Parents Need To Stop Screwing Their Kids Up

Dear Parents of the World,

If you’re crazy, please close your legs. We don’t want you. We don’t want to be born to you. When we come out of the vagina and see two crazy people staring back at us, we’re going to scream and try to run back in. “Help! There’s been a mistake! Let me back in!”

Parents have the ultimate power. They can give you a rock solid foundation, which will increase your chances of being a nice healthy person, or they can destroy you with their own issues. They can be selfish and insane, and gift you with many problems that will follow you into your adult life. Doesn’t seem fair, does it? It’s the luck of the draw. You’re either born to loving supportive parents who won’t try to ruin your life or you’ll be born to monsters.

Of course it’s not always that black and white. You can have one solid parent and one terrible one. And of course there is the debate of nature versus nurture. I believe in a little bit of both. Is that possible? There’s just no way that how you were raised does not play a role in shaping who you become. That being said, I also believe in taking ownership over your problems at a certain point. You can only play the blame game for so long.

Regardless, I get so angry when I hear horror stories from my friends’ childhoods. My parents were far from perfect but they did the best they could. Today, I have a great relationship with both, which is all that matters to me. But others aren’t so fortunate. Others were put through hell when they were growing up. It’s maddening. It truly is like babies raising babies. I’m not saying you have to be a perfect person when you decide to have a child (is there such a thing anyway?), but you should be conscious of where you are in life, your willingness to be selfless, and curb your own issues. There should be a concentrated effort to not screw your kids up.

For some parents, giving their children a good childhood is impossible. Whether it’s because of addiction or just good ol’ manipulation and mind games, they start chinking away at their offspring’s sanity from day one. They have complete power over a young child and they abuse it. They’re born with a blank slate and they dirty it up throughout the years. The children are defenseless to the sanity. It’s all they know anyway. Their instinct is to cling to their parents. A five-year-old isn’t gonna be like, “Um, you guys are crazy. Peace out.” It’s going to stand by awaiting further instructions. It’s going to process the insanity as normalcy.

So please stop having kids if you’re insane. Don’t bring another blank slate into this world and get it mucked up. We’re already overpopulated and therapy is super expensive. TC mark

image – Mommie Dearest

Ryan O'Connell

I'm a brat.


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  • Samie Rose

    The concept of this post is cool, but the writing is very weak and there was no development as it went along. If it was a bit longer and actually developed the ideas with a little more than excitable nonsense, I could see this being alright.

    • Stefan

      but if Ryan spent more time on his articles, how would he maintain his 150+ post lead over the next highest contributor (BSG)?

      • Joy

        Really though, Ryan could spend five minutes typing gibberish with his eyes closed and it would still be better than half the articles on thoughtcatalog.

  • Anonymous

    Its like you wrote the entire piece in two minutes. Nice concept, and I went through some fine lines as well. 

  • Anonymous


  • Robert L.

    I like how there is a recommended post with Justin Bieber’s face on it. Just saying.

  • Michael Koh

    nana? NOOOOOO

  • Tau Zaman

    I think it’s impossible for anyone to be a good parent. Even parents who are always supportive and nurturing will breed kids who end up hating themselves for their privilege and thus scarred. Thankfully, no one really has to be “good” parents, they just have to be “good enough.” Kids are a lot smarter and much more resilient than we give them credit for. As long as they can survive and emotionally reconcile whatever things were missing from their childhoods, they can grow up well-adjusted and smart, for the most part.

    At least, that’s what I’ve seen. I’ve definitely seen a lot of kids grow up with a lot less than I had and they turned out great. They acknowledge that certain things sucked, and certain things were just missing, but I think as we all grow older, we start to realize our parents couldn’t possibly have had any clue what the hell they were doing, and just winged it. It was less of the calculated endeavor we imagined, and much more an improvisation. 

    Seriously. How do you prepare a tiny little thing for the cruel world? You just can’t.

    • Donna-Lee Grant

      you can be kind and help them with anything and everything they need. Bring your personal experiences into the equation and show them that no matter what they do or who they love…no matter how ugly they can matter the circumstance that you love them. As ryan said no parent is perfect. Hell no human is perfect…i think were all kinda messed up in one way or another but coming from me (a person with neither parent in the picture) i couldve used a hell of a lot of help and love from the people who created me. instead they pushed me onto every family member they could. They only cared about their drugs which is unfortunate and i understand addiction can change a person but still. Who knows what kind of great qualities i couldve inherited if my parents had been there for me. instead of inheriting some bad ones and having many other issues which i try to help when i notice but you know…not every aspect of personality can change no matter how hard you try! Im doing alright and i hope all the kids with bad parents find a way to look at life positively when it seems so ugly. :]

    • Stefan

      While I agree with you for the most part, I also believe that assumptions of good faith are not always deserved (I’m thinking mostly of parents who raise children to hate, actively nurture (angry) prejudice, etc.)

  • Jordan

    “It’s going to stand by awaiting further instructions. It’s going to process the insanity as normalcy.”  Good point.

  • Rainbow Couch

    As usual, Ryan, you just get it. I see this every day in my work as a therapist.

    • Ryan O'Connell

      i was going to be a therapist if the writing thing didnt work out. looks like i kinda got to do both!

      • Rainbow Couch

        Me too :)

  • Anon

    Speaking as a parent, sometimes you don’t realize how you’ll be as a parent UNTIL you have kids. I admit, some days are better than others, but at the end of the day, all parents screw their kids up to some extent without meaning to. And that’s okay.

  • Gdpaule

    sadly, the crazy parents, were born into crazy parents too. it’s an endless cycle.
    until a child gets help, meets other people or learns what is right, it will keep going.

  • Dave P

    This is why I won’t have kids. #dark

  • Lim Yan Yun

    parents, if you are giving your children anti-depressants, you’re screwing them up. 

  • JTW

    Let he is who without sin, cast the first stone.  While I agree that some people should never be allowed to procreate, I think there is something to be said for the concept of free will, and no matter how badly our parents may screw us up (whether it’s intentional or not), it’s up to the individual to decide how much they choose to be affected by it.  I say this because my sister and I were raised similarly, given that we come from the same set of parents, and have completely different views of our parents and our respective upbringings.  This article comes off at some points as holier-than-thou and full of arbitrary, misguided judgment.  Some people are going to blame their parents for giving them too much leeway, too much attention and love, or for completely refusing to even acknowledging their very existence.  We ALL have issues.  This idea that “crazy” parents are to blame for messing up the tabula rasa we were supposedly born with is far-fetched and takes away all sense of accountability which leads to the sort of self-entitled, narcissistic airs our generation is mainly known for.  People need to stop indulging in acts of self-destruction and using the excuse that they were given too much or not enough growing up.  Suck it up, princess.

  • Mackenzie Rose Walsh

    I think there is good and bad parts to parents. While there is tons of fantastic things my parents have done for me, there is also troubles. But they are not perfect I suppose. There is a good and bad side to everyone.

  • hi!

    This is some Cosmopolitan Magazine shit

  • ariel

    Having “good” parents isn’t a free ticket to becoming a well adjusted person or even a good person.

    I’m sorry, but I found this misguided and self righteous.

  • -heather-

    yeah my sister’s kind of crazy and she’s totally ruined her blank slate (my nephew). but then again, we were born to the same set of parents and my other siblings and i are nothing like her. 

  • Guesty

    I’m glad that my crazy parents fucked and had me.  

  • Anon

    Phillip Larkin had it down:They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
    They may not mean to, but they do.
    They fill you with the faults they had
    And add some extra, just for you.

    But they were fucked up in their turn
    By fools in old-style hats and coats,
    Who half the time were soppy-stern
    And half at one another’s throats.

    Man hands on misery to man.
    It deepens like a coastal shelf.
    Get out as early as you can,
    And don’t have any kids yourself.

  • Guesta

    how you are raised is dictated by personality, aka genetics. so, nature wins.

  • Guesta

    i don’t agree at all that people are born 100% blank slate. some things are inbred, like certain aspects of personality. there have been research studies of brothers/sisters and twins that were raised in two different families, and their personalities were surprisingly similar.

  • Rayan Khayat

    bum bum

  • Rayan Khayat


  • Guest

    most of the most important people in the world suffered the shittiest parentage. 

  • Alexis Jordan Christy

    ohmygoodness, I don’t know how many times I’ve said the same thing. I’m so sick of selfish people thinking they could just have children. It’s more than just giving birth and claiming a new title. It’s a commitment and willing selflessness, as you mention, is a huge part in that commitment. I feel so strongly about parents being equipped. If you’re fucked up, emotionally, mentally, economically, etc. do not bring a kid in this world to fuck it up too. you’re what keeps this sick cycle going.

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