If you could raise your kids again, what would you change?

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by SomewhereOutThere, Jun 11, 2016.

  1. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I saw this on another site and thought I'd try it here.

    My biggest thing is that I think I was too quick to give on, too inconsistent and I believe I should not have divorced my first husband until Princess was eighteen. I also would have been tougher on respect toward myself and not made my entire life about the kids. I think I helicoptered too much when they were young, especially with Bart, but I did learn to stop that by his teens and was able to let go of all my kids at appropriate ages (this was a close call!)

    Anyone else want to play?
  2. Endeaver

    Endeaver New Member

    I wouldn't change much except as the Difficult Child got to college age. I was treating him like when he was younger ( truthful and trying) but I gave him too much benefit of the doubt and he has wasted his college money and I don't know what he is really doing now (scary). But since he is over 21 and, through this site, I have done better at not fixating on this. The site also helps me deal with those yucky comparison feelings to our group of friends whose kids have all done well.

    So, to answer your question, I would have stopped believing him sooner and made him either put up the money for school and housing or given me better proof of grades than verbal or, in hindsight, a faked report.
  3. A dad

    A dad Active Member

    Well I will try to listen to my youngest more of course its gonna be a failed attempt because I do not have the patience even now. Yes its true I will zone him again. For the rest not much in the end both are independent adults even if one of them has a bad social life if he has one.
  4. pasajes4

    pasajes4 Well-Known Member

    I would have been less reactive.
  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Me too, pad.

    Talk less, listen more.
  6. pasajes4

    pasajes4 Well-Known Member

    SWOT, I agree about listening more. With the youngest, it would be to listen to what was not said.
  7. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Pass, my oldest was and still is a talker and he was quite disrespectful as a teen and young adult. He can still be at times. I wish I had focused more on his words than his tone. I can deal with him better now that I have insisted on respect and listen more/advise less.I understand hearing what they DON'T say too!!!
  8. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Patience. I had very little. Looking back, I think I was depressed even then, but didn't realize it. I was constantly stressed and on edge.
  9. LoveSushi

    LoveSushi Member

    I would have kept my word. I caved all too often on what should have been consequences in discipline. (Grounding, taking away privileges, etc). That destroyed their trust and and transferred all the power to them.

    I would have stayed married to their dad.

    I would have drank less.
  10. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    I wish I wouldn't have been so young but the biggest thing is I wish I could have been a stay at home mom.
  11. Ironbutterfly

    Ironbutterfly If focused on a single leaf you won't see the tree

    I wish I would have been less reactive and been able be a stay home Mom, especially with oldest. I was burned out trying to raise him and handle his multiple issues.
  12. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    I would have trusted myself more.

    I would not have had my Family of Origin in my life. Though that is an incidental thing I know now but did not know then because I still had hope for what could be. I would have been a stronger, happier mother and would have held the goal of providing a mentor for centering the self, facing the issue, and responding rather than reacting. As it was, I lost my confidence. I came to believe I must have done something very wrong. I tried so hard to find it so I could address it. I believed the professionals could help us. Maybe, I just got a string of really bad professionals?

    But they did not help us.

    Just the opposite.

    In the end, a strong, capable mother who, right or wrong, believed in herself and her children, would have helped both D H and I to be the calm in the eye of the storm.

    A huge piece of my healing now, and the healing my children are doing, has to do with my believing, and portraying to them, that they are brilliant and capable and strong. That the question is not whether or not a mistake has been made, but where we intend to take ourselves and our lives and how to go about getting there, from here. From where we are, today.

    I believed they needed my protection, my guidance. The protection and guidance they needed then and need now, was their own. I wish I'd had the ability to believe I'd given them the tools they needed, and I wish I been able to believe they would come through, would turn things in ten thousand directions, in any direction they decided to go.

    Any time.

    Then, or today.

    That strengthens my kids now. (When my son is speaking to me, that is. Which he sort of maybe is not, again, right now. I think we are doing Low Contact. Which is what we are always doing. Good. He knows how to bring himself through this. He does not need me.)

    What the kids are doing is a choice.

    Why doesn't matter.

    I thought why mattered.

    It doesn't, so much. It is what it is. An addiction is an addiction. No one can help us. That idea that someone can help us, that someone knows better than we do how to come through this is a tricky thing.

    Where an addiction is concerned, we have to come through it ourselves.

    I don't know what the answer is, for a mental illness. But I remember you SWOT, telling us that an illness does not excuse us from the consequences of our actions.

    I've never forgotten that.

    This is such a great question, SWOT. Because it is never too late to change what is, now. I am working very hard on that, today.

    To be a better, stronger me, instead of a guilty, sorrowful me.

    I would have done private school for them. (I did, but not until Junior High. I would have done it from the beginning, if I had it to do over. I would have Homeschooled, actually. But it wasn't so possible to do that, back in the day.) Montessori. I would have participated with them in martial arts. I would have put myself and my mothering first every time. But in that day and time, we were wives and mothers. Not just mothers.

    Tanya...I was a mom at home. I was PTA, Brownies and Cubs and Scouts person.
    (I did Girl Scout cookie campaigns so many times I don't care if I never see another one. Did you know the Troop receives almost nothing?) I went back to work when my kids were in Junior High. I worked part time, 11 to 3. I was there in the morning. I was there when they got home.

    You could have blown me over with a feather when this happened to all of us.

    It wasn't that you were a working mom, Tanya. Anymore than it is that I was a mom at home.

    So that is what I would do differently. I would have been better than I was, better than I am.


    We all are faced with challenge. My children are not exempt from this and neither am I. As I see it now, my job as their mother was to be a human being capable of modeling balance and courage and strength in the face of adversity.

    Not to protect them from adversity.


    For me, this has to do with the capacity to detach from the emotions that come up when we believe we have failed. And when we love them so much, maybe, almost certainly, more than ourselves. In fact, challenge is challenge. We cannot bargain with an addiction or an illness or my wiffling parenting, or the kind of marriage D H and I created, and neither can they. What we can do is learn correct response. This has to do with teaching the child that he is the one making the choices. Instead of allowing the crooked path of blaming and enabling and guilty mothering, which is what I did. I felt so responsible. I never wanted my children to suffer. I was horrified that they were suffering. To assuage my horror, I bounded from parenting technique to parenting technique. I enabled. I took control and somehow, that changed everything because I lost respect for my own children.

    And for myself, of course.

    I think that's what happened.

    But we all suffer, to one degree or another.

    My children are not exempt.

    So, to teach our children how to keep their feet against the Wind is what I would do differently. I would not be so wrapped up in Family Dinner imagery that I accepted any behavior at my table without seeing it for what it was: Disrespect. Disrespect for self, and other.

    That was the heart of the thing I did not address. Lying and stealing and everything that came from that, had to do with disrespecting self and other.

    So says me. That is where I went wrong.

    So, I would have respected myself and my courage and taught that to my children. I would not panic when things were so awful. I would not look in ten thousand places for answers that did not exist.

    I would not have taken my daughter to that dual diagnostic. I would not have listened to a word they said, when they said she needed treatment.

    I would never put her in treatment.

    That was a bad mistake.

    I can say that now.

    But then, I did not know.

    I did not know then that we were in deep trouble and though there were people who would take our money and take our children, there was no one to help us.
    There was no one to care when our children were still so troubled and our family had begun to unravel. We would have done better alone than what happened to all of us with the help of the professionals.

    I know.

    Bad Cedar.

  13. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I have been told by many people that I did not put enough pressure on my son to take on responsibilities when he was young. He did have chores but M, for example, had all of his kids working and they helped build their house! On the other hand the child psychiatrist told me that it was a good thing to not put my son under extreme pressure when he was young, putting demands on him that he could not meet at the time.

    I was told I was wrong to travel with him, to take him out of school, and put him into school in foreign countries. He completed 3 years of junior high and high school outside of the US public school system. But then my son believes this was the best time of his life and his strongest aptitudes and interests stem from his living in other cultures.

    I was very wrong to allow myself to be bothered by the gossip and criticism of neighbors with my son and about me. I should have kept my power but I was very, very hurt.
  14. ksm

    ksm Well-Known Member

    I would let them fail more often, and face failure at a younger age...instead of being overprotective. I would push them to try sports more while they were young, because by the time they were in junior high, they couldn't catch up to friends who had been on teams. (Not that they could have been high school athletes, but because of the lessons learned, about practice, about being part of a team).

    I would try to verbalize my spiritual beliefs more, in words and actions.

    I would try to form an extended family for them...as we don't have many relatives nearby.

    I would have made me, and my marriage a bigger priority than them...

    I would drop the small battles, and become a warrior for the bigger battles.

    Somehow, I wish I could have made them feel more important...to value themselves more, not to settle for mediocre friendships and goals.

  15. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    This was my biggest mistake and regret that I forgot to mention. When my son was a toddler we had neighbors we were very close to that were highly religious. The grandma, she was maybe 82 at the time came right out and told me: You mean you are not going to take him to church? Can we?

    I do not know how I responded, but it never did happen. I am a different faith than they were but I see the important thing was to have been a believer to understand life through the eyes of belief. At that time I did not sufficiently understand this essentially important thing to me. Imagine how I feel that my son mocks faith?
    We did not have much of an involvement with extended family either, nor did we have a stable and enduring group of friends. We moved around a lot and left the country, to different countries. As much as we gained, we lost.
  16. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I wonder if I always had the horrible limitation where I could not or would not hear his pain.
    Me too, especially when I felt attacked.
    I never could be, except for many of the years after he was 10 but he was already older. I am not certain he suffered from my working. I think he benefited from the play and activities with other kids. For several years of the time I worked I worked 4 longer days. This helped.

    I assumed he could be independent in things and this was a good thing. When he was 11 and I had to work early, I dropped him off at a cafe near his school at 6:45am. There was no bus from our house or anybody who could watch him or carry him to school. I gave him $10 for breakfast, told the cafe workers so they would understand, and he walked the two blocks to school. He loved it. I was worried.

    I also let him travel alone to a foreign country (with a group of adults for a martial arts tour). He continues thrilled that he was able to do this. He was 15. He continues to tell people--you won't believe it but my mother let me travel by myself to xx.
  17. AppleCori

    AppleCori Well-Known Member

    For my 11yo--I would have divorced her father much sooner.

    For my olders--I would have emphasized life skills, family, and volunteerism to a greater degree than I did, and paid work a bit less.

    I wouldn't have stressed the academics quite to the degree that I did in their elementary years, specifically with my son, whom I pushed quite hard because of his innate math/science gifts.

    I would have taken them out of public school much sooner.

    I should have recognized the subtle signs of my daughter's bipolar earlier than I did. Looking back, I can see it.
  18. ggasmcw

    ggasmcw New Member

    I would have found a different therapist for daughter. At the time no one else I knew had gone through anything like this. No one had heard of ADD then so she wasn't medicated like now I know might've helped. I've told her to go to the doctor and see about getting medications but she hasn't/won't.
  19. ggasmcw

    ggasmcw New Member

    I was a stay at home mom, had the kids involved in church, scouts, clubs...did everything my mom did for us. Sometimes things just happen. :(
  20. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    I would live in the country. Either farming or on an acreage, from the time they were very small. They do so much better outside of the busy, noisy, dirty city environment with all it's pressures. I guess I do, too.