People Are Sharing The Biggest Mistakes They Made In Childhood And What They Learned From Them

Being a kid is all about making mistakes, and sometimes you learn the hardest lessons growing up.

Robert Capron and Zachary Gordon sceaming while wearing pajamas and sitting in bed in a scene from "Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules"
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We recently asked the BuzzFeed Community to share what they learned after a childhood mishap. Here are some of the most memorable responses:

1."This is going to sound both very lame and very dramatic. I didn't love going to friends' houses or talking on the phone. I had a friend I adored spending time with at school, but every time she'd invite me over or call me, I'd weasel out of it. She'd been sick on and off the entire school year, as in missing over a month here and there. The story was she had pneumonia she couldn't shake. Near the end of the summer, she called while I was out with my grandma on a Monday night. I never called her back because I hated phone calls."

Close-up of a landline telephone handset with buttons and a screen lit up

2."When I was 3, I listened to an older neighborhood kid who told me to put my hand in the hinges of a large gate so they could close it on my hand. I have a permanently deformed hand that can't be fixed."

"I have a strong visceral reaction to anything in a medical setting, especially when there's blood, and have horrible medical anxiety that has had me in and out of therapy. I often wonder if I could have worked in the medical field if my early exposure hadn't been so deeply negative."


3."My best friend at the time was not a friend at all. I didn't realize how toxic they were until I graduated high school. They would make fun of me all the time and make demeaning comments. We were 'best friends' for about 10 years. Listen — if anyone makes you question your worth, makes fun of your choices, or makes you feel upset or bad about yourself, they are NOT your friend. I wish I would have realized sooner."

Mara Wilson as Matilda holding school supplies while wearing a floral dress


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4."I was 12 or 13. This was the dawn of the internet when chatrooms were a big thing. I was using my mom's computer and had no idea what site I was on, but I was obsessed with heavy metal, specifically Sebastian Bach from Skid Row. I was in a chatroom called 'Boys with Long Hair,' chatting with a boy who said he was 16. The conversation turned sexual quickly. I didn't know how to handle it since it was new territory for me, but at first, I felt flattered. I gave him my address and phone number so he could call or write me. He did call one day, and he sounded old, which freaked me out. I made an excuse and got off the phone."

"The next time he called, my dad answered. He went through the roof and threatened the guy. So many terrible things could have happened that didn't (thank goodness). I learned to be more careful with my interactions online and imparted that to my children. I appreciate that kids get that message now, but the internet is still a very dangerous place for children."

—Mo, California

5."Do not, I repeat, do not use a stapler on your finger thinking it's going to staple AROUND your finger."

Travis Tedford dressed in a knight outfit and Kevin Jamal Woods wearing a plaid shirt with a dark rimmed hat screaming in a scene from "The Little Rascals"
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6."Don't chew on pens, pencils, or rubbers. I hope I don't need to explain why."


7."Always make sure your shirt doesn't just pop open. Long story short, my shirt popped open, and I didn't notice. I accidentally flashed my crush. Oops."

Lindsay Lohan's screaming while looking in a mirror in a scene from "Freaky Friday"

—Anonymous, Canada

© Walt Disney Co. / Courtesy Everett Collection

8."Magnets and televisions do NOT mix!"


9."Accidentally using a knife to try and fish out jammed bread from the toaster. This seems like such a no-brainer. But for a kid? It seemed like a feasible solution. When my mother screamed and lunged toward me in horror to prevent electrocution, it traumatized me. Now, I can't make toast without recalling that day. It permanently scarred me, and I'll never do it again."

Two slices of toasted bread popping out of a toaster

—John, Dallas, Texas

David Zaitz / Getty Images

10."I really wish I had not given into peer pressure. I started smoking at 12 because a 'best friend' essentially told me to smoke or I wouldn't be cool. God, what an idiot I was. It's OK to say no. It's OK to not be cool. It's OK to never have a drink, a toke, a hit, or a bump in your life. Please know your worth and stand up for yourself, especially when it comes to your health."

"You're young once, but you are not young and 'invincible' forever. You do grow up. Everything you do in your teens and 20s will catch up with you, and it can be very scary. Now, at almost 40, I get lung X-rays every few years, note every symptom, etc."


11."I lied to my third-grade teacher. It was over something minor he slightly scolded me for. I went home and cried to my mom, but asked her not to email him because it wasn't a big deal. My mom emailed him, and the next day the lie was uncovered. I had to apologize which was embarrassing and had him as a teacher for the rest of the year. Our relationship was damaged, and I felt he didn't trust me. I learned to tell the truth, not be so dramatic, and that lying hurts people."

A person typing on a laptop with blurred items in the background

—KS, Maryland

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12."Don't trust every adult in your life, even if they're your family and are supposed to be wiser and smarter than you. I wrongly believed when I was a child that my grandparents would never try to mislead me or cause me harm in any way. There are reasons why they're cut off from my life completely and pretend that they don't have the faintest idea why."


13."Honestly, I wish I had been less worried about school and getting good grades. I wish I had done more fun stuff and enjoyed life more. Those good grades didn't get me anywhere in life, but the anxiety I developed from the need to excel in school has stuck with me all through adulthood. I also wish I hadn't started working as early as I did. I feel like I gave up my childhood way too soon. Now, I'm a burnout adult with very little motivation to do more than the bare minimum."

Chris Evans sitting at a desk with a green apple on it as he works on an assignment in a scene from "The Perfect Score"
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14."I so, so desperately wish I hadn't listened to my pediatrician when she said that I, a growing 10-year-old within a normal weight range, was getting 'stocky' and needed to count calories, watch my weight, etc. I went from being a kid who didn't care about my body, beyond using it to play and be active, to comparing myself to all my classmates, stretching out my shirts, and being obsessed with food. Enter high school, and that leads to a full-blown eating disorder, along with a myriad of other mental health issues."

"I screwed up so much of my life in high school and college. I struggled with social activities, panicked around food, and had my collegiate athletic career derailed by several broken bones. Years later, I'm just now reaching a point where I'm neutral about my body. There will probably always be bad days for the rest of my life, and cycles where I struggle with my relationship with food. Listening to the words of that one doctor truly changed the entire path of my life and probably who I am today."


15."The whole 'just ignore the bullies and they'll go away' is the worst advice. If you ignore them, they will not go away. They will double down until you have a nervous breakdown. It happened to me in middle school. This taught me that I must stand up for myself no matter the cost."

Lindsay Lohan in a fencing outfit, holding a fencing mask under her arm, looks surprised or determined while standing outside in scene from "The Parent Trap"
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16."I wish I'd been able to transition to life in America easier. I don't think I had a close friend at any point in my school days. It somewhat messed up my life and my ability to carry conversations with people."


17."I was afraid after a ride, and my mother laughed and mocked me. I was 5 or 6. Her laughing at my legit fear showed me my emotions were ridiculous and she could not be trusted. So, it was all bottled until I moved away to college and exposed her to the rest of the family. We still hardly have a relationship, but that is OK since she is who she is: selfish."

A lively carnival scene with a large ferris wheel, various illuminated attractions, and booths at sunset

—Olive, Tennesse

Siegfried Layda / Getty Images

18."I missed the entirety of sixth grade for medical reasons. There's nothing wrong with that, but what I did wrong is that I didn't do anything to catch up, which eventually led to repeating a grade years later. I guess the lesson is to do what you have to do, even though it might suck!"


19."I was always seen as the kid who acted older than everyone else and therefore was the 'responsible and mature' friend — and I was! But having most adults think that about me as a kid has affected me as an adult. People who knew me as a child are shocked when I do adult things. Drinking, online dating, or going to a club/bar are always met with, 'Why would you want to do that? I wouldn't have expected that from you!' It's not in a mean way; it just makes me feel a little guilty for doing things I want sometimes. I would tell my childhood self that you don't need to be so mature in front of your parents. You could have some fun once in a while."

Travis Tedford pursing his lips and wearing a hat in a scene from "The Little Rascals"


© Universal Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

20."During the last year of primary school, you are asked to write down the names of three friends you want to be in the same class as when you go to secondary school. My best friend and I had a massive falling out on that day. I wrote her name on my list, but she didn't write mine on hers. This meant we were split up into different classes and didn't have any lessons together for two years. I had all sorts of trouble with the people I was in a class with, and I was badly bullied from the age of 12."

"In year nine, my best friend and I were reunited in some classes, and our friendship was rekindled. However, the damage of all that bullying was already done and didn't go away. I now suffer from anxiety and massive self-doubt, and I think about how different it would have been had she and I not argued on that day. She is massively apologetic for what transpired, and we are still best friends today. What matters is I have her now, and I'll always be grateful for that."


21.And lastly, "Never be afraid to be yourself, even if it makes you stand out. As a kid, I taught myself how to 'dim my light' to adapt to new environments and make friends. I'd intentionally shy away from opportunities that would put me in the spotlight to keep myself from being disliked by others."

Jamie Lee Curtis with her palms on her face wearing pajamas next to Lindsay Lohan looking at confused in a band tee in a scene from "Freaky Friday"

What's the most important lesson you learned from a childhood mistake? Share your story in the comments!

Note: Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.