The Parenting Project – Teen Years

The Parenting Project – Teen Years November 9, 2012

The next set of questions for the Parenting Project has to do with how you were parented as a teenager and how that affected your future parenting.

1. Did the type of parenting or discipline change as you moved into your teenage years?

2. Were you rebellious as a teen? How did your parents react to your changing self?

3. Did one parent cut you more slack on misbehavior/rebellion than the other?

4. At what age did your parents decide you could date? How did you feel about that?

5. When did your parents start treating you as an adult and stop their ‘hands on’ parenting?

6. Overall, how do you feel your parents did at their job of parenting you? What did you take away from that that you yourself decided to do or not do?

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  • The_L

    1. As I’ve mentioned before, the only difference between the way I was disciplined before 12 and the way I was disciplined after 12 was that at 12, my parents started using a belt. They still treated me like a very young child who did not know her own mind and needed her parents to tell her everything, so I never bothered to change until I moved out.

    2. Not in high school, but in college, I sought out dangerous relationships, hard and heavy metal music, and any activity I could think of that my parents didn’t do or didn’t like. I was terrified of drugs and sex, but I did basically everything else on the typical Teenage Rebellion list.

    It didn’t help that my continued interest in dolls and LEGO sets, and my then-new interest in Japanese animation, were perceived as “regression” by my father. According to him, adults aren’t supposed to like anything that is typically marketed to children. Never mind that there are a lot of Japanese anime I wouldn’t dare let a young child watch (they make cartoons for teens and adults as well as the typical family entertainment), or that there are Barbies made specifically for adult collectors. Liking these things at 20 was akin to spending every Saturday watching Looney Tunes and having dolly tea parties.

    I buried the love of toys until after I moved out and re-discovered my childhood dolls and bought a couple of new LEGO sets. The interest in anime I never bothered to hide, but it’s definitely not as strong as it once was.

    As this stage of my life progressed, I started lying to my parents all the time, out of fear. I knew the explosion of anger was coming, and I wanted to hold it off as long as I could. I developed depression as a teenager (I suspect it to be hormonally-related, based on when and how it manifested), and was always very careful to hide it when I started thinking about suicide. It was the darkest time of my life, and I am grateful to whatever gods are out there that it is OVER at last.

    3. Mom understood that it was just a phase I was going through (although much later, when I converted to Wicca, she insisted that this was a similar rebellious phase rather than a well-thought-out decision on my part). Dad, once again, felt that I was a horrible person for not following lock-step in the perfect life HE had planned for me. He still resents the fact that I earn less than he did at my age, because he views success as being tied up in high salaries and adherence to his own Daddy’s Perfect Daughter Plan.

    4. An age to date was never really discussed. Dad used to say when I was a kid that he didn’t want me marrying until I was at least 30, but I still don’t know if he was joking or not.

    I was such a social outcast during my school years, that I never dated in high school anyway. Nobody wants to date the weird girl, regardless of what she looks like. I may as well have been as hideous and unpleasant to be around as Medusa for all the male attention I got.

    5. I’d have to say about a year ago, when I finally moved out. At that, it took them a good six months to stop the whole “you know, you can move back in whenever you want, and we’re always here for you” nonsense. I personally feel that I waited too long to leave in the first place.

    6. I definitely feel that Mom did a lot of things right that Dad did wrong. I’d say the best thing I could do for my kids would be to combine their fun outings, family dinners, and love of learning with a more common-sense disciplinary style.

    The one thing I am terrified of is stifling my own children’s personalities or dreams for the future in favor of living vicariously through them. Dad did that to me, and to this day, I second-guess myself all the time. I am only now, at 27, beginning to figure out which things I do because I genuinely want or need to do them, and which things I feel I should do out of a misplaced desire to give Daddy the imaginary Perfect Daughter he wants.

    I learned a lot in college about the differences between an authoritative parenting style and an authoritarian one, and hope that this knowledge will make childhood run a bit smoother for my kids than my own childhood was. I know I’ll make mistakes, but I definitely don’t want them to be the same mistakes my father made and is still making.