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Parenting Regrets

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  • Parenting Regrets

    Discussion on another topic sparked me to open up this topic. Let's learn from one another.

    What are your parenting regrets? What did you learn? How do you intend to change going forward?

    What mistakes did your parents make with you? Their parents with them?

    With a wider village to learn from maybe we can do better, faster? From birth to adults, parenting is hard. It's harder without a village.

    Update often, pretty please. Nothing it too small, nothing too much information. Rip off those bandages and masks....

  • #2

    This is one of my current biggest regrets as a parent. I was so focused on making a good impression and appearing interested in my kids programs that I spent that time talking to the other adults instead of focusing on my kids and how they felt about them. I relegated them to "silence while the grown-ups were talking" at their own events. I am so ashamed of it, now.


    • Cat Herder
      Cat Herder commented
      Editing a comment
      They are adults, now, so the only recourse I have is to tell them I am sorry and pass it on to other parents with kids young enough to help.

  • #3
    I was always wayyyy too worried about keeping EVERY THING in order that sometimes my littles didn't have my FULL attention often enough.

    I always gave in to my brother's 'special needs' sons even when I knew they were the culprits and wished I had not done this to my own sons. I have talked with them as they have become adults but what's done is done but hopefully they REALLY hear my sorry-for-that thru these words.

    I was home ALOT but being home doesn't necessarily mean quality time and I think we always wish we had done more.

    My youngest had one foot out the door from birth.....not sure if I created this distance or ???

    BUT both sons are still living independent lives sleeping at home at night and still going to church, still attending get-togethers, so I hope the family - gene is still there.

    I'm sure my sons, like all the other family members, now see faults-issues, but when the rubber meets the road, we as Family do BOND

    I never dreamed my sons would have vehicles, all that they need and most of what they want, so all that worry early in life was for naught! I would definitely wish I had worried less about trivial stuff.

    I must do a little something right as both sons still talk about things with me that I kind of wish I was never told. 🤣😁😆😍

    FYI....on my mom and dad's side of the family was preached CHURCH, FAMILY, SELF in that order for at least six generations, so that's my background!
    Last edited by Annalee; 09-16-2022, 07:02 AM.


    • Cat Herder
      Cat Herder commented
      Editing a comment
      "I was home ALOT but being home doesn't necessarily mean quality time and I think we always wish we had done more."

      This. This haunts my dreams. lol!!

  • #4
    Great topic for discussion!!

    One of the biggest regrets and lessons I learned as a parent...
    I regret trying so hard to get my son to be what I thought he should be verses what he wanted to be. I thought he was lonely because he didn't have a huge group of friends and wasn't interested in social activities or playing team sports like I thought he should be. I thought the way I was in childhood/school was how he should be too and since he wasn't that way I assumed he was unhappy and lonely.

    The lesson I learned was that he is who HE is, not who I thought he should be. He is happy, he does have friends and interests that he enjoys. Thankfully I learned this lesson before it was too late, although I am sure there are still some left over issues rooted in the fact that I did push him so hard to do certain things while he was growing up but he and I are close enough that we easily talk about this stuff now.

    I now recognize that he is some one that enjoys being quiet. He enjoys small groups of friends verses big social events. He enjoys activities such as scuba diving, video gaming, hiking, biking and reading. Not team sports or social clubs. He is okay in silence and doesn't always have to talk. He is happy and that is great!


    • Annalee
      Annalee commented
      Editing a comment
      I was raised in the 'seen and not hear' generation but my brothers and I had a wonderful childhood; where my parents were, we were....sports, vacations, etc. I do feel our generation had more respect for those around us! My parents were very consistent and we knew what they expected in the home or out of the home. I think we felt like our parents knew everything and there was no cell phone nor life360. I don't think my own sons have that healthy-fear and they have cells and life360. LOL
      Last edited by Annalee; 09-16-2022, 08:05 AM.

    • e.j.
      e.j. commented
      Editing a comment
      BC, one of my biggest regrets has always been that I DIDN'T push my son to be more social when he was younger. He has his interests and is a happy enough adult now but, like your son, is not into any kind of social scene. He's such a good person, intelligent, friendly, polite, funny... but I've blamed myself for the fact that he doesn't have much of a social life. Even though he says he's ok with it and is happiest doing his own thing, I've worried that by not signing him up for team sports or pushing him into extracurricular activities when he was younger, I may be partly to blame for his lack of a busier social life now. Reading what you wrote helps me to feel a bit less guilt ridden. Pushing/not pushing...they are who they are and as long as they're happy, that's all that really matters.

      While I'm confessing....I also regret putting so much effort into my job as a daycare provider and all that entails. I put so much energy into prep work, cleaning the house and just making the day go well for my daycare kids that I was too exhausted by the end of the day and on weekends to spend more time just having fun with my own kids.

    • Polka Tots
      Polka Tots commented
      Editing a comment
      I am a huge advocate for my boys. I’m 💯% introverted, as are they. They have received a lot of, “Be loud and proud” type comments. Their strengths of being a quiet introvert are: they are good listeners (rarely interrupt or talk over you), studious, rules followers… And they are the same as your son, they like non-competitive sports (my oldest does play soccer though). The guidance counselor is actually putting my younger son (first grade) in a small group to have game time, to see if he opens up more to the other kids. I’m like… you can go ahead and try. 🤷‍♀️ I don’t know how it will go, though? In a small group of his close friends, he is a chatterbox. And he is so independent in general. Not everyone needs or wants large groups of friends… It just seems a bit similiar to your son. ❤️

  • #5
    Another silly regret but I suppose important is that I really regret being so OCD about my kid's toys and rooms. I always expected them to keep their rooms neat and tidy. My DD told me one day as a young adult that there were times she didn't bother playing with certain things much because I was so adamant about keeping the pieces in certain orders or not mixing pieces from one thing to another. She said it was just too much work so she didn't bother.
    Their rooms looked like Pottery Barn magazines with everything sorted and organized and kept in specific places and neat and tidy. It killed me if she played Barbies and didnt put the clothes away neatly on little hangars or lined the shoes up in pairs on the shelves in her Barbie house closet. It killed me if my son built something with Lego's and took it apart and put all the blocks in one bin verses sorting out the red from the yellow or blue etc. My kids told me on more than one occasion that I sucked the fun right out of certain things.

    I am soooo different with the DCK's now in regards to how they keep the toys. lol! Lesson learned!


    • Annalee
      Annalee commented
      Editing a comment
      AMEN on the OCD for myself as well!

  • #6
    Ironically, my brothers and I did NOT marry someone as family-oriented as we were/are. I'm the oldest child and pretty-much handle EVERY thing within my home which is partly my fault/ocd but partly dh fault as well. He had a totally different upbringing-raised by his grandparents when his mother placed him in foster home so he doesn't TRUST anyone and believes EVERY ONE is out to GET every one else.

    DH ALWAYS thinks the WORST and is off-the-mark on EVERY thing before my sons, in particular, say a word. I DO HATE this because I DO believe he LOVES them but doesn't KNOW HOW to show love. Does this make sense? He had mellowed some as we were married over 7 years before having children. He adjusted well to one child but not to two...that haunts me.

    He can be jealous of when the boys get shoes, he WANTS shoes; he is a terrible money manager...thus why the early credit card debt in our lives as I THOUGHT I could buy we do have a marriage but I had to learn to do my thing while he doesn't do anything. Twice on banking mess-up and now I monitor it all.

    He does NOT go to all get-togethers, etc. My youngest feels sorry for dh at times but my oldest gets aggravated about dh. In the younger years I didn't talk about it but I knew they saw it. I was worried about 'learned behavior' in my sons but I think my other family members altered some of that.

    DH does take out the trash 😂and seems to have adapted to our life-change which happened around 2006....I was going to college, the boys were small, he wasn't very helpful but other family stepped up and we made it work. He doesn't argue anymore about money, me going and doing, etc.

    BUT I would be lying if I said it doesn't bother me....I get tired of being tough all the time. I would like to fall apart to dh and be hugged instead of falling apart to my brothers or mom. TMI, I know but another part of my therapy I guess. 😥

    So that's my life and I'm in it, chose it, and make the best of it!!!! 😐
    Last edited by Annalee; 09-16-2022, 09:04 AM.


    • SandBox
      SandBox commented
      Editing a comment
      My husband is very difficult too. He’s come a long way, but it has been a trying 15 years. I didn’t always respond right either. We both have trauma from early years of life though and like your husband, that trauma creates responses and reactions to triggers in the brain that are very hard to undo. Many you don't realize until your 30s. Your husbands lack of trust and suspicion is direct trauma response and it’s common from foster kids or children neglected/abused young. They didn’t develop trusting bonds to one caregiver in infancy and baby stages, toddler years too, and it has lasting effects.

      If you’re ever interested, read The Body Keeps The Score by Vessel Van Der Kolk. It will help you understand a lot.

    • Annalee
      Annalee commented
      Editing a comment
      Part of what your saying is true, but I find it difficult that he 'keeps' a long-standing job and is NICE to every one but those closest to him that has his back and accepts him for who he is....that is frustrating!!!!!! When he was in the hospital a few times, having minor surgeries, I was , like, who is this guy.

  • #7
    Great topic, CH! I am still raising my DDs so I’m still learning every day.

    Someone mentioned they regret forcing their child to be someone their child didn’t want to be. I regret that I expected DD10 to be the same Honor Roll student I was. DD is in 5th grade and this is the first year DH and I said we’d accept a C. All we can ask is that does her very best to get the most out of her education.

    Like others, I regret my OCD. I am the first to clean up after dinner. Not because DH/DD10 won’t do it, but because I don’t want to look at it. Same with family events. I actually just cleaned up after DD3 birthday party while talking with my grandfather. Later I thought to myself - your grandmother just past away a month ago and instead of sitting down to talk with your grandpa, you half listened while wiping down the counter. I felt guilty later.

    This next one is tough because I had to do it. I regret working so much when I had DD10. As a single mother, I know I had no choice. I am grateful for the opportunity because I could provide for my oldest on my own. Looking back, I would’ve taken more time off and set boundaries with my bosses/clients so I could be more present with her.

    I wish I had as much patience with my own kids as I do my DCK. I will redirect a DCK all day long, but if my DD do something once, I send them to their room/time out. KWIM?

    My parents showed me what not to do as a parent. My father physically/mentally/emotionally abused us. My mother couldn’t manage money and always put a man first. My mother favors my brothers over me. Neither of my parents really showed me unconditional love. I don’t have any relationship with my bio-father. My mother and I are on speaking terms since my grandmothers death, but before that, I hadn’t spoke to her in two years. My mother and stepfather did educate about anything we asked about - sex, drugs, etc. I believe that open communication and education really prevented me from making the same mistakes they had made.

    My grandparents (my bio-fathers parents) raised me for a few years. They really instilled a lot of the core, Christian values I have. They showed me how much work a marriage can be, but that’s it’s worth it. How to run a household, manage money, how to love and be loved, etc.
    Last edited by GirlMomma; 09-16-2022, 10:12 AM.


    • #8
      My own mother left when I was 2 years old. I was raised by my grandmother and aunt. My dad was in and out of the picture. I have a lot of abandonment issues. I was told by both my aunt and grandmother that my mother was neglectful. There were times they would show up to visit me. My mother would be outside in the barn attending to her horses. I'd be laying in my crib in a saturated diaper, wet from head to toe. I was told I never cried as a baby. I'm assuming this is because I learned very early on that there was no point.
      All this being said, when my children came along I did everything, I mean everything by myself for them. I never took any offered help. I wanted to be the best mother and thought that meant doing all the things myself. It takes a village. I wish I would have let others help me. I think kids benefit from others helping.


      • #9
        I definitely regret doing this job at times. I’ve often felt I give more attention to other peoples kids than my own.

        I regret not seeking help before marriage and kids for triggers that manifested poor responses that really came out by raising kids.

        My kids are still young so I still have a ways to go.