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Expecting your child to be perfect? Adolescent relationships spilling over into adult life

(7 Posts)
Shagmundfreud Mon 31-Dec-12 10:25:40

I see a lot of posts on other boards from people who feel that anything they did as a child wasn't good enough for their parents. People who feel criticised and have carried it with them into adult life, where it's damaged their relationship with their wider family.

DD has made comments about me expecting her to be perfect. More than once. And I'm thinking - I don't expect you to be perfect, I just want to see that you're putting SOME effort into SOMETHING worthwhile. I don't mind if she's crap at things. I just want her to try. At anything. Just not be spending every spare waking moment she's not at school on her bed texting/in front of the tv/computer/horizontal on the sofa. She doesn't read. Has no hobbies. Doesn't really help at home. Does no exercise. Does the bare minimum at school, and only does that when everyone is on her back to do it.

I know teenagers see things in a distorted way - it's almost like she's on another planet, her interpretation of events at home. She really thinks we're cruel and uncaring, when actually we're the opposite - driving ourselves mad trying to encourage and support her to make something of her life.

And the posts you see elsewhere on the board about toxic parents make me wonder if some of the problems that are rooted in adolescent/parent relationships are carried on into adulthood. Or are there really lots of horrible parents out there treating their adult children in a selfish and horrible way? DH and I both love our parents so much, even though they drive us bonkers sometimes. We talk to them every day, even though we're in our 40's now. I feel devastated at the thought that what's going on with dd now will spill over into our adult relationship. Terrified at the thought that we might be estranged when she's an adult.

GeorgyF Mon 31-Dec-12 12:09:31

Dear Shagmundfreud, you really have my sympathies. I think there's a difference between truly toxic (ie abusive) parents and people who have an overdeveloped sense of entitlement. I know I thought my parents (who are fab) were dreadful when I was a teenager. I have the same issues and worse with my DD. (see post on thread from MaryZ) Hopefully, we'll all make it through

hadagutsfull Mon 31-Dec-12 15:43:41

Another one struggling here! They just can't see that we only want the best for them. I try to take comfort from the fact that I was pretty much the same & turned out ok (I think!) in the end. Now i know just what my parents went through with me - karma and all that!

webwiz Mon 31-Dec-12 15:44:18

DD1 was an absolute nightmare as a teenager and we had a terrible relationship but now that she is 21 we had managed to get back to being closer. We do sometimes talk about when she was at her worst though and I explain why we were angry about certain things or why we acted in certain ways and she gives her version of what she was feeling at the time. She does agree that we were right about some things but doesn't really agree about others (she has her opinions though on how she will get it completely right for her own children grin).

I hope that the fact that we are open about it in a way my own parents would find impossible and willing to apologise if we feel we got it wrong will stop her ending up carrying it forward in a negative way.

Fairyliz Mon 31-Dec-12 19:18:18

shagmundfreud I feel your pain! My daughter is just like this; I would just like her to do something or have a hobby whatever it might be.
I really worry about this and wonder what will happen to her when she gets out in the real world.
Sorry that wasn't muchhelp to you was it? just wanted you to know you are not alone

flow4 Tue 01-Jan-13 12:36:07

Interesting post, Shag. And it's a very interesting thought that some of the adults who still believe that their parents were horrible to them may be hanging on to some old teenage attitudes and emotions. Most of us are aware that our teens have a distorted perspective on things... But how and when do they start to grow out of that, and what if they don't? And what if we haven't either, quite...?! confused

chocoluvva Sun 06-Jan-13 22:21:41

That's very like my DD and also my feelings about my DM - although, my DD is not QUITE as horizontal as yours from the sound of it. It's sooo frustrating.

I don't think you'll be estranged when she's older. I 've been amazed at how DD's friends who seem lovely and the very-nice twenty-something DCs of my friends are/were hideously behaved at home. It does seem to be normal.

I'm sure no-one is the perfect parent and the less than perfect parenting styles of our parents bring their benefits as well as their disadvantages.

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