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Don't make this mistake

Discussion forum for parents in Australia


Don't make this mistake

I would like to give all parents here an important warning from experience and hindsight. If you want your children to grow up to be kind and giving, you must make them be kind and giving as children. Not just let them see you are, they have to practice it. And you have to make them do things they don't want to do otherwise they grow up and don't want to do anything for anyone. I grew up with a very abusive mother who was angry and unfair all the time so I vowed to be the opposite to my kids. As a result I had 2 kids who I was extremely kind and loving and giving to them. I did everything for them and always believed when they grew up they would love me for all I did and was for them, and would treat me the same. How wrong I was. I never wanted them to have to do things they didn't want like dishes, cleaning rooms, etc etc. I felt it was unfair to make them do it if they didn't want to when I could just do it myself. How wrong I was. I never made them pay for anything with pocket money, and never made them pay board as teenagers. My daughter smashed my new uninsured car when she first started to drive (from driving in a way that I asked her every day to stop doing), and I didn't make her pay me back for it, as I didn't want her to have to use her money from work to do so. I just accepted the loss. So now fast forward a bit to now they are in their 20's and they have turned out to be selfish, ungiving, disrespectful, and mean to me. They won't do anything to help me, my daughter earns a lot of money and wastes it all on rubbish but gets annoyed if I ask her for $5 because I left my purse at home. And says make sure you give it back. Due to Covid-19 I am currently broke and unable to pay for a minor surgery I need but neither of my kids will help, even though they have plenty in the bank. My daughter has told me that when I get old I will have to go into a home because she doesn't think it's fair or old parents to intrude in their kids life when they are grown and have their own families. My son is living overseas temporarily and never calls or answers my messages, and my daughter never wants to be home. When she is home she is rude puts me down and talks to me like dirt. All of which I never did to her. I have learned that they don't want to give anything out of kindness because they never had to give anything. They don't want to do anything to help me because they never had to. Me setting the example and being so good to them did not make them be the same or appreciative of me. It made them disrespectful and Self centred. I would never dream of speaking to or treating my parents the way mine do. I have since asked a lot of parents with grown kids and all agree that being nice and fair and never making them do things they didn't want to ruins them and makes them not nice people. Even if you don't take my advice you will remember it when they are grown
Star contributor

Re: Don't make this mistake

Hi @ifonlyiknew , 


Thanks so much for sharing your story here, I'm so sorry to hear that things aren't great between you and your children at the moment. I'm sure a lot of parents reading will find your insights really valuable- setting boundaries and following through on those can be one of the most challenging parts of parenting teenagers, and it sounds like you acted out of love and a desire to protect your kids from the abuse you experienced as a child which is  completely understandable. 


Can I ask how old your kids are now? Is your daughter still living at home with you at the moment? 


I imagine this would be incredibly difficult, but have you ever spoken to your kids about how their behaviour makes you feel? 


It sounds like things have been pretty tough for you lately, do you have anyone who can help to support you? 


Thinking of you, and thanks so much again for sharing your story here. 





Re: Don't make this mistake

I didn't realise this group was for families of teens and young people when I first joined, I have 3 adult children, the youngest is 30 but may as well be 12.

 I tried to be a fair parent but had a partner that was over-permissive, especially with the youngest. My 30 year old had the intelligence and ability to be anything, i mean the boy is a genius. He has never had a proper job, he takes meth regularly and drinks alcohol until he blacks out every day he is not on meth. If he can't get alcohol he drinks metho.

I too was a daughter of a nazi mother but all of us kids supported her and were respectful of her to the very end. She didn't want to go into a nursing home and boy, it was hard work but we all took it in turns to care for her in her own home until she could no longer stay there, and then in our own homes. My eldest son has only just started speaking to me after 4 years, taking away my grandchildren who I now barely know. My daughter hasn't spoken to me for 3 years because of some throwaway comment another family member made about her wedding, and my youngest I have had to sever ties with before he emotionally killed me. He was selling my belongings for drugs, trashing the house and manufacturing meth in my home. I didn't know what it was because I am quite naive about drugs. I have got him into university 3 times now, and each time he has self destructed and left. He can't even get a drivers license because he will drive drunk or high. There is no chance left for him.

I had to work very long hours during their upbringing and whenever I tried to discipline them, my husband overrode my decisions and never backed me, and I wasn't there much of the time to uphold them myself. Someone had to put the food on the table though. Now I am the big bad wolf.

Not only do you have to be strong but fair, but you also need your partner, if you have one, to be on the same page as well

Super contributor

Re: Don't make this mistake

Hi @jazzie, thanks for sharing. It sounds like you had your challenges as a child and also as a parent too. You worked really hard to create a life for your family and I can only imagine how difficult your journey has been. It would be hard to raise children if your partner is on a different page to you as it can send a confusing message to children and create a 'good cop' and 'bad cop' mentality. Given everything you have been through, I am wondering if you have had the chance to talk to someone about all of this? It must take an emotional toll on you so it can help to have a place to vent and de-stress Heart