'I Was A Jerk To My Parents': Adults Reveal Their Deepest Regrets From Their Teenage Years

Have you ever wondered what you kind of trouble your parents got into when they were younger? I mean you are their offspring, so maybe whatever wild things you are in to now are innate and passed on from generations before you. Creepy, huh?

The following Ask Redditors responded to the question, "Adults from Reddit: What do you regret most from your teenage years?"

Interested in reading more stories? You can find the original thread at the end of the article. 

Thinking that the gangster, drug dealing, party lifestyle was cool. It just got me hooked on drugs, homeless and hopeless at a young age. Even though I am now sober, I always feel like I'm years behind my peers.

Plus it's a literal daily struggle to stay sober. That's not something you think about when it's all fun and games, before it gets way too real. You don't think about sitting in jail drug sick or wanting to die because you can't stop getting high, or the terrible things you will do or that can happen to you. It's all fun...until it's not.

But then again I really have absolutely no clue who I would be had I not been through what I have. So I'm really on the fence about calling it regret. Somedays, I would absolutely call it regret, other days I realize how much stronger it's made me.


I regret caring as much as I did. Always caring about how others viewed me, my friends, teachers, family, etc. I spent so much time worrying about how people perceived things that I said or did or whether they might take offence if I say I didn't want to do something etc., that eventually I forgot to ever really consider how I felt in all of it.


Man, my regret is just being so mean. It was not all the time though, it was just targeted to some people and only when I was feeling overwhelmed with social things. 

Instead of telling them that I wanted some alone time or something like that that is adult-sounding, I just yelled hurtful insults at them to make them go away. I know I made one girl cry. I felt bad immediately which just fuelled my confused social emotions and made it harder for me to reconcile things with her later. 

I feel like I left a wake of destruction in my past.


I didn't make very many friends in high school. I had, like, my one best friend, and a few other girls I was on friendly enough terms with to eat lunch but never saw after school, but that was it. 

Years later, I went to my reunion and realized they were all lovely people who I'd be friends with today if we still lived near each other (I now live out of the country), and the issue at the time was with me, not with them.

Shy isn't the right word for what I was then- I talk quite a lot- but withdrawn definitely is applicable. It never occurred to me that I should to actually invite someone to go do something- never told anyone at school who I wanted to know better "hey, want to hang out at the mall and go catch a movie?" for example. Now of course I know that was silly, and it's not a huge shocker that I never got invites if I never extended them myself, but that just wasn't my thought process at the time.

I've grown since then, and am nowhere as withdrawn as I was, and I have enough friends to make me happy. But I am jealous when I see my brother and sister with all their friends from high school who they're still in touch with, because one important detail about friendship you don't realize as a teenager is how wonderful older friends are who remember you and your life from different periods. My brother and sister have this in spades, and I just... don't.


I regret starting to smoke. That's what gets me about smoking, and what I'm going to tell my daughter. No one ever tells you that you might actually like it.

When you're a kid and smell someone smoking, it stinks to high hell. Smells like an ashtray, right? 

But you taste it and actually smoke yourself, and it's different somehow.


I regret not caring about my education and future and caring more about doing drugs.

Not being as interested in school as I could or should have been. I did okay but I could have done better if I wasn't as lazy or if I cared.

smokeyMcswiftx & magg_n

Not knowing that the answers to most of my so-called problems or the ability to learn new skills could be found in books.

Like the books my dad gave me and I refused to read. Doh.


Not being a carefree teenager and constantly waiting for adulthood to arrive. 

Enjoy your teen years people, they're gone before you know it, and you have the rest of your life to be a boring adult stuck in the corporate morass.


Thinking social status in high school matters. Going to college literally resets your slate.


Being too hard on my parents, no ones perfect and they gave so much for me but my little jerk self never thanked them.

I'm 25 and realizing a few things.

  • My folks have always been there for me and usually when I was pissed at them it was because they were trying to teach me something. I couldn't see that and instead took it as an attack.

  • Karma is real. I imagine this will really hit me when my folks are gone and I have my own kid acting the same way to me as I did to them. Not looking forward to that day.

Now I am just trying to make up for it and talk to my folks as much as possible, letting them know how grateful I am. Best way to do this in my opinion is to make them feel appreciated. Great parents are one of the best things in the world.

cantstumpthedrumpf & bailey1149

I was so... very... good.

I was studious, I didn't party, I didn't drink, I didn't date, etc.

I was my parents' dream child, and if I could go back I would have been at least a little bit bad. I missed out.


Not learning to socialize better and build good study and physical health habits.

They're all extremely tricky habits to form as an adult.


Not asking out the girl who gave me tons of hints.

But, chasing girls that didn't want me instead of the girls that were very into me.

harami_number1 & Shuk247

When I was sixteen a really beautiful seventeen-year-old from the grade above me who was way out of my league brought me into her room, closed the door, told me to sit on the bed, and began getting really deeply into conversation with me. Then she talked about sex for a while, touched me occasionally, and laughed at my dumb jokes. I left her house early.

It wasn't until I was in my twenties that I realized what I had done. I'm 26 now and I think about it pretty much every few days because it took another four years for anything sexual to happen to me. Saw her recently and she's still beautiful.


Not respecting my body or my health. I regularly stayed out late smoking up with my friends and eating fast food at 2AM. I drank hard liquor most weekends in grade 12. I didn't have a healthy sleep schedule, I didn't care about properly hydrating my body with water. I didn't care about the lack of nutrition in the foods I was eating. I never exercised. At all.

Then, at 19 I moved to a new area away from those friends and that environment, and to fill my free time, I tried some new hobbies. I started waking up earlier and spending time outside, I started to enjoy nature and exercise. I didn't realize how much better my body (and mind) could feel by treating it to positive, constructive things.

I had a fine teenage experience, but I wished I'd taken better care of myself. I'm almost 24 now, with entirely different values, and the healthiest I have ever been, mentally and physically.


I feel like I missed everything. My parents were ultra conservative and I was brainwashed into thinking most music was evil, certain games (Dungeons and Dragons, pokmon) were evil and I wasn't even allowed to read Harry Potter. 

I have a hard time relating to my peers because my first experience with a lot of things that they enjoyed as a teenager came much later or hasn't happened at all and it makes conversations awkward. 

I'm trying to catch up now on all the popular culture and video games, but it just isn't the same. Seeing Smashing Pumpkins on MTV at the time versus now is different. Playing Pokmon now when the systems aren't fully what they were (no Nintendo) isn't quite the same. And I have no friends to play card games with.


Keeping my high-school girlfriend through freshman year of college. The long distance thing was hard and unsatisfying. She would come up and be kind of a wet blanket and not be into partying, or couldn't relate to the new friends I was making in college. 

Or I'd be taking the bus home every other weekend to hang out with her, which meant more time around parents as she obviously still lived with hers, and I'd have to stay with mine.

I did care for her a lot and we would have some fun, but I think I missed out on a good chunk of freshman life having to devote time to "maintaining our relationship" from across the state. 

So looking back, I think I should have ended it before I went to college.


Oh I have plenty of things I regret, but while this one's lame, it matters:

 Anything involving extremely loud noises without hearing protection. Concerts, clubs, raves, motorcycle riding. I'm not talking about those situations where you think it's kinda loud, but those ones where you're standing in front of the speaker stack thinking "Geez, this will probably damage my hearing". 

Spoiler: It does.


Not brushing my teeth. It led to a root canal at age 18, accompanied by some of the most intense pain I've ever felt in my life. And I now have 5 crowns, that's fun.

Seriously, no matter how well I've obsessed over dental hygiene in my 20's on, with teeth, the past will always come and bite you in the butt.


At age 17 (waaay too young), tying myself to the person who would eventually become my husband, and allowing my entire, still-forming identity to exist for and revolve around him.

I thought I was happy. I believed I knew who I was and was fully aware of the potential outcomes of what I was doing...but I was wrong, at least about some of the important parts.

For my own growth and development's sake, it would have been so much healthier if I had been legitimately single for a few years, just to prove to myself that not only am I capable of living on my own, but I actually like living alone and having total autonomy to do whatever I want to do however I want to do it.

I spent 20 years believing I couldn't make it alone because I had never tried. That decision is what I regret most about my teenage years.


I spent so much time "waiting for something to happen".

Like sitting on some steps outside of a house waiting for something to happen. Hanging out with people I did not really like waiting for something to happen.

I feel like so much time was wasted waiting for something to happen, instead of doing something or "making things happen".


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"It wasn't me!"

There's not much you can do when the righteous fist of the law comes down on you. Call it a mix-up, or call it a mistake, if someone's pegged you at the scene of a crime there's not much you can do but trust the justice system to prove you innocent. However, that's a gamble, and just because you've been given a "not guilty" doesn't mean the effects won't follow you for the rest of your life.

Reddit user, u/danbrownskin, wanted to hear about the times when it wasn't you, seriously, it was someone else, when they asked:

Redditors who were once considered suspect of a crime they did not commit, what's it like being held under suspicion and how did it affect your life?

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