What kind of parent were you?

Avatar for deenow17
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-12-2004
What kind of parent were you?
Sat, 03-12-2011 - 8:20pm

I've have been discussing parenting styles with my DD now that she has her own child. It's interesting to watch her behaviour & to listen to her thoughts on raising kids. My kids and my Mom always told me I was an over protective Mom. I don't deny it, I was engaged in their lives, wanted to know where they were going & restricted their activities. Did it help keep them safe growing up, no idea. Did it stop them from doing stupid things or being independent? Not that I can see. I do think it thought them that life has boundaries but who knows. lol

The eldest 2 have traveled & lived on their own for several years. They make some lifestyle decisions that they know I won't agree with & so we just agree that what I don't know, I won't have to deal with.

Avatar for elc11
Community Leader
Registered: 06-16-1998
Sat, 03-12-2011 - 11:12pm

My kids thought that I was an overprotective parent, and some other parents may have thought so too. I was probably reacting to how my parents were, they were a little too hands-off during my teen years and I felt adrift (and did some stupid dangerous things) for a while until I regained my equilibrium. I might have done most of the stupid dangerous things anyway but I know there were a few things they could have easily prevented. As an adult I considered asking my mother why they let me do a few things but decided that it didn't really matter anymore and might hurt or upset her, so I decided to leave it alone.

My dd was usually pushing the envelope, from about 11yo on. I know that I kept her from doing a number of things that could have had bad endings (I discovered her plans and thwarted them several times). There were also a lot of things that we didn't find out about until after the fact and I'm sure there's plenty that I have never heard about. When she moved out at 18 she did things that I didn't approve of but by then it was out of my control and I knew I had to let it go.

I suspect that with both kids the overprotectiveness just postponed some of the behaviors.

Avatar for shirley_v
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-29-2000
Sun, 03-13-2011 - 2:03pm

It's true that every child in a family is different in personality or temperment - and some things are from what happens to the child in life (outside forces) and how he or she reacts to them (nature).

Avatar for deenow17
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-12-2004
Sun, 03-13-2011 - 8:06pm
Interesting that we all seem to have been raised with little rules & a lot of freedom. I grew up with few rules and was allowed to go any where I wanted. I was allowed to go to parties as young as 15 with permission to drink. I was afraid to get in any trouble but it was more because I didn't want to disappoint my grandmother who lived with us & really raised me. My Mom talked about how wild she was growing up as it was something wonderful. I was more cautious & really didn't want to be like Mom. My grandmother never knew most of what my Mom did in her youth.

It took me almost 3 yrs to get pregnant - fertility drugs - yeah! Well that was for the 1st 2, the last one was a gift that just happened. lol During that time, I read every possible book on parenting. My protectiveness was due to my fears of losing my kids or having them come to some harm but I still encouraged them to go to camps, ski, swim, do sleepovers, etc. I just wanted to know where they were & who they were with. I didn't let them do the mall scene because I didn't want them to hang with groups of kids with no structure. I did let DD spend 9 wks in Taiwan at 17 and then 8 wks living on Miami Beach at 18. She partied hard & often, did stuff I didn't agree with but I know most of what went on as she shared it with me. By the time she went back to Taiwan at 18, it was out of her system. At least until she hit university. Now it's fun to see her parenting, she is more protective than I was ever with her son. Although, she is comfortable leaving DGS with us for weekends. I never was with my Mother. Mom prided herself on letting/encouraging the kids do things she knew I would be against.

I now believe that no matter what your parenting style is, a child who has to "do it their way" will do just that. DS #2 has told me that was nothing I could have done to stop his behaviour during his teen years, he regrets the things he did and wishes things had been different for him but believes he had to do what he did to grow up. He is just happy that I never gave up on him & tried so hard to protect him from himself..

I think we all bring something from our own childhood in our parenting styles. Then we are influenced by our partners and our friends as well. There are a few things I might do differently if I had to do it again but overall, I did the best I could & they never lacked in love & attention.

It's interesting though, I always thought I would stop being a parent once they reached their 20s but it's not happening & something tells me it never will. My Mom was a good parent in her own way but this stopped when my Dad died when I was 18. She moved into her relationship with my stepdad 6 wks after Dad passed & he had no interest in me being around. I think that is why I always feel I need to be there when my kids call. My Mom never was after Dad passed. Her priority was my stepdad who walked out on his own 2 kids. It's interesting how he had no time for me or his own kids but he was a good grandfather. Far better than my Mom was a grandmother. Now he has dementia & while I don't like him, I'm the one who watches over him because my kids feel he is their grandfather. After 35 yrs together, he finally calls me his daughter and he appreciates what I do for him while my Mom just expects me to do everything. I'm watching & hope I will follow his example rather than my Mom's when I age too. So I'm still learning how to be a parent.