10 Ways Our Parents Were Better Parents Than We Are


“I am never going to treat my kids the way you treat me! It’s not fair!” is a phrase I remember using on a regular basis growing up. I never thought my parents were fair. They obviously hated me and wanted me to be miserable. In fact, they were punishing me for being born. They clearly did not want me, and they wanted me to grow up with nothing, doing nothing and having the most boring, horrible and uncool childhood imaginable.

Except that my parents did love me, wanted me to have a cool childhood and they also wanted me to grow up safe, happy and not so much a total jerk. They had it so easy back then. No social media, no internet; we had to have all our phone conversations with our friends from the ‘privacy’ of the hallway since that’s as far as the phone cord would stretch from the living room. No one was watching their every move, judging them for not having their kids enrolled in every single extracurricular activity ever and the ‘perfect parents’ of Pinterest did not exist.

Am I bitter about that? Probably. Our parents had it far easier. We were much more respectful than our own kids, and it’s not because our parents had it easier. It’s because they were just better parents than we are today. It’s the truth; I’m not even going to pretend it’s not. You can deny it, say you’re a better parent than your own – and maybe you are in some ways – but in the most fundamental aspect of parenting, we kind of suck. Just hear me out; here are the ways in which our parents were better than any of us are today.

Our parents followed through

If there is one thing we fail at on a daily basis, it’s the follow-through when it comes to our kids. We find ourselves warning our kids not to do something “one more time” or we will do whatever it is we feel will make them quit. And then we tell them again, and again, and again. Yet we never once make a move to do anything that we said we were going to do. Most kids today don’t even believe their parents when they issue threats because they’re perfectly aware they are empty all the way through.

Our parents tolerated far less

My parents tolerated nothing but the highest of expectations. There was no, “You’ll do better next time,” when a bad grade was earned. It was immediate discipline, disappointment and a lecture on being lazy and irresponsible. There was not tolerance of poor behavior or not doing something the first time it was said. My parents, and many parents back then, did not tolerate anything, and it made us far better kids.

Our parents were not influenced by everything in the world

Social media, Pinterest, photos online; my parents were acting like complete animals trying to clean the living room to take a quick “natural” photo of the kids that they could post on social media with what appears to be a perfect house in the background, or taking us places they didn’t really want to go because it made them look like all the other good parents online. Our parents were not influenced by people discussing why their method of parenting was better on an internet blog. They were who they were and didn’t care what others thought.

The world was simpler

Our parents could open the door and let us go outside and play in the yard until dinner and never once check on us because the world was a simpler place. Sure, bad things happened and maybe our parents were neglectful in that manner, but we weren’t exposed to it so we didn’t know. Additionally, we learned very quickly to be creative, imaginative and self-sufficient humans, whereas half the kids in the world today can’t even wipe their own behinds in high school because their parents do it for them (Figuratively…at least, I hope).

Warnings were not a thing

Secondhand smoke, alcohol dependency, rear-facing until age 56…these things were not a thing when our parents were raising us. Sure, we are much safer and much more aware today and therefore our kids are safer. But our parents were bundles of stress and fear at all times, which made them much more relaxed and more efficient parents. It worked for them; we are too uptight today.

Our parents believed that rules were rules

There are rules, and that’s the end of the story. You break the rules, you will suffer. That was life when we were growing up. Today, kids break rules and get 89 more chances until they become totally entitled, spoiled rotten monsters that have no idea how to properly behave in the world. Our parents had this one down.

Our parents made us fend for ourselves

Play outside, fix your own breakfast, dress yourself; our parents were not doing everything for us. I was doing my own hair in second grade. My daughter still has me washing her hair in second grade. Seriously; she’s got to stop and I have to stop being such an enabling sucker.

Our parents made us sorry

If I wasn’t sorry for my behavior, my parents made me sorry. There was no way that we were not going to feel bad about doing something wrong growing up. We were genuinely sorry because the consequences were that bad.

Our parents were kind of scary

My parents were amazing parents, but they scared the living daylights out of me. I didn’t know it back then, but I see it now. I didn’t want to disappoint them, and I didn’t want them to find out I did something they didn’t want me to do. They made me terrified to ever drink, smoke, try drugs or even become sexually active. Seriously; things that middle schoolers are doing now I wasn’t doing until I was well out of high school – and many of them I’ve never done in my life (smoking and drugs – not for me). I was too scared about what would happen if my parents found out.

Our parents were not our friends

I have a problem with parents that want to be friends with their adolescent kids. My job is not to be their BFF, I already have one – thanks. My job is to be their mother, and that’s something I learned from my mother.

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