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AIBU to ask if you enjoy spending time with your parents socially, what was your childhood like?

(60 Posts)
Sleepthiefismyfavourite Sun 24-Feb-19 12:02:05

I am really envious of friends who enjoy spending time with their parents socially/going on holiday with them/ going to pubs/restaurants etc.

I find seeing my mum quite stressful, and my dad is dead.

For those of you who enjoy being with your parents, what was your childhood like?

Were your parents strict, or just let you do pretty much what you wanted? Did you have to do chores? Homework?

I have 4 children, and really want them to have lovely relationships with me when I'm older, but it really worries me that they wont. I'm quite strict about doing school work, and my eldest does chores for pocket money.

My mum is quite toxic, and often says really hurtful things. I worry so much about ending up like her, and my children only seeing me out of duty.

bridgetreilly Sun 24-Feb-19 13:34:44

My parents were pretty easy-going. No chores. Not many rules - we were in the countryside and spent a lot of time doing our own thing outside. Good holidays, lots of fun times.

As an adult, I have a difficult relationship with both parents, especially my mother. We aren't NC and I wouldn't want to be, but they are definitely parents rather than friends. They are pretty low down my list of people to talk to when I'm struggling. I've never told them I was diagnosed with depression, for example.

So, OP, I really wouldn't stress about it. You can't make your children into your friends - same as you can't with any other person. Either they turn out to be the sort of people you are friends with or they don't. You can make sure that you treat each other with sufficient respect that they'll never want to go low or no-contact, but that has nothing to do with being strict about homework.

Alsohuman Sun 24-Feb-19 13:36:17

Mine were firm but fair. Dad had an incredibly short fuse and we often tiptoed round him. He and I had a very fraught relationship when I was in my teens which was 90% my fault, I was an awful teenager. As I got older I made a huge effort with him and it soon stopped being an effort. He mellowed a lot and was very forgiving.

As adults, I loved spending time with them. They were great story tellers and both witty and excellent company. We went on holiday together and shared lots of good times. All that made looking after them at the end much, much easier.

LackOfAdhesiveDucks Sun 24-Feb-19 13:37:46

I have a great relationship with my parents and sister. I don’t see them a ton as I live a distance away but my mum is a good friend of mine and I text my dad almost every day with random things. My sister and her partner live close and see them most days and have dinner with them 3 or 4 times a week.

My dad worked a lot (shift work) and my mum worked part time so we spent a fair bit of time with my paternal grandparents and cousins (lived just up the road). My parents were fairly strict in that we had chores, were expected to always do homework first etc but were also very supportive. My dad can be difficult to please at times but it’s usually is out of caring that he’s hard on us. My mum, sister and I all share a hobby and still enjoy spending time doing this. They aren’t perfect and can be frustrating sometimes but overall I had a wonderful childhood and still a great relationship now I’m in my 30s (they are late 50s).

kalinkafoxtrot45 Sun 24-Feb-19 13:41:28

I clash with my mum sometimes but mostly get on well now. I see my parents a couple of times a year as I live in another country, I go to them and they come to us at least once a year. They are good company and even when I was younger, very welcoming to my friends. We all share an interest in history and enjoy good food and drink.

HelloDarlin Sun 24-Feb-19 13:41:33

I get on well with Mum & Dad. I’m married, no kids. I go away for holidays with them each, weekends away & such. Dad does things with my sister as well, she’s not as close with Mum.
I think us both leaving home after school helped to establish our adult relationships with them. Dad also worked abroad, so we are all independent, he & Mum do things separately too.
We had a loving childhood, a nice home, enough money. They were easygoing, didn’t push us too much. They also had us young so the generation gap is small. We get each other.
I’m off to Berlin with Dad for a few days next week. Really looking forward to it. My sister is expecting, so it will be interesting to see what they’re like as grandparents!
My DH had a strange upbringing & it definitely shows in him. His family are like a soap opera...

Stuckforthefourthtime Sun 24-Feb-19 13:43:27

My parents were strict growing up but we are close now. I think the difference is that they were strict but not harsh - the rules and rationales were clear and based on respect for others and the family, and while their consequences were stronger than we use for our DCs (we were smacked, which was and is the norm in our country), we always knew why. Also they relaxed a lot as we were teenagers, and we always knew that even if we'd f*cked up royally, if we came clean, were truly sorry and tried to fix our mess, they would always support us and help as they could.

We still squabble a bit, but they are fun and I actually wish we could see them more.

Emeraldshamrock Sun 24-Feb-19 13:43:39

Firm but fair. My DM has always been timid and quiet depressed, at times erratic, DM leaned on me lots, still does but Ive never doubted she loves me.
Just loved them, if you feel you are slipping in your DMs behaviour, get extra help.
I'm sure your DC love you very much, you'll have a different relationship with each of them, all you can do is support them even if they don't like it, as long as their best interests are at heart.

2birds1stone Sun 24-Feb-19 13:44:12

I had a bit of both. My dad was easy going but my mum was strict/upright (same now) but if my dad got annoyed you knew you had pushed him too far. My mum's mum was the same as her and it makes me worry I will be the same but then my dh is fairly laid back (just like my dad)

We had to do chores and homework but the chores just taught me how to look after myself. But we were allowed to play with friends often and have sleep overs /parties. Lots of family holidays which were camping but relaxed and fun.

Mum would be the disciplarian most of the time and my dad I could twist round my finger...even as an adult it's not changed grin

I love being around my parents and dd loves them but as I have got older I have noticed their annoying traits more and more but I also pick them up on their bad behaviour.

Even if my parents are annoyed at me I know they never stop loving me and growing up i can see now that being told off was only for good reasons and to help me.

I think for me though I grew up as a Catholic and I think the morals that we were taught helped me to be the person I am. I am far from perfect and not a practising Catholic but there are some good lessons like love they neighbour and treating those the way you wish to be treated etc.

DaedricLordSlayer Sun 24-Feb-19 13:47:39

well my brother is no contact with my mum, and I've been through a lot therapy, suffered A&D. Went totally off of the rails at at 14 -17 was kicked out the house 16, and I look back and see I was a hairs breath away from prison/serious drug addiction/or getting myself killed

I have a great relationship with both parents now. I was non contact with my mum a for a year, about 16 years ago.

initially I'd have laid all the blame at my mum's door (like my brother does) but I know she was trying to make the best of her and our lives.

they were fair but firm, but at every turn both were supportive, even though she kicked me out I knew I could have talked my way back, I chose not too, not until I'd had my fill of 'freedom'. I then got my dad to ask her to let me home.

It's hard to put down in a post what went on and how much therapy I have had to have and how it helped me.

I love both my parents, they are not narcissistic, although when I was growing up my mum probably ticked a few of the boxes. yeah at times they were shit parents, but I can forgive them now, and as adults we get on great.

PositiveVibez Sun 24-Feb-19 13:48:22

I love spending time with my mum. Our dad died when I was 21. I have 3 sisters and a brother and we are all close.

Growing up my dad was very much a provider role. He was always at work so we could afford family holidays, which was camping in Cornwall. I cherish the memories of my childhood.

My dad was very strict, mum wasn't too strict but we did have to do homework, chores etc.

My mum though was so open and approachable we could and still can talk to her about anything at all.

She is an absolute laugh and a lovely, kind person.

DaedricLordSlayer Sun 24-Feb-19 13:49:25

*hairs breadth

XiCi Sun 24-Feb-19 14:06:55

Love spending time with my parents, often go for days & evenings out and have holidayed together numerous times.

Growing up they were very easy going, we had a lot of freedom but I knew that even though they were not strict they wouldn't have tolerated bad behaviour. It was expected of us that we would do well in school for instance, and we did. Didn't do any chores at all growing up. My mum was very firm about this, she thought there was enough drudgery as an adult without having to do it as a child. Have very fond memories of my childhood.

Fullofregrets33 Sun 24-Feb-19 14:09:54

I absolutely hate spending time with my parents socially. My dad is extremely mean with money and comments on absolutely everything such as meal prices etc so hate going out with him, plus he won't go anyway.
My mum is like a little mouse so no fun to be in company with either

ScabbyHorse Sun 24-Feb-19 14:14:24

My dad is easier to get on with but I am closer to my mum. Our relationship has got better as I've got older. She was quite strict and made us do housework etc but never minded that. It was her mental health issues that damaged me and my brother. Both parents had a lot of trauma in their lives which affected me in turn.

lettymoo Sun 24-Feb-19 14:15:10

I struggle to relate to people saying they get on well with their DM, mine is absolutely toxic. I had a horrible childhood, i wasn't allowed to have a life and I was under so much pressure to do well academically and screamed at if I didn't that I became really introverted and a loner. I find her incredibly difficult now. She is vitriolic and full of hate about everyone and everything. I find being around her utterly draining. It brings me crashing down and I find it exhausting. She is very critical, unsupportive and disinterested unless I'm doing what she thinks I ought to be. She still talks over me and patronises me in front of other people. I try to avoid her as much as possible and I wish I could go NC, but guilt stops me.

ScabbyHorse Sun 24-Feb-19 14:16:40

@lettymoo that sounds really difficult.

LavenderBelle Sun 24-Feb-19 14:17:00

Me and my mum had a very tricky relationship. She was abused so went through a bad patch where she focused on herself and went out drinking and bringing multiple men home and didn’t think about me. She became an alcoholic and I was the one who helped her get through. Since then we’ve been best friends, I feel like we’ve come through so much together and I’m glad that we can put that behind us and focus on our future.

Vulpine Sun 24-Feb-19 14:19:07

Mine were easy going when I was a child. I love hanging out with them as an adult.

Toolchest13 Sun 24-Feb-19 14:19:46

I love being with my parents. I wouldn’t say they were strict, in fact maybe the opposite but I was number 4! Dad worked a lot but mom had lots of friends and one thing she insisted on was that we be nice to people. Sometimes that’s hard for me I’m afraid. Not a lot of money but a lot of love. Constantly encouraged to spend time with family and friends.

fussychica Sun 24-Feb-19 15:19:12

I had a really great relationship with my parents, unfortunately they have both been dead a while now. My relationship with my mum definitely improved over the years whereas it was always great with my dad. In fact, it was so good he came to live with us in Spain after mum died, until his death several years later. My son worshipped him and took his death very hard.

They were relatively easy going, my mum was a bit shouty but I was only smacked once or twice growing up in 60s/70s. I was an only and given all their attention but definitely not spoilt. Had chores to do for pocket money and gifts were never lavish, in fact some of my presents became family jokes!
They were always a big part of our lives, often living very close and holidaying together and I know my DH still misses my dad, in particular.

I always find the threads on here where people have had a dreadful/abusive relationship with their parents so upsetting. It makes me feel blessed to have had such a great relationship with mine.

JustDanceAddict Sun 24-Feb-19 15:37:30

Would only apply to my mum as my dad died when I was still a child.
She was easy going and we got on when I was an adult, but in small-ish doses. Enjoyed seeing her once a week and we’d go on one short break a year to see relatives abroad. We had a similar sense of humour too which helped. She wasn’t suffocating at all, in fact I’d say the opposite as she encouraged me to see friends and always let me have parties at home (mad woman).
Not sure what I’m going to be like with my two when they’re adults. I can see myself and DD going out and about a bit as we occasionally have lunch/coffee out, she likes spa days (is just old enough so we’ve done it once). DS has different interests although he likes comedy so I can see that being a common ground, but am waiting for him to come out the teen grumpy phase!!
Now the DCs are teenagers with their own lives I can see how parents can suffocate as you go from them being reliant on you to not wanting you around (apart from being a taxi, bank and chef!) and that’s odd.

poppycity Sun 24-Feb-19 16:21:37

I do, but it isn't without challenges. My Mum has very few boundaries, tells me what to do constantly, thinks nothing of putting me down in front of dc and there's a lot from childhood I've forgiven her for even if she's never asked me to! wink

I think parenting is bloody hard, and I hope my children forgive me for the times I wish I'd had a gentle word rather than a consequence. Now I'm a kitten compared to my Mum, but still I can't imagine getting your children to adulthood without some significant mistakes.

I think I have noticed where there is a healthy relationship there is a good balance of loving support, guidance, boundaries, teaching, and consequences (parents shouldn't be pushovers) with the parents having a healthy "out" that doesn't include children. Hobbies. Friends. Time away from parenting. Not that takes them away too much from their kids, but something that means their kids aren't there absolutely everything. There's something else they have that takes the lens of the dc every once in a while so their self-worth isn't completely tied to parenting and their children. It prevents kids from feeling suffocated. I have one friend who is currently like this with her child and she is rebelling big time at age 11. It's too much, too stifling..

The four friends from childhood who had the parents we all wanted have had a fascinating perspective in adulthood, and interestingly are LC and NC. Which is shocking if you knew how amazing we all thought the parents were.

Parent set 1 - minor celebrities due to sport, very much had their own lives outside of parenting. A lot of pressure on kids. Kids were high achieving but I admit by sixth form you could see things were amiss. But they have 3 kids: 1 extremely mentally unwell and she and psychiatric team feel the parental pressure + very little real time spent investing into kids rather than image, played a role. They were the most present, non-present parents. Aka we are busy but you better be the sports day start and get all A's. Left this child to parent the younger ones when they were too old for a nanny. This friend is very very LC with them. Middle child has gone NC blames them hugely for severe eating disorder and depression. Youngest is sports star and as self serving as they are and they socialize loads together. These parents were fun and games, loved at the school, donors, very funny, charming, and loving.

Friend 2 - Parents did anything for their kids. Greek immigrants and the Mum always was feeding us and giving up the lounge so we could hang out etc. The parents never had needs, it was all about the kids. But they lived for their kids and only for their kids. A bit suffocating/intense but hearts in the right place. The Mum could have friends over and the kids would turn up with friends and she'd immediately vacate lounge and start baking for us etc. Their kids could do no wrong. Nice boys, but I don't think learned to see how their parents may feel. Eldest boy was my friend, he married someone who is very difficult and he has no ability to stand up to her. None. He basically turned into his Mum. His wife only lets grandchildren see grandparents 2x a year for 1-1.5 hours (sends them a "you can see grandkids from 1-2:15 pm on December 27" emails). This friend says he wishes he could make it easier but it's his wife and he wants her to be happy. I remember for years his Mum would constantly say how much she wanted this friend and his brother to be happy. No backbone.

Friend 3 - Most amazing parents. Wealthy from Ireland. Kids never had chores, just truly lovely parents. Mum was a writer. Always freshly baked goods, hugs, welcoming atmosphere, support for whatever kids were involved in. Not sure she ever had a cross word with them. Gave all 4 kids deposits on homes £300K ish. Seriously. As adults I'm ashamed to say none of the 4 kids are really there for their Mum. They use her. Free childcare (50 hours/week), free vacations (she had a holiday home). After the death of her husband she was grieving and sold the holiday home. The fuss they put up. None ever seeing it from her perspective that she felt too isolated there (it was remote) and she wanted to instead to have less responsibility. She kept it for years none of them ever helped with maintenance even when she asked. They would use it for a couple weeks and leave no food, cleaning to be done, boat to be tidied etc. She was in her late 60's and couldn't anymore. Next they asked her to go to a destination wedding with them and she treated all the kids to tickets and she spent all day every day baby-sitting. They wouldn't even tell her when they'd be back. In 5 days she didn't have a meal with them, she was alone with grandchildren. She said something about how hurt she was, she realized no one wanted to spend time with her they just wanted her to baby-sit and they went NC. Seriously. NC. The worst offending child then sent her an email saying she owed them £400 for the remaining 5 days of childcare they had to pay at the resort since she wasn't there to baby-sit and they'd booked golfing, spa etc. I actually kept in touch with the Mum and see her a few times a year. She's so lovely and in her 70's is in therapy weekly for the first time in her life to try and help her cope with not seeing her grandchildren. A very brave woman who realizes a lot of where she went wrong as a parent was being too generous without letting her children see relationships are a two way street. She does have a good relationship with 1/4 kids, the one w/o kids who thinks her siblings are selfish users.

Friend 4 - Sisters spoiled rotten. Parents way too involved. Very very suffocating. None of us were close to them the girls who were twins. Both chose NC with parents in their 30's when they'd plowed through all their parents and grandparents money. I wish I was kidding. Parents spiralled into terrible depression last I heard.

So I think it's much about balance. Teaching your kids to use you isn't healthy. Teaching your kids you are a human with needs and feelings and that a relationship takes work, recognizing each other's needs and the need for healthy communication is very important. Teaching them you will do things wrong and people require forgiveness is crucial. But I also think it greatly depends on the stage your kids are in. You can be a friend to your child at 20 that wouldn't be appropriate at 10. But you should also be teaching and training them to need you less and less as they get older. Ensuring you aren't suffocating them and that they know you are always there for them, but their most reliable person is themselves first and foremost.

Looking back on friends the two unhealthy dynamics are suffocating/too involved parents and parents who don't have their own needs/boundaries that kids need to respect. For sure it's about balance.

Blessthekids Sun 24-Feb-19 16:32:41

@poppycity Blimey those are some stories. I feel for the parents. All you can do is your best and then hope it works out.

junebirthdaygirl Sun 24-Feb-19 16:42:36

Our dc are grown now. We get on well after some trying times with ds1 as a teen. I was strict enough about school/ homework/ chores/ answering back etc but now they say they are glad of that..We were always conscious of telling them we were there for them and open about chatting about stuff. We don't go on holidays together as they are in their 20s and travelling with friends together. And we would have to pay!!
I never went on holidays with my dps as we liked our own holidays but we saw them lots and were very close. Our dc come home regularly and message and call. They ask us for advice and generally chat over stuff with us.
Their friends were always welcome here and still are when dc are home. We are not a perfect family but l'm pretty happy with our relationship.

Ithinkmycatisevil Sun 24-Feb-19 17:02:37

My mum was borderline abusive when I was a child, my dad worked two jobs and I don't think he realised how bad mum was.

I them as often as I have to, I'd like to spend more time with dad, but mums hard work. Luckily she's not one to seek out my company often either. She does phone regularly to talk all about herelf, but that's ok, I just let her talk and carry on with what I'm doing.

I really hope that my dds want to have a good relationship with me when they're adults. I work hard to be as different from my own mother as possible, but you never know how they'll feel when they're adults.

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