economy. – DebDestroyerTX


Muscle29,cottonbro studio / pexels

“Washing your hands in the kitchen sink is bad luck.” They told me it was from the old country and I didn’t learn it was a lie until a few months ago. I told my girlfriend that and she texted my mom to ask if it was true. My mom responded “I just said that to keep them out of the kitchen. Men are so easy to trick!” 


That thing where they’re like “respect is given, not earned.” Biggest horses**t I’ve ever heard. – Dracasethaen


That I should take out as many student loans as I want because I don’t have to pay them back until I’m making good money, and that when I do pay them back I can make tiny payments until I die.

What the f**k, mom. – flakypieholez99


Job loyalty. If you work hard, you’ll get promoted! – CayKar1991


OSimplySimps,cottonbro studio / pexels

The mystical “permanent record” lie.

If I got a detention, speeding ticket, any sort of ticket actually, it’d go on my permanent record and I’d never get into college or get a good job.
It was the blanket fear approach instead of using truthful, realistic consequences for those situations.


You have to get married or do this and that by “this age”…life is not a straight line and s**t happens. – thrivingandstriving


Mostly over exaggerating how afraid I should be of things. Getting cut by broken glass is not nearly as bad as the anxiety response around trying not to break a glass in the first place. I was always taught fear as a precautionary ritual and never from a place of practical understanding. That’s how you raise a child with crippling self confidence issues. – Riccma02


It’s never ok to buy packaged salads, pre-cut fruits and veggies, or convenience foods because they are costly and wasteful. Sometimes as an adult I splurge on these things now because it’s literally the easiest way to get all the servings of fruit and veggies I need. I don’t always have time to prep all of those things. I’ll literally serve some protein and a bagged salad for dinner. My dad would clutch his pearls at that. Is it any shock that I rarely ate fresh food as a child? – jconant15



– Not everything has to devolve into a screaming argument

– Never calling off work is stupid and only hurts yourself

– You don’t need to keep your car full of gas during the winter because it has a freezing point of -100


Work hard and you’ll be rewarded.

Yeah, to some extent, hard work is rewarded. But there’s a point where there’s no amount of effort you could put in that would make you as much money as unionizing your workplace and taking part in the union politics that make that union effective.

In my industry they wanted us to work 40% harder than 1991 workers to make the same buying power.

Consider that for a moment. Right out of school. Expected to do 40% more than workers of years gone by just to have a comparable lifestyle.

“Work hard” just got me taken advantage of. And you know what? I still believe in working hard and doing a good job.

But wise up and realize that there’s no shortage of businesspeople ready to put you to work for less than you’re worth. – XChrisUnknownX


Drinking a cup of juice was healthy because it was a serving of fruit. – TommyPickles2222222


That it’s wrong to celebrate Halloween (I could hand out candy to other kids, but wasn’t allowed to participate in it myself). – Maluma_Goat


That I don’t have any worth unless I’m doing for others or doing well, working, which makes it where when I’m sick or want a day off I feel guilty and like I’m never enough. – WhySoGlum1


A ten hour car ride with only one bathroom break. – Pawsacrossamerica


mouse2422,Mikhail Nilov / pexels

That everyone is always judging you. They are very insecure people (and so am I but trying to fix it lol).


Mike Primavera

Mike Primavera is a Chicago-based comedy writer even though he doesn't HAVE to work. He lives comfortably off of his family's pasta fortune. Follow him on all social media at @primawesome