Parenting. Yours, mine and ours

Parenting worries me. For many reasons.
I was parented gentle and possibly over-pampered. My sibs have a different view of our upbringing. They had loads more freedom and responsibility. For obvious reasons I’ve had to live with this discrepancy. I couldn’t stop it. Heck, I didn’t even notice it til I was preteen.

My own parenting was strange. I had two step children. They were incredibly young and have little to no memory of their Mother. My bio two were treated no differently. I loved babies and children. I still do.
I connect better and am less anxious around them. They speak my language and I have few problems speaking and interacting with them.

I was probably a classic helicopter Mom. I raised them gently. And listened and talked and commiserated, maybe too much.
Real life has jumped up at them, one by one. So far they’ve done ok.
I worry I may have done them a disservice.
Struggles, trials and tribulations build character.
They are characters, there’s no doubt.

If you could hang around here one weekend you’d see. It’s nuts.
Example: Son-of-a-wrek has a summer long tournament series going on. His latest invention is Slip and Slide Badminton.
I’m screaming NO, he’s sourcing large plastic sheeting. That boy ain’t right. He has more plans than an architectural firm.

School is out for the grandkids. Swimming lessons start Monday. We’ve already had a meltdown. Son and DILs youngest daughter didn’t graduate to the higher group like the older three grandkids and she’s not happy about it. She’s the most vocal and can be the unhappiest at the drop of a hat. She’s much better since she started school. That old monster still creeps in on her and us.
I try to help her. It seems it’s just something that takes her longer to get in her head and get ok with.
We’re working on it.

The grandkids are not as helicoptered as their parents were.
My Mid-dau is more lenient and trusting about safety than I ever was. I’m fretting when her boys are out alone. I worry about the pond, the critters, getting lost. Maybe it’s a me problem.

I’m afraid we’re (as a people) raising overly self absorbed young people. Something like half the kids coming out of highschool are depressed, and describe themselves as having mental problems.
They are over diagnosed, over medicated, over extended excuses to be emotional wrecks.
Surely some children have mental illness, but half?
Social media, COVID, the usual suspects, divorce, family violence, substance abuse, and poverty play parts in this.

What did children do half a century ago? There were a bunch of problems then. And all these therapies weren’t around. I assume since there was a baby boom leading to boomers, etc. They lived.

If I had a baby today I think I’d parent it with less cotton wool around them. I think.

I don’t know if I could because of my own cotton wool upbringing.

Parent is, as parent was.
Without a very big effort to change it.

(Edit, I think I misunderstood what the OP was about)

I think the issue with kids back in the boomer era having less ADHD or whatnot might not just be about kids being raised different back then, but also that there was less attention put on diagnosing them. I would imagine many ADHD/Aspergers kids were simply written off as “undisciplined” or “can’t be helped” whereas they may be likelier to get the attention of counseling or special ed today.

As for the part about “struggles, trials and tribulation build character” - I wouldn’t quite agree. Only certain types of such trials build character. In many cases, things like being bullied make a kid eventually become less of a kid, not more. Otherwise we feed into this trope that almost claims that trauma is healthy and good for you, as if it’s some sort of cardio workout for the soul. Many people today would be more confident and successful if it weren’t for having to overcome needless hardship that was akin to depriving a sapling of sunlight when it needed it most.

I understand that and hear you.
Of course, without question, I don’t mean bullying a child into behavior modification. I was put through that in a most horrific way by a therapist.

I mean simply not coaching my child to succeed at something they very well may have succeeded at anyway.

No child should be deprived, abused, beaten or denigrated.

They can be over-coddled to a harmful degree. I am phobic, anxiety prone and nervous about every little thing, because of it.
It has hurt me as an adult. And I think I may have done some of this to my children.
They don’t have my medical problems or speech impediment. And they each broke away from me at normal times.
So I hope it’s ok.

I very much hope.

I work with a young woman, married w/two kids and she often shares her parenting trials and tribulations. I listen and mostly have encouraging comments. And sometimes share my experiences as a parent of little ones. Though I keep my mouth shut most of the time when she relates certain things. Like Co-sleeping with a two yo, while hubby sleeps downstairs, and how much time she spends getting the kid back to sleep in the middle of the night. I think the baby should be sleeping in their own bed and learning to cope without mom. Illness and special circumstances no problem give all the extra cuddles as needed but at some point doesn’t mom want her own bed?

And the lengthy explanations she feels her 8 yo son requires so he knows what to expect to avoid meltdowns. Sometimes imo overexplaining expectations and future events feeds into anxiety. But that’s why I just listen and nod. And the kids are attached to their tablets but that train has left the station and ain’t returning at all for humanity I fear.

And who brings the whole family to shop for a lawnmower? That poor man, I think he’s a lil henpecked couldn’t be trusted to shop on his own for an item only he uses. Apparently he wanted a gas mower she wanted electric, guess which one they bought? And he needs permission to buy a wheelbarrow? Granted. But gah!

I agree, co-sleeping is a big no-no.

Occasionally when mine where small we had sleepovers in my bed. I didn’t really mind it. But I made it a very occasional thing. 4 kids in one bed was an experience. It was fun for about 15 minutes for me. But they enjoyed it.

Yeah, the tablet and phone thing is nuts.
The 3 yo twins can get Mom’s phone and pull up their video thing in seconds. And sit there with their heads together watching it, quietly, for longer than I’ve seen them do anything else. I can see why it’s so easy for Parents to depend on it. It’s just so easy.

The older kids have tablets. The oldest girl just got her first phone.

Man I worry.

I suspect that this is a fair-sized part of it.

My sister (born 1968) was diagnosed, as an adult (well into her 30s or 40s) with several learning disabilities, as well as ADHD. Back when she was in school, she was simply written off as being, as you note, “undisciplined,” and a bad student, and she got no particular assistance, nor sympathy, in getting through school, and no investigation or testing was done to determine if she had special needs. As a result, she dropped out of high school during her senior year.

It also likely didn’t help that she had many of the same teachers which I’d had, three years earlier, who saw me as a very smart kid, and a diligent student.

OMG. I heard “your older sister/brother had no trouble with this” so often. Usually a maths class.

Made me so mad.
Then I went home and had them do my homework. With in-class testing and my bad marks, that homework allowed me to barely pass.

Yeah, my sister had a lot of resentment towards me for a lot of years, due to that. :frowning:

Speaking from experience, they grew up unhappy and abused their own children. And when their children were depressed about that, and begged them to be able to go to therapy, they were told only weak people go to therapy. So they had no idea how close their thirteen year old came to killing herself one bright summer day. And that kid would live to be 34 before she was diagnosed with ADHD. I know that other kids with ADHD have it rougher, when they have trouble academically. But I have always been a high achiever, and feeling like every other smart kid had skills I didn’t have was hard on me. Because I knew my own potential and I blamed myself for not reaching it. And at home I was accused of deliberately not listening/paying attention, doing chores the wrong way etc. Since I was repeatedly told I would never make it in life (as a straight-A student!) I grew up with crippling self-esteem issues, and eventually, a determination to spare my kid all of that.

Kids today have higher rates of psychological problems often because their parents are trying to overcompensate for abuse and neglect. It’s not helping, but that’s where it’s coming from. Just a desperation to be the exact opposite of the people who raised them.

Unfortunately this kind of parenting can be just as harmful. It’s also toxic for the parent. There is this huge feminized push for women to sacrifice everything for their children, including their own sanity. It becomes a contest how much you’re willing to suffer for your kid. I discovered this when I was pregnant and decided to have no part of it. I formula fed, I stuck my kid in a crib on day 4 of his life, I didn’t do any of that baby wearing or co-sleeping or attachment parenting shit, no thank you. Maybe I am a little bit selfish but I think that’s good for my kid. I don’t exist to serve his every whim.

I don’t want to be a helicopter parent. But I have a kid who is developmentally behind in a lot of ways. But he’s learning, just slower than other kids.

I’m so proud of him this weekend I can’t even tell you. We cleaned the house together and he was so into it, I think because of my Sweepy app that he loves checking off tasks. He used the vacuum cleaner - normally he runs from it. Then we went to the library and he got a bunch of books on the science of blood and viruses and germ theory (that’s what he asked for!) Then we took him to the grocery store and he helped read the shopping list and put things in the cart and got through the entire checkout line with no problems (he used to bolt.) He is learning about safety rules and it’s finally sinking in. He was great in the parking lot.

This morning I woke up and he was reading quietly to himself. He wanted to do more cleaning (he really likes that app) so we did LOL. Then we went to the park and he was so good about following the rules to stay to the right for bicycles. And we walked a good 1.5 miles. I bought him a cookie and some stickers because he was just so great this weekend. I reserve the right to spoil my child for good behavior sometimes.

Last year was very hard. We did have to sacrifice a lot to get him diagnosed and into intensive therapy. It took a lot out of us. But when I look at where he was a year or even six months ago, it’s extraordinary how much he’s grown. And he may never understand this, and some of our family members certainly may never understand this, but my husband and I will go to our graves knowing how big a difference we made in our son’s life, just by being responsive to his struggles the moment we noticed them.

I’m sorry I’m rambling. I’m a little high on (legally prescribed) stimulants.

My son wants to know what his schedule is going to be down to the minute, so my life right now is constant harassment to tell him exactly how many minutes until I finish X task and then how many minutes we’re going to play etc.

Something I talked to my son about this weekend was the word uncertainty. I explained to him that we don’t always know what’s going to happen before it happens and we call that uncertainty. And that sometimes things are just uncertain and we have to accept that.

I wasn’t sure if it was sinking in but tonight he asked me yet again how many minutes until X and I said, “Remember what we learned about uncertainty?” And he actually seemed to accept that.

Now the funny thing is that I struggle with uncertainty myself!

Not a good share. I’m a boomer/Gen xer . Tough. Barely parented myself. Survivor. Raised my kids to be tough as well. Sent both of them to the Navy right out of high school (single Mom). They both got degrees in the Navy and retired 20-22 yrs later.I follow the line of go tough or go home. Your mileage may vary.

I didn’t raise kids so I never ever criticize or give advice on parenting. Not my place. But I am getting to a point here.

My parents had a horrible ugly divorce in the early 70s when I was eight year old and it stayed ugly between them until the day my father died right before his 80th birthday. They both remarried and both sets of parents were horribly dysfunctional. Thinking back on it I can’t even believe the shit that they did. But this isn’t about me so I will stop here.

I didn’t have kids for a number of reasons but the main one was if I did it would have meant a lot more contact with the parents. Also, I wanted the dysfunction to end with me.

If you protected and nurtured your children, whatever that meant for your particular child, you did your job.

If your adult kids look forward to spending time with you and don’t consider it an obligation while at the same time not being overly dependent on you, you did your job admirably.

When I was a kid (1970s), I got picked on, a lot, by many of my classmates. I was little, skinny and unathletic, I was among the smartest kids in the class, and I was socially awkward around my peers. There were a couple of my classmates who were particularly, mercilessly nasty to me, for years. It wasn’t until we got to high school when the bullying finally abated, though I was still socially on the outside looking in.

In recent years, a couple of my primary tormentors have reached out to me, to apologize. Without fail, they were, themselves, bulled and abused by their parents (who were often alcoholics), and responded by “punching down” at the kids whom they perceived as weaker than them (i.e., me).

Of course you’ve done all this for your son. I would expect no less from you.

I get it, if your child has a diagnosable disability a parent(if they love their child) will try to move mountains.

I’m speaking of kids who’s disability is therapied on to them. Not every child is as unique as yours, not even half. They couldn’t be.

Think of a classroom of kids. 20. How can 10 need intensive therapies and intervention to succeed?
The school my kids attended didn’t have handicap classrooms. All kids were in regular classes. If you required speech therapy(or whatever)you went for a short time during your day. Or other therapies, same.
In one of my kids graduation class there were 3 physically handicapped. One Downs syndrome girl. Of 70+ kids.
I can’t imagine of the rest, 30 some odd were just falling through the cracks.
Maybe some had dropped out of school. Maybe some moved. But of that class I think if you had asked every kid, they would say they had problems adjusting, fitting in, a certain teacher who bullied them, had an eating disorder, had a boyfriend/girlfriend do bad things, parents didn’t understand them, mental issues, depression, fears, anxieties. Heck, a group of adults would probably say the same things.

Sometimes the human condition is just difficult to deal with.
When you allow a teenager to dictate they can’t go to school today “because I’m not feeling it” or “my aura ain’t right” you are creating young adults who have never been told “tough it out”. Or, life’s a bitch, or no. They are not able to “adult” properly.

Spice, you are the poster child for survival in an awful home life and dragging yourself up and being successful. Having a baby. Raising him to be the best he can be. That’s not helicoptering. That’s Mothering to what your kid needs.

The Lil’wrekker decided in 10th grade she was having migraines to the level she couldn’t get out of bed. Funny she was able to play video games. I believed her for one day. After that I told her it would be a doctor’s visit and no telling what kind of tests.
Believe me, I wanted to baby her and let her melt into her “headache, bellyache” perceived illness. We did let her keep saying it.
I never let her be absent from her activities because of it. She was in every dang thing she could. Headaches just couldn’t figure in or she would be dropping them.

Kids that need real help. Sure I want them to have it.
Kids, and their parents, who are milking the system of "we have to accommodate every child and their disorder " , which I think the school system has turned into, is as wrong as momma doing kids homework or rising to the level of buying your kid into an Ivy league school.

Love your kid, encourage them, provide them safety and a decent home life. Cheer for them. Buy that cookie when they succeed.
You don’t have to be perfect at all. None of us are. You just have to love them.

My husband deals with a lot of kids that need accomodations, but he always emphasizes, reasonable accommodations. Not every accomodation is going to be best for the child. And not every challenge needs accommodating.

I’m not as skeptical as you about all those kids needing help, but I think one of the ways they need help is to have parents willing to let them be challenged and uncomfortable.

My parents for all their failures did one thing right. They raised me to be independent, starting when I started working for them at about ten years old, moving on to my first above-board job when I was thirteen. Part of the independence was borne of neglect but it was intentional teaching, too. And with that independence generally came more freedom. Parts of my childhood were very classic in that way. When my chores were done I could fuck off to the lake with my friends for the rest of the day and come home at dinner. It was great! By the time I was sixteen I was left completely alone with just weekend check-ins and I moved out when I was seventeen, and worked my ass off as a server while finishing high school. The irony is if they hadn’t given me the life skills to handle my own challenges, I wouldn’t have been able to get away from them.

Sometimes what hurts and frustrates me the most about my mother is all the things she did right. God I wish they were enough.

But I can, I guess, take all the good parts, pass them on, and leave the rest behind.

I’m so sorry you went through that. I was bullied a fair amount growing up. It bothered me, but I saw other kids getting it worse, and I think I had more protective factors than other kids. Even at my weirdest, I always had more friends than bullies. But I do remember devoting hours of my time to trying to figure out the exact right thing to say to them to make them lay off. By the time I was in high school I was confident enough to stand up for other kids getting bullied. I remember berating the most popular kid in our school in front of the entire class for calling someone a gay slur. And a couple other times I just went off with the shit I found out about. Didn’t matter to me how popular those assholes were, they were gonna hear about it.

It’s so odd, the social anxiety I have had most of my adult life, I don’t remember ever having it as a kid.

My Daddy said I was born scared to live.
I wasn’t so much bullied by other kids as dismissed and ignored. I was the odd duck.
I had a few friends. Not many I would let get near.

I was just so much younger than my classmates.
My siblings were good to me. Maybe Daddy made them be, I don’t know.

I got thru it. I have the exact same fears and anxiety I always had.

Spice Weasel - so great to hear your son is making impressive gains in dealing with life! Just keep at it. Like the delivery pediatrician that spent 45 minutes keeping my youngest going until she could breathe on her own always used to say “progress is good!”

So kids out there never progress or barely progress, and I cannot imagine how hard that is on the entire family.

Good on ya for the swim lessons!!! People simply don’t understand how easy it is to drown, even if you love the water and can swim. :broken_heart:

Oh I insisted on it.

IMHO, there are generally two types of bullies:

  1. The kind you mentioned, that were abused themselves and then abused others;

  2. The opposite kind - those who grew up so rich and privileged that they thought they were performing some sort of social Darwinism by weeding out other “weak” folks - like the saying about how someone is born on third base and goes through life thinking he hit a triple? Well, these people think they got to where they are by merit, and so they are doing society a favor by making life tough for those who didn’t get to their high level, since obviously those lesser folks were lazy or dumb and that’s why they didn’t succeed.