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Old 10-11-2012, 01:22 PM
 
2 posts, read 2,947 times
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I'm a grown woman of 33 and I live a happy, fulfilling life as a writer in California. My therapist thought it would be a good idea for me to tell my story, and I thought many of you parents would benefit from hearing it.

I grew up in a strict household, where my parents (medical professionals) would not allow any vulgar language, alcohol consumption, cable TV or any other "bad influence" to invade our home. I had a 10 p.m. curfew at age 18. This was not due to religion. This was due to the fact that my parents thought this was the right way to raise a child (strict rules and discipline) and many parenting books agreed.

Me and my brother were sent to private school (strict discipline) because that would certainly "guarantee" that we would not grow up to be screw-ups and we would "meet the right people" and "be influenced by the right people" and be faced with the proper dose of strict discipline. My parents also thought it was a good idea to only allow us to have as friends people who were of an equal or higher class than us, and they many times prohibited me and my brother from hanging around Friend A, or Friend B because they didn't have the same "values" as us, or because they were a "bad influence." My parents also kept us away from relatives who they deemed to be "scumbags" or "losers" who were not professionals or "worthy" role models for us.

Fast-forward 33 years. Today I can barely stand the sight of my parents (which is why I am in therapy). I resent them greatly for being such domineering @@@holes. My parents are now divorced, and dysfunctional. I never kept in contact with any of the people who my parents deemed "good influences," and today I have the strongest relationships with all those family and friends who were "bad influences".

Perhaps what I am trying to say to parents is, be careful what you force upon your children. Because they may resent you for it. For a long time.
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Old 10-11-2012, 02:22 PM
 
5,210 posts, read 8,819,762 times
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Hey, you were never a drug addicted, pregnant, teenage drop out, alcoholic jailbird, either. So I guess there's something you can be thankful to your parents for.

Sorry you didn't have more fun growing up. But you've got to make the most of what you were given and go from there. You can't undo what was done, just learn from it and move on.

Last edited by springfieldva; 10-11-2012 at 03:12 PM..
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Old 10-11-2012, 03:35 PM
 
Location: The Other California
4,255 posts, read 4,556,337 times
Reputation: 1520
Quote:
Originally Posted by kaykissinger View Post
This was not due to religion. This was due to the fact that my parents thought this was the right way to raise a child (strict rules and discipline) and many parenting books agreed ....

Me and my brother were sent to private school (strict discipline) because that would certainly "guarantee" that we would not grow up to be screw-ups and we would "meet the right people" and "be influenced by the right people" and be faced with the proper dose of strict discipline. My parents also thought it was a good idea to only allow us to have as friends people who were of an equal or higher class than us, and they many times prohibited me and my brother from hanging around Friend A, or Friend B because they didn't have the same "values" as us, or because they were a "bad influence." My parents also kept us away from relatives who they deemed to be "scumbags" or "losers" who were not professionals or "worthy" role models for us.
Kay, your post gives a few hints into to the character of your parents. Here are my thoughts:

1. Children who are raised in a loving home with good values and, yes, discipline will need very little discipline from their parents beyond age 8 or 9. Some hard cases may need discipline sparingly through age 13. By this time children should have a deep respect for their parents and a desire to please them. Parents, for their part, will have trustworthy children and will treat them accordingly.

2. It seems that your parents used very harsh and contemptuous language for their fellow human beings. This obviously made a deep impression on you. You were raised in fear of your parents thinking of you as a "screw up", a "scumbag", a "loser" - or, horror of horrors, a "non-professional".

3. Your parents were apparently desperate to maintain their social status, and viewed their children as either a help or a hindrance to that end.

4. The strict rules and discipline in your home did not have a religious motive. I'll just come right out and tell you that I think your home life was missing something extremely important. Without religion, rules and discipline can seem arbitrary and tyrannical, rooted in pride and contempt rather than love. Children can sense these things.

To summarize: assuming the truth of your words, it seems likely that your parents did not demonstrate a whole lot of parental love - to put it kindly. I think that's the root of your troubles. Having strict rules and discipline, etc., is really beside the point.

Last edited by WesternPilgrim; 10-11-2012 at 04:22 PM..
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Old 10-11-2012, 03:52 PM
 
2,779 posts, read 4,503,182 times
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I am really sorry that you feel your parents were not ideal. Most parents aren't. I'm glad you're in therapy but it may be helpful to think of the many children in the world who are seriously abused and neglected and don't have parents who give a crap about them. Yes, it sounds like your parents had and have some issues, you're 33, time to get over it.
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Old 10-11-2012, 04:09 PM
 
Location: The analog world
15,720 posts, read 8,794,392 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by springfieldva View Post
Hey, you were never a drug addicted, pregnant, teenage drop out, alcoholic jailbird, either. So I guess there's something you can be thankful to your parents for.

Sorry you didn't have more fun growing up. But you've got to make the most of what you were given and go from there. You can't undo what was done, just learn from it and move on.
I, too, am having a hard time seeing the problem here.
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Old 10-11-2012, 04:27 PM
 
218 posts, read 221,618 times
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I understand completely where you are coming from.

It is very difficult to deal with controlling, perfectionist parents. Especially those who only value people by their accomplishments, education, or net worth. I know far too many parents who view their children as "trophies" or "accomplishments." They feel as long as their child accomplishes "this", "that", or "the other thing", they are a successful parent. Well, it's simply not true.

There is more to raising a child than just pushing "proper" values, career, friends, accomplishments, etc.

People need to feel loved, valued, and the acceptance to be themselves.

The most important thing we can teach our children is failure is not the enemy. We must meet it, greet it, and rise above it. It builds character and a sense of worth.


Thankfully, you are able to have a happy and fulfilling life.
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Old 10-11-2012, 04:30 PM
 
32,538 posts, read 29,377,870 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kaykissinger View Post
I live a happy, fulfilling life
Which is more than the vast majority of people on this planet have.

Did your parents love you? Or did they do what they did because they decided it was the best way to ruin your life?

You can change nothing about how you were raised. You can decide to forgive them and move on. (Though to tell you the truth, it doesn't sound like it was angst-worthy. I know of worse. MUCH worse.) You can decide to leave it behind and just live your life. And I think that should start with realizing there are too many people who will die never knowing what a happy, fulfilling life is. Which mean count your blessings. Not all the things you hated about Mom and Dad.
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Old 10-11-2012, 06:48 PM
 
5,210 posts, read 8,819,762 times
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My guess is, those parents as medical workers saw their fair share of what could happen to even good kids when they are given too long a leash. And they decided to protect you as best they could. Not just for your sake but their own sake as well.

Parents aren't perfect people, we do the best we can with the knowledge that we have at the time. What else can we do?

But at 33, you are an adult. This is your life - the one and only life - you'll ever have. You can spend it dwelling on the mistakes of the past and holding imperfect people responsible for your misery (which, btw, is pretty punitive of you) or you can hold your head up, choose to forgive and make the most of what life has to offer you now. To me, the choice is obvious.
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Old 10-11-2012, 06:54 PM
 
Location: Michigan
12,715 posts, read 11,204,021 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kaykissinger View Post
I'm a grown woman of 33 and I live a happy, fulfilling life as a writer in California.
Happy enough to afford a computer and internet service to disparage your parents.

Ooh, a curfew...

A woman of my close acquaintance had her children stolen from her by her own (adoptive) parents by means of a false sexual abuse accusation. And she, to my constant disbelief, at least tries to forgive them.

Last edited by djacques; 10-11-2012 at 07:22 PM..
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Old 10-11-2012, 07:12 PM
 
218 posts, read 221,618 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djacques View Post
Happy enough to afford a computer and internet service to disparage your parents.

Ooh, a curfew...
.
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