There’s an old saying that goes “Spare the rod and spoil the child.” How old? Well, it’s literally in the Old Testament. More accurately, it’s a shortening of Proverbs 13:24 which says:

“Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.”
(New International Version)

It’s a fairly controversial statement now. “Your kid will turn out bad if you don’t hit them with a stick sometimes” is not so much viewed as timeless wisdom as it is, yanno, the encouragement of child abuse.

But even parents who aren’t physically abusive can be so severe that their efforts not to “spoil” inflict more damage than good.

Let’s hear a few perspectives from people who grew up in pretty authoritarian households.

29. Shutting up

And shutting down.

Source: Whisper

28. Imagination

How good of an artist are you though?

Source: Whisper

27. Decisions, decisions

When you’re taught that you’ll always be in trouble, it becomes impossible to see any choice as good.

Source: Whisper

26. Find the joy

“Do everything my way or you’ll never be happy” isn’t a recipe for success.

Source: Whisper

25. The stricture

Lying is indeed bad, I guess.

Source: Whisper

24. It’s a rush

When your tactics backfire.

Source: Whisper

23. Anxious

A lot of people deal with this.

Source: Whisper

22. Crime scene


Source: Whisper

21. Job performance

If you can only measure your worth in numbers, you’re never going to feel worthy.

Source: Whisper

11. Twenty something

Um. Move out as fast as you possibly can?

Source: Whisper

10. Authoritarian

It can be hard to get a sense of what freedom is.

Source: Whisper

9. A nice excuse

“Can’t, mom said no.”

Source: Whisper

8. It goes on and on

This is what happens when it’s less about nurture and more about power.

Source: Whisper

7. A matter of perspective

These are the cycles that have to first be recognized in order to be stopped.

Source: Whisper

6. Too much freedom?

You don’t wanna let them ruin themselves.

Source: Whisper

5. The lockdown

Who? What? When? Where? Why? How many? How come?

Source: Whisper

4. Better late than never

Parents, just know, eventually they’ll get access to the thing you forbid.

Source: Whisper

3. Nothing going on

I can feel the angst radiating off of this one.

Source: Whisper

2. Uninvolved

The pressure mounts and you just wanna go.

Source: Whisper

1. It all goes somewhere


Source: Whisper

Good lord, that’s rough.

What parenting style did you grow up with? How did it work out in retrospect?

Tell us in the comments.