People Share Things From Childhood That Didn’t Fully Understand Until They Grew Up

The world looks so different through the eyes of a child. When you’re young, your worldview is pretty much a few blocks wide, and adults generally try to protect their children from some hard truths.

These Reddit users came together to share things about their childhoods that they didn’t realize or fully understand until they reached adulthood.

So It All Was An Elaborate Scare Tactic?

students sitting in classroom
Photo Credit: MARTIN BUREAU / AFP via Getty Images // Story Credit: Reddit / j1akey
Photo Credit: MARTIN BUREAU / AFP via Getty Images // Story Credit: Reddit / j1akey

“Remember that ‘permanent record’ everyone told you all the bad things you did would go on when you were in high school? Unless you actually went to jail for something, it was meaningless.”

All Those Extra Special Things Your Parents Did

GettyImages-1048023318
Photo Credit: Sean Gallup / Getty Images // Story Credit: Reddit / Crystal_Munnin
Photo Credit: Sean Gallup / Getty Images // Story Credit: Reddit / Crystal_Munnin

“I recently realized that my dad always took the long way whenever he would drive me back to my mom’s house so that we’d have a little more time together.”

Lifetime Bans Aren’t That Serious, Kiddo

Food Lion grocery store logo
Photo Credit: JIM WATSON / AFP via Getty Images // Story Credit: Reddit
Photo Credit: JIM WATSON / AFP via Getty Images // Story Credit: Reddit

“In 1997, I was caught stealing cigarettes from Food Lion. The manager said I was banned from all Food Lions for life. I didn’t muster up the courage to go into one until my twenties and then I realized I had nothing to fear.”

Your Parents Really Are Just Humans

A girls walks to her primary school with her mother
Photo Credit: LOIC VENANCE / AFP via Getty Images // Story Credit: Reddit / ripponguy
Photo Credit: LOIC VENANCE / AFP via Getty Images // Story Credit: Reddit / ripponguy

“That our parents are just humans with erratic feelings, emotions, and faults just like kids and teenagers; they aren’t these ‘know-all’ beings we see them as when we are kids. They’re kinda just going through the motions of life too—not always as in control as I thought.”

Happy Birthday, Little Jimmy!

children at birthday party, mother serving birthday cake
Photo Credfit: H. Armstrong Roberts / Retrofile / Getty Images // Story Credit: Reddit
Photo Credfit: H. Armstrong Roberts / Retrofile / Getty Images // Story Credit: Reddit

“Now that I am older, I realize that kids’ birthday parties were never really about the kids, but an excuse for parents to socialize and drink while keeping the kids occupied.”

High School Musical Was Right: We Really Are All In This Together

Teens look at their iPhones
Photo Credit: Robert Nickelsberg / Getty Images // Story Credit: Reddit / AtomicMonkeyTheFirst
Photo Credit: Robert Nickelsberg / Getty Images // Story Credit: Reddit / AtomicMonkeyTheFirst

“Though you feel alone through all the insecurity and worrying you experience as a teenager, everyone your age is also going through exactly the same stuff, and you’re all just covering it up.”

Let’s Just Hope That Doggy Heaven Is Real

Lucas, a six year-old, Staffordshire Bull Terrier
Photo Credit: Jack Taylor / Getty Images // Story Credit: Reddit / Dogzillas_Mom
Photo Credit: Jack Taylor / Getty Images // Story Credit: Reddit / Dogzillas_Mom

“There was no farm where my mom took my dog to live happily ever after. 🙁

“Honestly, finding out your furry pal isn’t actually out there living their best life but is actually dead is such a traumatizing realization. R.I.P. to my first dog, Max.”

The Length Of A Friendship Doesn’t Relate To How Good A Friendship Is

GettyImages-144079688
Photo Credit: Joe Sohm / Visions of America / Universal Images Group via Getty Images // Story Credit: Reddit
Photo Credit: Joe Sohm / Visions of America / Universal Images Group via Getty Images // Story Credit: Reddit

“Most of your friends will be temporary, and that’s OK. Not every friendship needs to be ‘I’ll love you to the end.’ Some of them are just for a few months, like seasons of your life.”

Finally, Some Alone Time!

View of an elegant bathroom
Photo Credit: Quick Image / Construction Photography / Avalon / Getty Images // Story Credit: Reddit / TheDerekCarr
Photo Credit: Quick Image / Construction Photography / Avalon / Getty Images // Story Credit: Reddit / TheDerekCarr

“I realize why my dad took such long poops. It was his only time alone.”

You don’t realize how peaceful and exciting it is to go to the bathroom until it’s the only place where you can be alone and take a breather.

Life Really Is Not Always Fair

worker cutting steel at a factory
Photo Credit: – / AFP via Getty Images // Story Credit: Reddit / sjmiv
Photo Credit: – / AFP via Getty Images // Story Credit: Reddit / sjmiv

“Some people don’t have to work hard to make good money. Sometimes they just get lucky.”

When you’re a kid, you’re taught that if you work hard, you’ll succeed. When you get older, you realize that’s not always the reality.

Some People Never Really Grow Up

Adam Gilchrist of Australia hides with his son Harry
Photo Credit: Hamish Blair / Getty Images // Story Credit: Reddit / SheboyganTone
Photo Credit: Hamish Blair / Getty Images // Story Credit: Reddit / SheboyganTone

“I’ve seen so much childish (or at least what I consider childish) behavior from adults that I’ve realized aging and maturing don’t always go hand in hand. Also, people can get away with a lot more than I thought (with respect to cheating, lying, etc.), and since we’re all competing in life in some way, most people believe it’s just part of the game.”

Age Really Is Just A Number

Two elderly women push shopping carts down a street
Photo Credit: Sean Gallup / Getty Images // Story Credit: Reddit / thatguyonthestage
Photo Credit: Sean Gallup / Getty Images // Story Credit: Reddit / thatguyonthestage

“My definition of ‘old’ changes. At one point in my life, I believed that 25 was old, and when I was 25 I couldn’t fathom being 40; however, I’m well past 40 now and having the time of my life. I wish I could have gotten to my 40s earlier!”

Love Isn’t As Simple As You Thought

bride and groom at wedding
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Analise Benevides // Story Credit: Reddit / rayvin4000
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Analise Benevides // Story Credit: Reddit / rayvin4000

“That parents don’t just fall in love and stay in the same state of love forever.”

The reality is that marriage isn’t a fairytale, and the way you love someone is constantly changing over time, but that’s okay.

He’s Here For A Good Time

A father making funny faces at his baby daughter at bathtime
Photo Credit: Lisa Wiltse / Corbis via Getty Images // Story Credit: Reddit
Photo Credit: Lisa Wiltse / Corbis via Getty Images // Story Credit: Reddit

“It’s not that my dad was naturally uncool/cringey, or that he wasn’t aware that he was uncool/cringey, he just did not care what dumb kids think and at times went out of his way to make things cringey or uncomfortable for his own dry entertainment.”

Things Weren’t As Innocent As You Thought

six-year-old child with headphones on
Photo Credit: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images // Story Credit: Reddit / jvmaxwell
Photo Credit: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images // Story Credit: Reddit / jvmaxwell

“As a parent myself now, I realized that one Saturday my mom brought me snacks and said, ‘Play your SNES and just stay in your room until I say you can come out,’ was so she and me dad could spend the day in bed.

I remember playing through a whole season of NBA Jam T.E. that afternoon, and it stood out because usually I wasn’t allowed to play that much.”

No One Has Anything Figured Out

man looks upset with hand on head
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Nik Shuliahin // Story Credit: Reddit / TheseNthose
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Nik Shuliahin // Story Credit: Reddit / TheseNthose

“As a kid, I looked at every adult thinking they had their lives figured out. As an adult, I realize that 70–80% of people are lost and just trying to keep things from falling apart.”

As Long As They Had Fun With It!

adults at pool party in Palm Springs, California, January 1970
Photo Credit: Slim Aarons / Getty Images // Story Credit: Reddit / SheridanCecrops
Photo Credit: Slim Aarons / Getty Images // Story Credit: Reddit / SheridanCecrops

“I’m pretty sure my parents were classic, ’70s era swingers. They had lots and LOTS of card-playing parties that lasted well past when all the kids went to sleep. One day, I saw my mom putting away a book called Open Marriage. I asked what that was about and she just said, ‘Oh, um, it’s about being open and honest in a marriage.'”

Death Is Hard For Everyone Around The Deceased

people standing around casket
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Rhodi Lopez // Story Credit: Reddit / 210_Daddy
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Rhodi Lopez // Story Credit: Reddit / 210_Daddy

“Funeral services aren’t for the dead: they’re to help those left behind.”

In all reality, the death of a loved one is hard. It’s difficult to process, and gathering to remember passed friends and family is one way to ease the pain.

Cough Syrup Is Nothing Compared To Jack Daniels

Cold medicine for sale in Walgreens
Photo Credit: Jeff Greenberg / Universal Images Group via Getty Images // Story Credit: Reddit / Mamoxo
Photo Credit: Jeff Greenberg / Universal Images Group via Getty Images // Story Credit: Reddit / Mamoxo

“Cough syrup is exponentially easier to take as an adult after taking shots of alcohol. No wonder why our parents would get so frustrated with us when we got sick and complained about drinking it!”

It’s Unfortunate We’ve Wasted So Much Time On It

man looks stressed while looking at computer screen
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Tim Gouw // Story Credit: Reddit
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Tim Gouw // Story Credit: Reddit

“Worrying is useless. I don’t like the feeling, but it doesn’t accomplish anything.”

Worrying is a lot like a treadmill: it gives you something to do, but it doesn’t really get you anywhere.

That’s What Movies Were For?

GettyImages-171596054
Photo Credit: JUNG YEON-JE / AFP via Getty Images // Story Credit: Reddit / Supercaptaincat
Photo Credit: JUNG YEON-JE / AFP via Getty Images // Story Credit: Reddit / Supercaptaincat

“When the teacher plays a movie unexpectedly they are most likely hungover or otherwise incapacitated.”

Honestly, I respect teachers because the last thing I would want to deal with while hungover is 30 children.

Stay Young Forever, Kids

man in front of moving subway train
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Amos Bar-Zeev Story Credit: Reddit / ibheatherp
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Amos Bar-Zeev Story Credit: Reddit / ibheatherp

“Growing up is a trap. When you’re a kid (especially as a teen), you can’t wait to grow up so you can do whatever you want and no one can tell you what to do; then you realize being an adult is all basically just looking for a better deal on car insurance, getting excited about new kitchen gadgets, and wishing you were home instead.”

It Was Not All Fun And Games

man blowing in breathalyzer
Photo Credit: Michal Fludra / NurPhoto via Getty Images // Story Credit: Reddit / Am-I-Introspective
Photo Credit: Michal Fludra / NurPhoto via Getty Images // Story Credit: Reddit / Am-I-Introspective

“I recently realized that my uncle was not letting me blow the breathalyzer inside his car just for fun.'”

Um, should I start writing a police report on this guy’s uncle?

You Missed Everything Going On In The Background

Studio image of an angry man shouting into a telephone receiver
Photo Credit: Lambert / Getty Images // Story Credit: Reddit / ThinkerTanker
Photo Credit: Lambert / Getty Images // Story Credit: Reddit / ThinkerTanker

“One of the main reasons my dad was so angry and hair-trigger tempered all the time was because money was tighter than he let on, and his employment was inconsistent.”

It Wasn’t Always About You

Baby asleep in fathers arms
Photo Credit: Joe Sohm / Visions of America / Universal Images Group via Getty Images // Story Credit: Reddit
Photo Credit: Joe Sohm / Visions of America / Universal Images Group via Getty Images // Story Credit: Reddit

“I felt like a total jerk when I realized that naptime as a kid (which I was belligerent in my opposition to when I was 3) was to give my mom a break; it had nothing to do with me being tired.”

Everything Is About Money, At The End Of It

A student naps in a lecture hall
Photo Credit: Sean Gallup / Getty Images // Story Credit: Reddit
Photo Credit: Sean Gallup / Getty Images // Story Credit: Reddit

“I’ve realized everything in America is about making a buck. I went back to school recently, and the entire process just screams how corporate college and grad school is. It’s ridiculous that you have to pay to take a test, then an application fee, and then for classes!”

No Age Group Is Distinctively “Cool”

A group of teens look at a photograph they took on a smartphone in Times Square
Photo Credit: Drew Angerer / Getty Images // Story Credit: Reddit / Jake_Yonna
Photo Credit: Drew Angerer / Getty Images // Story Credit: Reddit / Jake_Yonna

“When I was five, I thought teenagers were cool. When I was a teenager, I realized I was wrong and believed that people in their twenties were cool and had their ideas clear. Now I’m in my twenties and I’ve learned that nobody has anything clear in life.”

Not Everything Is A Reflection Of Your Actions

man looking down and away from camera
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Andrew Neel // Story Credit: Reddit / mallykv
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Andrew Neel // Story Credit: Reddit / mallykv

“People don’t always push you away because you’re a terrible person. A lot of times, people push you away because they are hiding things.”

Realizing that not everything other people do is about you is a huge part of growing up.

Parents Are Filthy Liars

boy on dad's shoulders
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Kelli McClintock // Story Credit: black_toad
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Kelli McClintock // Story Credit: black_toad

“I didn’t realize that parents lie to children all the time when I was younger. Sometimes, they’re trying to cover their mistakes; other times, they don’t know the answer, and sometimes they want to get kids off a particular line of questioning.”

Not Everyone Has The Same Funds And Opportunities

A man begs for loose change on the streets of Manchester
Photo Credit: Christopher Furlong / Getty Images // Story Credit: old_gold_mountain
Photo Credit: Christopher Furlong / Getty Images // Story Credit: old_gold_mountain

“When I was younger I never really realized just how different life could be from adult to adult. As a kid, you get the sense that everyone is on basically equal footing. After all, we all go to basically the same schools and we all get fed and have a roof over our heads.

“I didn’t realize that adult life is basically a free for all, and it’s what you make of it; some people have really bad luck and have a much harder time keeping afloat than others and that security and happiness are far from guaranteed.”