Being a parent is a daunting task and even the best parents will screw up their children in some way. Other people know they weren't the best or most attentive parents and come to regret their actions upon reflection years later.
After Redditor Speaker-of-the-Void asked the online community, "Mothers/Fathers of now adult children, what is your greatest regret about how you raised them?" people shared their stories in candid detail.
"My ex's dad..."
My ex's dad once told me he regretted moving overseas during his son's childhood in order to "provide" for the family (I put that in quotes because we live in Australia - he wanted to make $500k/year instead of the $100k he could make here). Sure, they owned their house, but my ex never saw his dad regularly. His parents divorced when he was in high school, so his dad never came back to the family home (he did move back to Australia) and my ex never felt like he knew him very well, although he looked up to him and loved him so much.
2 years before his dad died, my ex himself moved overseas in pursuit of a "better life" (read: a higher paying job), so in the last couple of years they saw each other maybe once or twice. His dad said that was his influence - that he had basically taught his son that making money was more of a priority than spending time with your loved ones.
I don't think my ex will ever get over losing his dad multiple times in his life - or getting to know him better while he was alive.
"There not only would have been..."
I regret reprimanding my kids because of embarrassment I felt, rather than their behavior being cause for reprimanding. There not only would have been less unnecessary reprimanding and punishment, but I would have been a better parent for worrying about what actually needed to be worried about. Parents shouldn't make it about themselves, and I did for a long time...
"We have an amazing young adult daughter..."
We have an amazing young adult daughter but we're slobs and so is she. My parents aren't like that and my in-laws aren't either so I don't know why we're the way we are, but I know we'd all be happier if we just kept clean and tidy homes.
"I wish I had insisted..."
I wish I had insisted on better behavior when they were adolescents and teens.
I was an only child. My wife had lots of experience caring for younger kids--so much so that I tended to go along with her strategies even when the kids got older. We were too accepting of negative, rebellious, and destructive behavior, and both kids were less successful in school and socially than they could have been.
"They have character flaws..."
I don't have much in the way of regrets apart from missing big chunks of time with them due to my work. At 22 and 20 they are great young adults and I am proud of them and what they do. They have character flaws and have made mistakes like anyone else and when they do I think what I may have done in raising them that could have caused it. But I think that's just parental guilt, they are their own people and can make their own wrong calls from time to time.
"They all turned out fine..."
I wish I had left work earlier more often. They all turned out fine, and we have good relationships. But they grow up fast, and you miss a lot of good times if you're too focused on being the provider.
"This was back when..."
Before he passed, my late stepfather confessed to me that he never would have pushed me so hard about my education at a young age. This was back when "Tiger Mom" parenting was all the rage in the early 90s. There were a lot of days where every waking minute was devoted to math and writing drills, maybe I'd get some time playing Math Blaster or Jumpstart on the PC if I was lucky. Going to the doctor? Leave the game boy at home, you're taking a book to the waiting room.
I was the start student as school, even got into advanced classes, up until halfway through 4th grade when my mental state began to deteriorate and my lack of social development became apparent. My teenage years were spent going through a massive downward spiral, became violent with both other students and my parents, dropped out in 9th grade. Tried several times to get my GED but when I try to study for it I just... can't handle it. I've spent my entire adult life being a shut-in.
My stepfather was always a very stubborn, arrogant man, especially in those last few years, so to hear him talk about how he raised me with genuine regret in his voice... I'll never forget that moment.
"Given how smart and patient..."
My mother says her biggest regret is not homeschooling me. Given how smart and patient she is, and how patchy and inconsistent my schooling was due to frequently moving, she's probably right that I'd have been better off.
"We went to church every Sunday..."
I raised my children with religion. We went to church every Sunday and most Wednesdays. My job for a few years was through the church, and most of our friends were through the church, too.
About the time my youngest started college, I became an atheist.
They no longer talk to me, don't respond to my messages, and have become more and more involved in a very strict church that they found.
I was trying to raise them with love, caring, and empathy, but it turns out I raised them to be overly judgemental.
"Financially it made sense..."
Too much work, not enough time home with the kids especially when they were young.
Financially it made sense and my wife was able to be a full-time mom as she preferred. She also insisted I spend time with the kids, when I might have been inclined to spend more time on work; brought the kids to have dinner with me at my employer's cafeteria; etc.
Now we care for our granddaughter several days a week and I see how much I missed with our kids. Our kids are fine - successful, independent adults so no harm there, just my regrets.
"My child does things..."
My child does things which are not allowed in our religion. I should have been observant.
"I wish we would have..."
I wish we would have put her in daycare. By kindergarten she was so overly attached to me from being home with me 24/7 that the school enforced a "no parents inside" rule because she would lose her mind in the hallway when I tried leaving her. Plus I would be a hell of a lot further along in my career.
"I was a mother of three..."
I have always regretted not having more patience with my kids. I was a mother of three with a deadbeat husband and working fulltime to provide for the five of us. It caused a lot of hardship and stress. What i wish i would have realized sooner is that it was not their fault in any way. I had no right to take it out on them by not gving the time they deserved with things. I really wish I would have spent more time listening and being present in the moments we had.
"When I was a young dumb parent..."
When I was a young dumb parent with our first child, I just knew I was going to be a lot better parent than my dad was. Which really didn't take much. But anyway, I know I was much too strict. And I said some things in ways I shouldn't have said them. And I said some things I should not have said at all. And it has caused my oldest son to be very distant, and have some animosity toward me that, while understandable, I certainly never wanted. Remember, while you can apologize to your kids, you still can never take it back. Make sure what you say is said the right way and for the right reason. It all matters.
"We did teach them..."
We, my wife and I, did not teach our children enough household skills. Things like cooking, laundry, basic carpentry and home maintenance and repairs. We just always did those things ourselves and let our kids go play, they are now adults and can't do these things for themselves. We did teach them about the financial aspect of having their own home and basic auto maintenance like changing a flat tire and checking the oil.
"I didn't follow through..."
I didn't follow through on the orders I gave them. They have little discipline.
I didn't have them get summer jobs in high school; they have no work record or work experience.
"They are so worth it."
I was an alcoholic for her entire upbringing. I was never mean or abusive and physically I was always there, but mentally I was never fully present.
We have a great relationship, and she remembers her childhood fondly with no ill feelings...but I know I short changed her and it breaks my heart.
If you struggle with substance abuse please get help. They are so worth it.
"I wish that instead of..."
I wish that instead of doing things for him myself because it was easier/quicker for me, I had taken the time to oversee and emphasize the importance of letting him do it himself. I'm talking chores around the house. My 21 year old now lives in the basement apartment. I quit doing things for him when he turned 18. But it's disgusting and living like that can't be helping his morale. I wish I'd taught him better to look after himself. His future wife would also thank me.
"To be honest..."
To be honest I wish I had spent more time with them as they were growing up.once they both started school coincided with me going to work full time. I honestly can't remember them growing up and now they are adults.i spent my time coming home cleaning and cooking rather than going things with them as money was tight at first.
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