Did your parents push the "when I was your age" guilt trip on you?

When I was growing up it seemed like every time we would ask for something it was “we didnt have that when I was growing up” and “your so LUCKY, because when I was your age”… la la la.
And it worked. I would feel depressed and ashamed for myself and drop the topic. At least until I got older and I stopped taking it. More on that later.

Ok, I get it. They were poor. Depression era poor. Having to work when you were 10 - poor. I just never understood the reason to always throw things back at their kids and make them feel guilty for wanting things?

Why? Wouldn’t a parent WANT a better life for their kid?

Do you think they were a little jealous?

Or maybe it was just habit and reaction? Like years ago when our first son was born we had made up this really nice nursery for him. We painted, put in nice furniture and all. We showed the pictures to family and while most said they admired our work, others like my grandmother just replied “I never had such nice things for my children”.

After that I avowed to either not let it get to me (like they were too old to know any better) or I would stand up and tell them to quit throwing things back (and it usually got them to stop).

What do you think?

Did your relatives do this to you and how did you react?

Just smile and say, “Well my child deserves better things than yours ever did.”

One of my favorite parentisms came from my sister-in-law, who responded to her daughter’s request for expensive candy with, "When I was your age, we had to eat mud pies. We went out in the rain and made them with our own hands. Then we ate them . . . and we liked them".

My parents grew up during WWII - born at the end of The Great Depression.

The only thing we would be told was to not waste food, because there were starving kids in Korea and/or China.

Interestingly, my parents never really pulled this on me. But I have caught myself applying to my own kids. It might be effective if used sparingly as a thought experiment, not an all out guilt trip. But if every day you’re telling your kids what little shits they are because you were never so privileged, yeah that wears thin real quick.

My dad, who grew up during the Great Depression, always retrieved bullet casings when we went to the rifle range, even though a new pack only cost around $15. He thought his friend Pasquale wasted a lot of bullets. He’d tell me when he was growing up, he had to provide food for his family, so he’d hunt squirrels and shoot them in the head so he wouldn’t waste bullets.

I told my aunt what he said, and she looked really exasperated. “That’s not true. That never happened!”

Yea, that’s another one. Like we were supposed to send them our green beans or something.

For me, “when I was your age” wasn’t a guilt trip, but a push for me to take on additional responsibility.

One I wasn’t always thrilled about - but handled - was being responsible for mowing the lawn, and looking after the lawnmower, starting around age 11.

One I truly enjoyed - and didn’t see as unusual until much later - was at age 12 heading off on a 5-day canoe trip with a friend of the same age; just the two of us. We both had considerable canoe and camping experience, and the trip went well. (I suspect a parent today could get in trouble for this.)

My grandmother was a teenager with her first job during the Depression. When I was 17 and had my first job, she said “When I was your age, I took my first paycheck and went and bought the best coat in town!” I didn’t say anything and about five minutes later she said “You couldn’t buy the best coat in town with your paycheck, could you?”


“well, I’ll never tell that story again!”

And she didn’t. She never pulled the “when I was your age” thing again.

Never; not even my mother. Gramma (who lived with us all my life and basically raised me) sometimes did but always in a positive way “Isn’t it amazinbg that I can see movies in the living room? When I was a kid we didn’t even have movies!” Gramma was born like 1886 so a l,ot of what she lived to see amazed her in a terrifically good way.
Now me on the other hand --------- I’m always using that line on the runny-nosed crumb-crunching snot-faced rug-rats I work with but more as a standing joke. Unless I ever catch one of them in my yard. :wink:

No, my parents didn’t do that at all, from memory. They were teenagers during WW11, could remember their grandparents having gas lighting and an outside toilet, but they’d done well in life and didn’t think we should be made to feel guilty because we didn’t have rationing.

My parents used it on me & my siblings all the time. It was just as effective then as it is now that I’m using it on my own kids.

The only thing my mom threw at me was “I got all As in school” - especially when I brought home a B, or (Og forbid) a C… I suspect she was jealous that I went to college - she had to fight her dad to be allowed to graduate high school.

We’d hear the occasional “When I was a kid, movies cost a dime!” but I don’t recall much more than that. Kinda the same way I’ll tell the young 'uns that in my first computer class, I programmed with punch cards. :smiley:

I’m Asian, guilt trips are in the Asian Parenting Guide! LOL!

Actually, it wasn’t a direct guilt trip, more storytime lessons usually prompted by my asking a question about their childhood. Eating sugar cane instead of candy, how buying an ice cream bar was rare treat and in my Dad’s case, how there never was enough food at the dinner table (he had 10 siblings) for seconds, and sometimes not enough for firsts. Ironically my Mom’s food table story was a completely different story despite her having six siblings and the story of how my grandmother would sometimes purposely cook something extra just to give the pig slop man made my Dad’s story even sadder.

My Dad used to use the “I got all A’s in school” line too. I always figured he just said that because there would be no way to prove it, but when my grandfather passed away we went through his things and found my Dad’s report cards. Sure enough, he got all A’s! :eek:

Not guilt tripping, more nostalgia when I tell my young friends about $0.25 movies, hot dogs and hamburgers and how $1.00 paid for a whole days food and entertainment. My friends my age would then guilt trip me with “You got a DOLLAR to go out! I had to mow the lawn and pull weeds just to get enough for the movie!”. LOL!

My father who grew up during the Depression used to pull that. Except in his case it was usually (but not always) tongue-in-cheek. Not dissimilar to the Four Yorkshiremen routine.

They told me how it was but that was history, they went through the great depression and never really complained about it but we would often hear of jobs my dad had to take, places they were forced to live. My Dad was thrown off a train in the middle of the California desert in the summer and came very close to dying.

I got it all the time. Apparently my grandparents, who raised me, were angels and never did anything bad and endured hardship with a smile. And I’m sure some of it’s true, at least the hardship part. The 1920s and 30s were no joke.

Now, at 44, I tell my niece about how it was when I was her age, but it’s neither positive or negative, just different. Just a way to educate her on how kids used to live, and in some ways it was a lot more fun and dangerous. When I was 4 I was roaming the neighborhood. She’s not allowed in a ROOM IN THE HOUSE alone.

They might have done it on rare occasion, but only in a jesting or ironic sense. They wouldn’t have ever actually, seriously used such a tactic; it’s just not their style at all.