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THEY f**k you up, your mum and dad. Philip Larkin said they don’t mean to, but you’ve got your doubts. Here are five traumas they inflicted which they still classify as ‘character building’.

Forgetting to pick you up from school

This only happened once, decades ago. However it was during a horrendous thunderstorm and you nearly caught pneumonia as you struggled to make your way home. In your parents’ eyes this is a hilarious anecdote which put much-needed hairs on your chest. To you it’s the origin story of why you haven’t had grandkids.

Taking you on an awful holiday

Normal families go on holiday to the Lake District or Portugal. Not yours, though. Instead, your parents would take you camping in the remotest, most godforsaken backwaters. Cue walks where you’d get lost for nine hours, food poisoning from ‘cooking’ sausages on the feeble camping stove, and seriously worrying you might be found dead in an isolated ravine by mountain rescue. ‘Still, it beats Center Parcs!’ your dad would beam.

Being too strict

Being a parent is a difficult balancing act. If they’re too lenient, their kids will take advantage of this softness and walk all over them. If they’re too strict, their children will develop anxiety and harbour deep-seated resentment for the rest of their lives. Shame you fall into the second camp, the first one sounds way more fun.

Not remembering your birthday

Your parents are amazed you can still remember this. So what if they forgot the most important day in every child’s calendar? In their opinion it taught you a valuable lesson about not prioritising material goods like presents. You might want to check their will just to make sure you’re not left out of that, too.

Getting divorced/staying together

Whichever one your parents did will have messed you up, or in their eyes, toughened you up. If they got divorced it taught you that love can be fleeting and complicated. And if they stayed together you learned that it’s normal for marriages to dissolve into sexless slogs. You’d have been better off being raised in a laboratory by a team of distant scientists.



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