Smug parents.

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anonymous user
Registered: 12-31-1969
Smug parents.
Mon, 08-20-2012 - 12:30pm

Not really looking for advice, as I won't be doing anything about this, just need a place to vent.  We have some friends and their boys are basically the same ages as our boys.  Their first 2 are stellar students and gifted athlete's.  The oldest is the same age as my oldest...the boys have never hung out together, but are friendly, we've gone on springbreaks and they both work at our neighborhood pool as lifeguards.  The mom will tell you when the kids act up sometimes, but the Dad never will.  They are much more lenient than we are, but the oldest boys have never posed the challenges that my oldest DS has over his high school years.  From a little that they've said, I know they think it's because of their stellar parenting that the kids have turned out so well.  (the third is going to be the problem child, and even the Mom said he was a little weird).

Anyway, we are all out with a bunch of other couples Saturday night..we're all going over the "dropping the kids" at college.  Their son got into, very easily, the college my DS did not.  So, my DH says to the Dad, "have you called your son yet".  Then the Dad starts this speech, 'well, you know G, we feel that blah, blah, blah....."  Never answers the question.  But ends his little speech with "we feel we've done a pretty good job with Bob".  OK...this guy knows some of the issues with our son.  So, now there is the unspoken..."and because of YOUR parenting, look what kind of son you have".   It just frosts me.

Because of I have 2 sons that are totally different in personality, mood, motivation, empathy, sympathy, etc....I know that, barring abuse, etc., that how they turn out is not because of our brilliant parenting...but just because they were born that way and someone got lucky!!!!     I hate to be mean, but I hope that 3rd kid gives them a run for their money in a couple of years.


iVillage Member
Registered: 10-25-2006
In reply to:
Mon, 08-20-2012 - 2:28pm

I would have been bothered, too, by the tone of the other father's response.  It may be that, by nature, he's much less of a worrier than some of us. But rather than commending his own childrearing performance and making yours appear less than stellar, he could have simply said, "We've done our best and have to keep our fingers crossed."  That is what I hear from most parents sending their children off to college.  And he could have simply answered the question. 

Our children (and we, ourselves) can run into problems at any point in life.  I hope that dad doesn't think his son is all set for life just because he hasn't had any major problems up to this point. 

Our two sons are also very different.  Parenting and the social environment obviously affect how our kids turn out, in some ways; but genes deserve at least as much credit/blame, if not more.


Avatar for suzyk2118
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-30-1997
Mon, 08-20-2012 - 3:43pm
ITA, plus who knows - maybe now that these kids aren't under their parents' thumbs, they'll rebel or do some crazy stuff - what kind of excuse would the parents use then!? I had a good friend in hs who was a stellar student, made it in to our state U, and dropped out after less than a year as it was just not her cup of tea. She's very successful in the software field, but I don't believe she ever got a full college education. I wonder what those parents would think of someone like that - it's not that she partied; it's just that U life just wasn't for her!
iVillage Member
Registered: 01-05-2005
In reply to:
Mon, 08-20-2012 - 5:40pm

UGH - I definitely know how you feel. :smileysad: Some parents are just annoying - they take all the credit for their kids' success, but you can be sure that if there is a problem they are blaming the school, the teachers, the coaches, or something else!  It's annoying in any case, but it is especially disheartening when your kids are in the same grade and they are well aware of the challenges you've faced. What a jerk!

I also know and relate to that less-than-charitable feeling of hoping they get a taste of what your life is like. On a very minor scale, I just had an interaction like that... I complained about ds10's trouble falling asleep (something this person knows we have worked on for many years) and in return I got a smug smile and a "well, we've found that it's really important to have a consistent bedtime. Johnny is a great sleeper"  Gee, really? I guess you're just a good parent and I'm not. GRRRRRR.....  Believe me, I was hoping that Johnny would suddenly develop major insomnia!

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-05-2005
Mon, 08-20-2012 - 10:57pm

I don't know if this will make you feel any better, but I have been a horrible sleeper my entire life. So has my dad. I really think it's genetic, like sports or academic talent. It's also possible that you suck as a parent ;-)

LOL!  I think it's genetic as well, and I'm SO jealous of great sleepers. I'm not horrible, but dh and ds12 are insanely good sleepers. They fall asleep instantly, sleep soundly, wake refreshed, no matter what is going on in their lives. What a gift! But honestly, if my sucky parenting were to blame for my kids' failings, there would be bigger things to target than poor sleeping :smileywink:

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-16-1999
In reply to:
Mon, 08-20-2012 - 10:58pm
You know, I really think things eventually even out a bit. None of my kids were academic all stars or stellar athletes. They didn't go the university route either, but they've had overall happy and successful post-high school lives. Then there are those kids who peak in high school and kind of flounder for a few years after. I wouldn't let braggart daddy to get to me- who know what's going to happen with junior now that daddy isn't going to be there to prop him up. Sometimes the kids who have to work for what they've achieved have things a little easier later on.
Avatar for sabrtooth
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-1999
Mon, 08-20-2012 - 11:14pm

Well, being a "great" sleeper can be an albatross too!  ODD is a great sleeper.  In fact, she's SUCH a great sleeper, that she can, and has, fallen asleep in the middle of a conversation, fallen asleep while continuing to HAVE a conversation, been asleep while answering the phone, fallen asleep while leaning against a bathroom stall door, and fallen asleep with a piece of pizza in her hand, halfway to her mouth.

I fall asleep instantly, & can sleep thru a hurricane, but I need a brass band, 2 alarm clocks and a phone call to wake me enough to REALLY get me out of bed and on my feet.  Otherwise, as soon as I close my eyes again, I'm unconscious.  If I close my eyes at a stop light, I fall asleep.  At 8am in the morning.  After a full night's sleep.  Behind the wheel of the RUNNING car.

I've also fallen asleep while feeding the baby.  Thankfully, the sound of the bottle hitting the floor, after it fell from my lax fingers, was enough to wake me before the sound was the BABY hitting the floor.   Of course, the baby can be wide awake, bouncing in my arms, or sitting up on the floor playing, when her head falls over like a bag of hammers, and she's asleep.

No way THAT'S genetic.  All 3 of us.  Nah, never could happen.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
In reply to:
Tue, 08-21-2012 - 2:29pm

I would have wanted to smack the guy too.  I don't have any illusions that my kids turned out well totally because of my great parenting--I think I did an ok job but I also think I got lucky w/ kids who didn't pose any major problems in spite of some of the errors that I made.  I do agree that if kids float through life w/ everything coming easily sometimes it's hard for them when challenges arise and they don't know how to deal.

And sabrtooth--that was funny.  My DS has a sleep disorder--we went to a specialist, had him tested for sleep apnea (which he doesn't have).  He has trouble falling asleep at night and then of course he's tired & can't wake up.  At the beginning of the last school year he was waking up for a few months, then it went downhill again.  Now that he's been staying up late & sleeping til 10:00 all summer, I just dread the beginning of school--but at least he can drive now and won't have to worry about missing the bus.

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-06-2009
In reply to:
Wed, 08-22-2012 - 9:33pm
Hi con,
Your "frosts me" is something I never heard. I like it. Maybe Florida keeps that one out of my world!
Keep venting :smileyhappy:
Is your boy more likely to call dad, bro, you?
iVillage Member
Registered: 01-05-2005
Fri, 08-24-2012 - 11:48am

I fall asleep instantly, & can sleep thru a hurricane, but I need a brass band, 2 alarm clocks and a phone call to wake me enough to REALLY get me out of bed and on my feet. Otherwise, as soon as I close my eyes again, I'm unconscious. If I close my eyes at a stop light, I fall asleep. At 8am in the morning. After a full night's sleep. Behind the wheel of the RUNNING car.

Oh my gosh, Sabr, you make me laugh. That sounds like a sleep disorder, not being a great sleeper. Dh and ds don't ever nod off, don't ever nap. They go from being wide awake to being asleep only when they lie down on their beds and somehow "will" themselves to sleep. And they both wake easily and quickly. In fact, dh would not infrequently wake before me when a baby cried, sometimes even when the baby was right next to me (we had a bassinet on my side of the bed). In their case, I really do think it is a gift, but I figure it's balanced out by dd21 and ds10 being such rotten sleepers!! (Dd19 and I are "average").

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-08-2005
In reply to:
Fri, 08-24-2012 - 4:34pm

I have a friend who has three children. Her motto has always been, 'once you have three kids, it shatters the myth of the two perfect kids." I think this is true, at least from my own observations.

One of her kids fell on some hard times and took a wrong path. Her other two have been very successful, but not the youngest. He's turned it around now but for many years, we all wondered. You never can tell, can you? I know I'm not the same person now as I was in college.

My father always told me to never ever brag on your kids if you can help it. He had four and we didn't all turn out perfect either. One of my siblings is still struggling to this day. My father once confessed how much he hated sitting through the bragging of other dads while one of his daughters (my oldest sister) barely finished high school.

We all came from the same 'nest' but it's really a bit of luck and our own personalities that define us. Even as I registered my oldest for college last week, another sister called me in tears because her daughter mistreated her. It would be easy to feel smug but somehow not fair at all. Like most parents, she made some mistakes but luck just wasn't on her side.

So when people tell me I've done a good job, I just shrug and say, no, I got lucky. Because I truly believe that children are a gift, not something we control or mold. They are their own persons, entirely separate from us.