Heartbreaking Reddit Thread Explains What It Means to Have Loving Parents to Those Who May Never Know

When asked what it's like to have loving parents, commenters on Reddit weighed in with their most heartwarming examples.

Laughing daughter embracing mother while sitting on couch with family in living room
Photo: Thomas Barwick

Time and again, research has shown just how important it is for children to grow up with healthy emotional support from their parents. Child Trends, a nonprofit research organization that's focused on improving the lives and prospects of children, youth, and their families, points out that warmth in the parent-child relationship is related to positive outcomes for children. It's been linked to higher self-esteem, better parent-child communication, and fewer psychological and behavior problems.

In a recent Reddit post, one poster asked the community to describe what this type of relationship might look like in real life. The original poster (OP), writing under the handle Cocs365, explained further down in the thread that they were watching a YouTube video of a woman doing a hair tutorial and her daughter came up to her. "The mother was nothing but loving," recalled the OP. "Showering her little girl with compliments and telling how much she loved her. It really made me curious about what it’s like to grow up with parents like that." That curiosity led them to ask the community, "What's it like having loving parents?" to which they offered a variety of heartwarming examples. Here are just a few.

They Always Have Your Back

Writing under the handle Oiolaire, one Redditor said they have the knowledge that their parents will always have their back. "They don't tell me they are happy or mad with my life choices, but tell me that I am the one who need to live with them and as long as I am happy, they are too," they wrote. "They weren't perfect though, but they were able to apologize when they realized they deeply hurt me. They always explained their parenting choices, and I never once in my life heard the famous 'my house, my rules.'"

They went on to note that another important trait is loyalty. If they were mocked by other family members or adults, "they would always step in and defend me," oiolaire noted. "Always took my feelings seriously."

Octopus_420 described this same concept, writing, "Best way I can describe it is just a general feeling of security. Just knowing that they're behind you 100 percent, and even when they're mad at you, it's almost always because they're trying to help you in the long run."

They Are Accepting

Tea24601 explained, "My dad would always say, 'If you fail your exam, I'll make you croissants.' I'm super type A and would stress out a LOT about tests in high school. But I always knew that no matter what I did in life, my dad would do nothing but love me."

ImmyJDT agreed, emphasizing that loving parents offer "the feeling of acceptance, understanding, and security."

They Offer a Strong Foundation

Canitreallygetworse explained that they feel like they have their parents behind them when it comes to making major decisions, because they operate as a collective, and they also appreciate how responsible their parents have been over the years. "We operate as a family, make decisions as a family. Like every important decision I make is not all on me, it's as a family, so it's low risk, high reward," they wrote. "A big part of parents being loving is parents being responsible, and my parents have always been responsible adults. I view my parents as strong figures, anchors. They have their moments of weakness but overwhelmingly are always strong."

They Will Do Anything for Their Kids

Loving parents also support their family through action, pointed out DressYourLonliness, who shared, "About 12 years ago, my father was deported and left behind five kids. My father was they only source of income, so when he got deported we really did not know what to expect. I saw a side of my mom I never knew existed. She started selling tamales and working a few jobs here and there just to make ends meet. We had to live in a garage, we had to live in a single room, try putting six people in a single room. Through it all, my mother never complained, and I never saw her cry. We suffered for years and still do, but not as much compared to back then. I work and help out as much as I can and now two of my siblings work and help her out. But regardless, she is still working six days a week and so am I. This is what having a loving parent is like. A parent who will go through hell just to make ends meet. Always showing us love no matter how hard it got."

They Set a Positive Example by Loving One Another

Although not every couple raising a child together is married or in a relationship with one another, loving parents will love one another as best they can, for the benefit of their child, noted partimecollegeboy. "The most beautiful part is watching your parents love each other," he wrote. "Didn’t even see how this would be valuable until I became an adult and learned that not everyone gets to grow up seeing healthy love. This plays an important factor in the relationships I have, and it’s the reason why I’m glad to say I’m a healthy S.O. Whenever I hear about people I know in abusive and toxic relationships, the first thing I always ask is how was their parents' relationship. Trauma is a real and unfortunate learning mechanism."

The Bottom Line

A Redditor named Karensutton122 summed it up: A loving parent is a parent who can be counted on. "If I got in trouble, I knew what to expect," she wrote. "If I needed something—clothes, being taken somewhere, stuff for school—they always provided it. Always supportive, loved me, loved my siblings, loved my spouse and loved my four kids. Came to every holiday, birthday, etc. with food/presents. Went to every school assembly my siblings and I had, then did the same for the grandkids. The love was always, always there."

The challenges that come with raising kids are numerous. It's even harder these days. But judging from this thread, what truly matters is a parent's ability to provide unconditional love and support. All the parents who are trying their best to do exactly that deserve a round of applause.

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