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Parents too involved in their children’s lives?
105

Earbogeys · 26/01/2022 00:05

Some of the posts on MN (and yes I am aware it’s not necessarily representative of real life) by parents talk about their children’s’ lives in such anxious, involved detail. I’m sure they have their reasons.

Not tiny children, where obviously this is entirely appropriate, but secondary school age, and sometimes older!

I’m quite prepared to be told that I just had a weird upbringing, but my parents didn’t know the ins and outs of every friendship, drama, argument, feeling or even get involved in my homework, exams or extracurriculars. I’m closer with my mum by a long way and she certainly knew who my friends were etc. or if there was a significant issue, but I can’t in a million years imagine her posting on a forum agonising about, for example, my social circle or (!) my university workload. I still did well at school and got a 2:1 in a science degree. I think the space to increasingly have your own life at the teen stage is healthy, and certainly beyond this age.

I’m not here to bash concerned parents, but I wonder if anyone else thinks similarly, even if from time to time? Again, I think my own parents could have been a bit more involved, and this post is probably driven a lot by my own Confused feelings about it all. Also have to acknowledge that times change but still this surprise lingers when I read these posts.

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Earbogeys · 26/01/2022 00:08

Of course I understand that some children for various, not always obvious, very important reasons need more support than others, and I am absolutely not referring to posts where the child is stated to have particular extra needs such as this.

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Kitkat151 · 26/01/2022 00:11

Are you bored OP?
Or are you like me ....have problems getting to sleep?

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AffIt · 26/01/2022 00:14

I agree, but I also wonder if it's quite generational: I'm in my early 40s, and I grew up in a world of adults.

I don't have children by choice, but I have many friends and family members who do, and it all seems a bit arse over tit now.

As you say, OP, my lovely parents could maybe have been a wee bit more involved (even though at points I thought they were verging on the neurotic), but I would have hated the amount of hovering and interference in my life that seems to be the norm now, especially as a teenager/young adult.

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AlexaShutUp · 26/01/2022 00:15

I know tons about my 16yo dd's life - her friends and the social dynamics of her group, her teachers, her extracurricular activities, her part time job and her boss, her opinions on all sorts of random stuff. Lots of trivial detail tbh.

I am not remotely worried about any of it. I don't consider myself overly involved as I never actually intervene in any way. I'm just interested. She likes to talk and I like to listen.

Tbh, I tell her quite a lot about my life too. My work, friends etc. Not confidential stuff, just general stuff.

We just like to talk!

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wanttomarryamillionaire · 26/01/2022 00:17

I agree op, I find it slightly weird. Im also in my 40's and my parents were never like that, I didn't parent my kids like that either.

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Earbogeys · 26/01/2022 00:21

@Kitkat151 Neither!

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Earbogeys · 26/01/2022 00:22

@AlexaShutUp That sounds nice and balanced, knowing and caring but not interfering. I think it’s important to be listened to, and sounds like you do this and your daughter has a good example to follow Smile

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Allaboutthebooks · 26/01/2022 00:24

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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AlexaShutUp · 26/01/2022 00:24

Thanks OP, it works for us.Smile

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Earbogeys · 26/01/2022 00:25

@AffIt
@wanttomarryamillionaire

I agree about it being a bit generational. Although I’m a smidge younger, my parents are older which makes a difference IMO.

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blueshoes · 26/01/2022 00:25

OP, do you have dcs of your own who are teenagers or older and if so, do you have more than one dc?

You know, dcs are different and need different levels of support and parents are different and some like to get more involved than others. You are on a parenting board, that should give you a clue.

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Earbogeys · 26/01/2022 00:28

@Allaboutthebooks It does sound very challenging, and the example you gave about the communication between you and the school highlights something that wasn’t there when I was a teen.

I learnt recently that a local school ranks the children by behaviour in a list and the parents are updated on an app in real-time. This is madness IMO!

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Earbogeys · 26/01/2022 00:34

@blueshoes

OP, do you have dcs of your own who are teenagers or older and if so, do you have more than one dc?

No, and that’s why I’m saying what crosses my mind at times and asking for peoples’ take on this subject.

You know, dcs are different and need different levels of support and parents are different and some like to get more involved than others.

I acknowledge this, and indeed wish I had had MORE involvement within reason. I also stated above that I’m sure everyone has their reasons, and I mean that. I am sure I am ignorant of many, many things with regard to parenting teen(s) in 2022.

You are on a parenting board, that should give you a clue.

Thanks, I was aware.

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ReggaetonLente · 26/01/2022 00:44

I agree op. My parents knew my friends to say hello to but they certainly weren't aware or indeed interested in who said what, who'd fallen out with who etc. Like you I sometimes wish I'd had a bit more guidance maybe but on the whole I don't think it's healthy for parents to be as involved as we sometimes see on here.

I think it can be about healing their own wounds though - mums who struggled socially as kids and had a tough time and they are desperate for their children not to go through the same, and I get that and sympathise.

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Earbogeys · 26/01/2022 00:51

@ReggaetonLente I am sure everyone is just doing their best for their family. Life is so bloody hard and people that care deeply are not people I wish to shame or criticise.

I think I would have been better wording my OP as “There seems to be a shift in the direction of parents being more involved, do you agree? Do you think it is a good thing?”

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SquarePeggyLeggy · 26/01/2022 00:58

I’ve taken a huge step back because of this very reason. And I see the overly involved parents and how stressed out and meddling they are. There are some very demanding parents at my sons school who are trying to control their kids environment, while being oblivious to the fact their kid is the common denominator in the problems they have.
Unfortunately we stepped back too far, and my son created some social problems for himself and now we’re back to close monitoring of him and controlling his social situation a bit more.
I did so many dangerous and secretive things as a teenager. I don’t want that for my kids, so try to know more about them.

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givethatbabyaname · 26/01/2022 00:58

I agree with you OP, and as a parent I often struggle to find the right balance. My parents were very hands on in some parts of my life, totally clueless in others. That was by design, I think. They wanted me to have total freedom in some areas because they knew I had little in others.

I find myself falling into a similar pattern (unsurprisingly) but am in a social circle where mothers talk to their daughters about everything and are often aghast when I say I have no clue about this or that. Aghast in a way that makes me wonder whether I should try to find out what my daughter, in particular, is up to. But, she’s a good kid and I really don’t want to encroach. If she needs or wants me, she knows she only has to ask. Everyone is allowed to make mistakes in private. I think that’s especially important these days.

Generally, it’s a bit of a struggle as I try to find confidence in my approach. Not the hardest part of parenting though, it has to be said!

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blueshoes · 26/01/2022 00:58

You are on a parenting board, that should give you a clue.

Sorry, that sounded snide. I meant you will see a very skewed demographic on this board. My indifferent parents would definitely not be on mn if it existed back then. If they weren't emotionally present for me in person, why would they be on a parenting board.

I have 2 teen dcs, one of whom is happy to get on with his life and doing great at school and socially. Another who I am worried has inattentive ADHD and struggles at school and at social communication. I am definitely of the laissez faire parenting variety but have had to massively step up for dd. In her school report, they said my dd was at times 'over-supported' by her parents. I wish I did not have to as I have a full on full time job.

Dd does not talk about her friends much. Ds is a gossip and is comes to the dinner table with the latest drama amongst his friends and what they get up to. 2 different children.

Parents these days spend more money on their dcs, often having to fund their activities and university. Dcs have more competitive lives. It is a totally different ballgame from the previous generation where you just sprinkle water and watch the children grow.

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HarrietSchulenberg · 26/01/2022 01:01

I agree OP. I used to work at a university and staffed Open Days, and was always amazed at how much the parents involved themselves compared to their children. The parents invariably asked the questions while the children stood mute. The ones who did ask their own questions really stood out as being more mature than the ones whose parents did the talking, and it did get noticed. When I was a sixth former we all attended Open Days on our own, travelling alone on trains, coaches and buses often for hundreds of miles and with a few changes on the way. Very few turned up in cars with parents in tow. There are often posts on here along the lines of, "We are thinking of X university for ds1" and I wonder how much input ds1 is actually getting in his own education.

We also have a lot of local parents involving themselves in their teenagers' dramas at school, sometimes spilling over onto social media. I do think some parents are projecting their own life experiences and unconsciously reliving their own youth. I think it shows a lack of trust in their child's own abilities and does little to foster strong resilience.

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TedMullins · 26/01/2022 01:02

The weirdest (in my opinion) is adults overly involved with their parents. I read a post on here once from a parent who was giving a house deposit to their adult child and wanted to go to all house viewings with them, veto houses they didn’t like, and also mentioned having “got them their jobs” and helped them choose the area they currently live in. Christ, I’d rather have no money and make my own decisions! I still hear 30+ year olds calling their parents ‘home’ and buggering off there at every opportunity which admittedly is probably partly to do with being in London and people not owning their own place/still house sharing, but it does strike me as slightly pathetic.

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OutwiththeOutCrowd · 26/01/2022 01:25

OP, I agree and think it's a worrying development.

If the intensity and brainpower of all the mothers - and it is usually the mothers - who are currently living vicariously through their children was redirected towards their own forgotten talents and passions, it would surely be healthier all round.

But, in a sense, I don't blame them. Society, especially in certain quarters, has become very competitive about children and their schooling and upbringing. It is turning mothers into education organisers and life curators.

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gsaoej · 26/01/2022 01:32

You sound like you were a fairly easy child to bring up OP. Many aren’t and I think most of us are just trying to do our best for our kids.

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UnicornsReal · 26/01/2022 02:04

Adults will call their parents house ‘home’ if it’s where they were brought up and have memories. Many 30 years olds do not own their own homes either. Do you expect them to think of a rented flat with flatmates as ‘home’? How ridiculous. I have two adult children living in rented flats. Neither have lived in their current flat for long as they have moved a lot. Coming back ‘home’ is comforting.

I worry about my children a lot, for good reason. The world we live in now is not the world it was when I grew up. It’s much more complex and fraught with challenges .

My parents didn’t worry about me or support me beyond the basics. That was quite common when I was growing up. However it was a world with job security and felt a much safer place generally.

Do you have children OP?

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LadyPropane · 26/01/2022 02:11

I think children have much less independence generally, and this sort of involvement goes hand in hand with that.

It's not necessarily a bad thing. It certainly seems safer than it was when I was growing up. It has its positives and negatives.

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Agadorsparticus · 26/01/2022 02:17

I think it's really necessary to keep lines of communication open so that teens can approach you with any difficulties they are having. I remember that age, emotions are heightened and it can be a tough time with insecurity and anxiety.

I had a distant relationship with my parents, I was a badly behaved teen but they didn't know me or what I was dealing with on a daily basis.

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