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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.

PBobs Mon 25-Feb-19 04:53:10

My parents and I are very close. We are a little family of three. They both worked hard and full time but honestly I never felt alone or uncared for. I knew and know that they absolutely adore me. Would do anything they could to make my life easier. But they do that by letting me know they're there. Not by stifling me or controlling me. I had tremendous freedom as a child and was allowed to spend time with whomever I wanted wherever I wanted. That said, there were strict immovable boundaries and expectations around certain things - mostly involving being polite, kind and considerate of others rather than academics etc. So behaviour guidelines were all about how you make other people feel not just because it is the right thing to do or because they just said so. I remember as a child everything they did was based around how it made other people feel better so I guess I grew up in a home were caring about other people was the theme. And of course that included caring about eachother.

I excelled at school but that was because they instilled a love of learning in me. My mum is a voracious reader and I grew up surrounded by books. My dad had immense passion for his field of work and showed me that loving what you do makes hard work less hard. I work with students whose parents push them academically and they all struggle with intrinsic motivation and are more concerned with getting good grades than enjoying their learning.

My DH and I spend a week to ten days a year on holiday with my parents and every other year we see them twice a year for that time. We live overseas from them so we cram our time into that time together. I Skype them once a week or once every two weeks if work is rammed for me. Mum and I email a few times a week and I viber my dad every few days. I know they miss me but they really want me to make my own choices about what will make me happy. I would say they are very selfless. I have never had the "what about us/you left us/etc" talk from them. They did have me later in life so I don't know if that makes a difference. My mum says so.

It was a fun household. My school friends used to love my parents and we used to laugh a lot. My mum was a real laugh - dad used to love to feed and water everyone. I rarely ate dinner alone although usually I ate with mum as dad kept longer hours. I had my own key from age 10 or so for after school.

Sorry. Bit rambling but maybe there is something useful in there.

ParkaPerson Mon 25-Feb-19 01:02:02

I had a really happy childhood and love spending time with my family - my brother is the same.

I think my parents managed the balance of encouraging us and pushing us to be as independent as possible, while also making sure that we knew they would literally always be there for us. I know they'd do anything for me, but I'd never take the piss as I've always wanted to do things for myself. They also supported our different hobbies and interests - not neccessarily through money as we weren't well off- but by spending time with us. E.g. my brother was interested in music and my dad helped him build a guitar.

My major worry about parenthood nowadays is living up to their example with my own daughter

IndieTara Mon 25-Feb-19 00:55:30

I love spending time with my parents but they live abroad so I don't get to see them very often.

CuriousaboutSamphire Sun 24-Feb-19 18:50:06

Though the word narcissist is used far too often on some boards my father is one! He dragged us from pillar to post thoughout our childhoods, never finished a school year in the same school as I started.

I've posted before about the weirdness of my possessions only really being on loan, could be given to someone 'more deserving' at any point. Sperficially we had very loving parents who gave us great inspirational toys. But we never got to keep them (I am sure I had a Spirograph for Christmas but it was gone by trhe end of January, I was 7!).

I may even have touched upon how he separated DSis and I and then fleeced her of tens of thousand of pound, nearly taking her house when he went bankrupt (we have no idea how or why), nearly taking our mother with him, but she said she had taken out 'those' credit cards and loans!

I may have outlined how he has lived off her for for the last 15 years, taking her money, using it as his own, forever peeling a thousand here and a thousand there becasue he is retired and it is her duty to support her aged parents.

I don't think I have posted how I felt when I got it into my head that my mother is just as bad - he is her husband, he is right, if we don't like it we can fuck off - almost verbatim!

We are now waiting for "The Family" to come asking us why we are being so mean! He is totally the life and soul and mum is just such a respectable woman! But they have leeched of DSis for decades. I only escaped because theythrew me out at 17 and didn't come looking for me for almost 3 years - by which time I had moved about 150 miles away and was getting married!

So no... I don't have anything in common with them.

But don't let all of that ^ ^ think I am bitter or anything. DSis and I no just shrug and laugh. Having got together and discussed how we were divided and conquered we have mended our fences and are supporting each other properly. Neither of us have been made into miserable people!

But it still feels treacherous to type that out. Which is why I do it every now and then. Sorry to those who have read bits of it before!

Weathermonger Sun 24-Feb-19 18:48:00

I was/am strict with my kids - but reasonably so and I would always take the time to explain my reasons behind not allowing certain things. All my kids were/are expected to do chores, schoolwork comes before friends etc. When they started P/T jobs I insisted they turn up and on time, they have had responsibilities from a young age. My eldest is now finishing university, she has job offers both from at home and abroad, but she credits her success and work ethic with the way she was raised. She visits home as often as possible, comes on holiday with us, and enjoys her family life in general. I think it is definitely possible to have a strict upbringing but still have a loving relationship as adults. As children, you need to be their parent, when they are adults you can be their friend.

Aroundtheworldandback Sun 24-Feb-19 18:40:32

My parents are lovely people, not the most worldly so have unwittingly given me poor advice in the past. They are now elderly and I am now remarried. Dh loves them and likes taking them on holiday with us all the time as he says nothing lasts forever. I know he’s right and I try and treasure the time we have.

whiteroseredrose Sun 24-Feb-19 18:35:32

I have a good relationship with my DM. She gave me space as I got older. If I went out she'd want to know where, who with and how I was getting back. Other friends had to ask if they could go out in the first place.

She has had stages of trying to be controlling. She can't get her head around the fact that I'm not ambitious. We had major words at one time and she's backed off. She has always been there when I needed her as an adult. Was even there when I gave birth.

DH's parents are the same or more so. Lovely people who understand that everyone is different and don't expect us to be the same as them. Supportive and non judgemental.

So DH and I haven't been too controlling with our teen DC. Not taken phones away, switched off Internet or policed bedtimes. If they're tired we ask them if they can identify why. If exam results weren't great we asked about revision and how we can help. I did a course at work about tone of voice. We use adult to adult type conversations so that they don't feel babied. It seems to have worked to far 🤞

Echobelly Sun 24-Feb-19 17:41:50

I enjoy being with my parents a great deal.

They were very relaxed, liberal parents, but luckily we were all quite motivated kids so didn't need nagging too much. They trusted us and we didn't want to betray that trust by doing anything too daft - not that we were angels, but the important stuff like doing well at school and having friends was OK, so they didn't sweat anything else.

I think a really important thing is to find an interest to share with your kids that can last through adolescence - I think that reinforces a positive relationship later. Eg, I liked going to classical concerts and opera with my parents and still do (and DD likes going with me) and things like that. Parents and kids can bond over Harry Potter, or going on rollercoasters, or doing triathlons or whatever. So try to find that thing, ideally something they're likely to stay interested in as they get older, and that's a good start.

Thatsnotmyotter Sun 24-Feb-19 17:35:20

We (DH and I) socialise with my parents quite a bit. We do Parkrun with my dad whilst mum looks after DS and then have brunch together usually. I see my dad a fair bit in the week as I’m on maternity leave and he’s semi retired. We usually just take the baby and the dog for a walk together. Mum still works so I see less of her but we do get on really well.

My childhood was really lovely. My parents were relaxed and easygoing. I don’t remember having any specific rules to abide by, a hard curfew or specific tasks to do as such - I wasn’t given free reign by any stretch of the imagination but everything was decided on a case by case basis and as long as I wasn’t a dick and helped out at home, we all got on well. I remember just going with the flow - if the weather was lovely we’d go to the beach of an evening, sometimes we’d sit in a pub garden until well after bedtime, there were spontaneous camping trips and we were taken to festivals and parties. I love that my parents didn’t have a strict routine and we lived in the moment. I plan to do the same with DS.

Sunnydays365 Sun 24-Feb-19 17:14:26

I see my mum nearly every day, she comes on holidays with me,partner and kids, we eat out together. she wasnt a strict parent, when i was a teenager she was very easy going and trusted me as long as I told her where I was going etc, I had no reason to misbehave. Today we have a great relationship, she leads her life and doesn't get huffy if I'm doing my own thing. I think I'm going the same way with my kids,they know my limits and therefore have a lot of freedom. My dad was the same but he has passed now.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

@lettymoo that sounds really difficult.

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 14:14:24

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.

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

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.

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

*hairs breadth

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