Why Your Parents May Be Responsible For Some Of Your Worst Habits

Why Your Parents May Be Responsible For Some Of Your Worst Habits

You’re a grown adult — you can’t go around blaming your parents for everything. You’re in control of your own life and have the ability to change. That being said, the people who raised you most definitely affected your personality and may even be responsible for some of the bad habits you have. If you struggle with any of the following, here’s why you may need to consider whether it’s partially down to Mom and Dad.

1. Procrastination

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Growing up in a household where deadlines were treated like suggestions can wire you for procrastination. Watching your parents put off tasks until the eleventh hour might have embedded the idea that this is a normal approach to responsibilities. It’s not about laziness; it’s a learned behavior that suggests waiting until the last minute is acceptable. The rush of beating a deadline becomes a habit, not because it’s efficient, but because it’s familiar. Breaking this cycle means recognizing the pattern and consciously choosing to tackle tasks head-on, retraining your brain to find satisfaction in completion, not just the thrill of the crunch.

2. Poor Money Management

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If money matters were handled impulsively or stressfully by your parents, it’s likely you’ve inherited some of those financial habits. Money management skills—or the lack thereof—are often passed down through generations. When discussions about budgeting, saving, or investing were absent, you miss out on essential financial literacy. This gap can lead to repeating cycles of debt, living paycheck to paycheck, or making impulsive purchases without considering the long-term impact. Cultivating financial health might require seeking education and resources outside your familial experiences to build a more stable financial foundation for yourself.

3. Unhealthy Eating Habits

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Mealtime habits in childhood set the stage for adult eating behaviors. If fast food was the norm and convenience trumped nutritional value in your household, it’s no wonder you might lean towards similar choices as an adult. These habits are deeply ingrained, often linked to comfort and familiarity rather than just taste preferences. Shifting towards healthier eating habits involves unlearning these patterns and consciously making choices that prioritize your health. It’s about creating a new normal for yourself, one that values nutrition and well-being over mere convenience.

4. Avoiding Confrontation

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In homes where conflict was avoided at all costs, you learn to equate peace with silence. This avoidance strategy teaches you to bury issues rather than address them, fostering a habit of running from confrontations. While it might seem like this keeps the peace, it actually allows problems to fester, leading to resentment and miscommunication. Learning to engage in healthy disagreements, where issues are addressed respectfully and constructively, is key to breaking this cycle. It’s about finding your voice and understanding that conflict, when handled correctly, can lead to growth and deeper understanding.

5. Smoking or Drinking

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If your parents used tobacco or alcohol as stress relievers or social lubricants, it’s likely you’ve absorbed the message that these habits are normal coping mechanisms. This normalization can make it challenging to recognize when these behaviors become harmful rather than recreational. Breaking free from these patterns may require you to find healthier stress-relief methods and social activities that don’t center around substance use. It’s about redefining what relaxation and socialization look like for you, separate from the examples you grew up with.

6. Neglecting Self-Care

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Witnessing your parents constantly putting their needs last teaches you to undervalue self-care. This habit of self-neglect can manifest in various ways, from ignoring your physical health to sidelining your mental well-being. The lesson accidentally learned is that self-care is a luxury, not a necessity. To break this cycle, it’s crucial to consciously prioritize your health and happiness, recognizing that taking care of yourself isn’t selfish—it’s essential. Integrating self-care into your routine can start with small, manageable acts that honor your needs, setting a new precedent for how you treat yourself.

7. Being a Perfectionist

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Growing up in a household where only the best was good enough can instill a crippling fear of failure and an unattainable standard of perfection. This pressure can lead to constant self-criticism and an inability to appreciate your achievements, no matter how significant. The key to overcoming this ingrained perfectionism is to embrace imperfection and recognize the value in effort and progress, not just flawless outcomes. Learning to celebrate small victories and accept mistakes as part of the growth process can help you find a healthier balance.

8. Passive-Aggressiveness

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If your family’s go-to communication style was indirect and underhanded, chances are you’ve mastered the art of passive aggression. This communication style is a defense mechanism, avoiding direct conflict but expressing discontent in roundabout ways. Overcoming this habit involves practicing direct, honest communication, even when it feels uncomfortable. It’s about expressing your needs and frustrations openly, fostering an environment where issues can be addressed head-on, leading to more authentic and constructive interactions.

9. Hoarding

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When your parents held onto everything “just in case,” they were teaching you to find security in possessions, leading to hoarding tendencies. This behavior often stems from emotional attachments to objects or a fear of scarcity. To combat this, it’s essential to cultivate a mindset of abundance and learn to detach your sense of security from material things. Practicing mindfulness and decluttering can be therapeutic steps towards letting go, helping you create a living space that reflects who you are now, not just a storage space for the past.

10. Being Overly Critical

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If criticism was the norm in your household, you might find yourself adopting a hypercritical view of yourself and others. This habit can strain relationships and erode self-esteem, as nothing ever feels good enough. Overcoming this requires practicing compassion and empathy, both for yourself and others. Reminding yourself that perfection is unattainable and that mistakes are part of being human can help soften this critical edge, fostering a more supportive and understanding approach to life’s imperfections.

11. Fear of Failure

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When your worth was measured by your achievements, and failure was not an option, it instills a paralyzing fear of taking risks. This fear can hold you back from pursuing new opportunities or following your passions. To combat this, it’s important to redefine what failure means to you, viewing it not as a reflection of your worth but as a valuable learning experience. Embracing a growth mindset, where challenges are seen as opportunities to grow, can help you step out of your comfort zone with confidence.

12. Lack of Discipline

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If rules and structure were absent in your upbringing, creating self-discipline as an adult can feel daunting. Without a model for setting and adhering to boundaries, you might struggle with consistency and motivation. Building discipline starts with small, achievable goals, creating routines that provide structure and a sense of accomplishment. It’s about gradually building the self-regulation skills you weren’t taught, celebrating progress along the way.

13. Difficulty Trusting People

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Growing up in an environment where trust was frequently questioned or where warnings against trusting others were common can leave you with deep-seated trust issues. This skepticism can be a barrier to forming close relationships, as you might constantly anticipate betrayal or disappointment. Overcoming this requires a conscious effort to give people the benefit of the doubt, coupled with healthy boundaries. Learning to trust involves understanding that while not everyone will meet your expectations, it’s essential for building meaningful connections.

14. Constantly Seeking Approval

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If your parents’ love and attention were conditional on your achievements, you might find yourself in a perpetual state of performance, seeking validation for everything you do. This constant need for external approval can be exhausting and unfulfilling. To combat this, it’s crucial to cultivate a sense of self-worth that is independent of others’ opinions or accolades. Practicing self-compassion, setting personal goals, and celebrating your own successes can help shift the focus from external validation to internal satisfaction.

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Phoebe Mertens is a writer, speaker, and strategist who has helped dozens of female-founded and led companies reach success in areas such a finance, tech, science, and fashion. Her keen eye for detail and her innovative approach to modern womanhood makes her one of the most sought-out in her industry, and there's nothing she loves more than to see these companies shine.

With an MBA from NYU's Stern School of Business and features in Forbes and Fast Company she Phoebe has proven she knows her stuff. While she doesn't use social media, she does have a private Instagram just to look at pictures of cats.