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Imadethisupwithnoforethought's avatar

What clear parenting mistakes did your parents make?

Asked by Imadethisupwithnoforethought (14355 points ) December 26th, 2012

Seriously, when you think of the things you did when you were a teenager, what was the most shocking thing your parents allowed you to do?

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27 Answers

pleiades's avatar

Oh never mind I misread the details, edited.

augustlan's avatar

Hm, it might be a shorter list if you asked me what mistakes my single mother didn’t make. There were an awful lot of them, to be honest. If we’re just limiting this to allowing teenage hijinks, I’ll go with the fact that she never knew where I was in the middle of the night. I snuck out constantly, and she didn’t have a clue.

She also allowed my friends and I to drink and smoke pot in her house.

Sjcluna's avatar

My mother trusted us to make our own mistakes and confide in her if we needed to. This allowed us to trust her and ensure that she always knew where we were and what we were doing to the point that she knew we were out all night smoking pot etc etc but at least we weren’t lying to her. The mistake our Father made was to have affairs so we never trusted him – it resulted in him having little respect from us as daughters (we’re fine now we’re adults). My point is, parents allowing their children to be teenagers (and do what teenagers will inevitably do) is less damaging than not allowing them the freedom to make their own mistakes.

Bellatrix's avatar

My parents were very strict. Weirdly though, I remember getting home totally pissed one night. I was sliding down the door I was so drunk. I don’t remember them going off at me at all. The way I recall it, they laughed. Really though, it didn’t do me any harm.

If he had different options, I would wish my dad had not stayed with my stepmother. I don’t think he did have many options though so who am I to judge him for doing the best he could.

Shippy's avatar

I had zany parents. They loved cocktail circuit, mom was very glamorous and dad quite handsome. But both were drunk most of the time. We sailed all over the world, we flew, we even drove, to get away from something. Themselves more likely. When I write my book, it will be called “Chasing the Rainbow”.

ucme's avatar

They got divorced, never a positive step, at least for the children.

bucko's avatar

I don’t remember telling my parents the whole truth very often as a teenager.

Brian1946's avatar

The clearest parenting mistake that my parents made was my conception. ;-o

marinelife's avatar

My father was filled with rage, which came out at the least provocation.

JLeslie's avatar

The most dangerous things I did was one time I drve the car before I was licensed and I had no experience driving. I was pressured by my boyfriend to do it. I went out of my lane on a curve and was very lucky I did not crash into oncoming traffic. The other thing was driving downtown on my own and walking from the parking garage to a club by myself. But, my parents didn’t allow me to do those things.

My parents were quite liberal and trusting of me, and overall I was trustworthy. I didn’t drink or get high, and most of the time used good judgement.

As far as whether my parents made some mistakes in general, which is at first what I thought this Q was about until I read the details, they certainly could have probably done some things better. Probably more emphasis on schoolwork and working at something would have helped. And, more encouragement to pursue the things I enjoyed in a more thorough way. Also, our house became very messy once I hit my teens and that was a problem; a bigger problem than you might think. My parents fought a lot also, We used to wish they would get divorced to bring some calm to the house.

gondwanalon's avatar

When my Dad died when I was 4 years old my Mom should have dropped my two older Sisters and I off at the nearest orphanage. But no my Mom had to try to raise her kids on her own with no help from the State or Federal governments. To make a long story short all of our lives were miserable.

DominicX's avatar

Well, when I was an older teenager, my parents were well aware of the fact that I drank underage and didn’t really care, as long as I didn’t drive drunk (which I never did). They didn’t love it or anything, but they didn’t disapprove of it. Other people I knew had to lie to their parents about their partying and drinking, whereas I could just tell them the truth.

JLeslie's avatar

@DominicX And, you think that was a mistake? You think they should have done it differently? Been more disapproving of your underage drinking?

DominicX's avatar

@JLeslie Not really. That was just the only thing I could think of, that other people might view as a mistake; it was certainly the most “permissive” thing my parents did and the most they allowed me to get away with.

Seek's avatar

They allowed me to give up having a normal childhood in order to devote far too many years of my life to religion. A little piety, sure, but forsaking social development in deference to Biblical fundamentalism? That’s just not normal, people. Kids need friends and play time. Teenagers even more so.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

My bio dad not only allowed me to smoke, he bought cigarettes for me. Dumbass. If he hadn’t done that, it would have been more difficult for me to smoke, and I might have quit long ago. I dunno.

burntbonez's avatar

They never showed a disagreement. So I thought they always agreed with each other. So later on, in every relationship I’ve had, there comes a time when we disagree fairly seriously, and this makes me feel like I’m doing something wrong and am not fit to be in the relationship. I generally find the relationships disintegrating after that, no matter what I try to do. Thanks Mom and Dad.

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

I needed a break before college, but my parents forbid me from taking one. They told me that I had to go immediately after high school, or I’d be on my own. I would have needed to live independently, support myself financially, and—when the time came to attend college—pay 100% of the costs.

I have a September birthday. This means that I was just 17 when I went away to college. I was much too immature and unprepared to be there. I didn’t have the discipline to study or show up for class, and my grades were what you’d expect.

I think that my life would have gone very differently if I’d just stayed at home, worked hard, and spent a year or two growing up.

wundayatta's avatar

To this day, I ask my parents what they were thinking when I proposed to raise two calves so we could have meat. We had no barn. No field. No fence. No water for the animals. No place to put the meat at the end of it. But they said yes!

The bigger mistake was my own. I built all those things, and thought it was nothing. Most people would have put it on a resume and shown how entrepreneurial they were. Or something. I never made any money, but I learned a lot, I think. Just not the important lesson: which was to believe that the stuff I do is worth something. To this day, I have yet to learn that one. And that, I’m afraid, was my parents greatest parenting mistake with me. They never told me I was any good.

Bellatrix's avatar

Would you have believed them if they had @wundayatta? I think believing we are worthwhile is something that comes from within. We can be told we are ‘good’ until the calves come home, but if we have low self-esteem we are unlikely to believe it.

dabbler's avatar

Mom was a rageaholic. Dad was too quiet at times he could have stood up to that, but he did not know how. They both did not know how brilliant they were.
Also, they gave us kids a typical, for working-class Roman Catholics, dysfunctional lack of understanding about sex and relationships.
I miss ‘em anyway, more every year.

wundayatta's avatar

@Bellatrix Hard to know, isn’t it? But we rely on our parents for accurate feedback. If not them, then who? And if they exaggerate how good we are, it seems that is much better than them exaggerating how bad we are. If we believe in ourselves we often can do things that are otherwise impossible. If we don’t believe in ourselves, we often stop ourselves before we even start.

I’ve never believed I was any good compared to others. So who knows what I haven’t done because I didn’t think I was capable, as my parents made me believe by their lack of praise, for anything I did.

AshLeigh's avatar

Letting me homeschool, when she didn’t have the skills to teach me. It’s amazing that I know how to do math.

YARNLADY's avatar

Neither my parents nor society as a whole had a clue how to get treatment for a schizophrenic person. I think my brother would have had a better life if he had received the early treatment he needed. I’m not even sure there was a valid treatment in the 1940’s/50’s.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Moving thousands of miles away (separate ends of the continent) and leaving us behind. I was 18, sister was 16. Mom took the youngest (15) with her. I still needed my mom and dad and I’m sure my sister needed her even more than I did.

blueiiznh's avatar

Making me wear paisley pants.
I still have nightmares about those. I think is is why green is still to this day my least liked color.

JLeslie's avatar

@blueiiznh Hahaha. I just flashed on the clothes I wore when I was little. Lots of orange. My husband loves orange. I swear I married my mother, I say it all the time. I had not thought of it in terms of clothing colors though until now. Just another thing I can say is a similarity.

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