Old Fashioned Upbringing

Janet - Statesville, North Carolina
Entered on January 18, 2010
Themes: parenthood
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I believe in the “Old Fashioned Upbringing”. I grew up in a family of eight children with six in the house at one time. When the two oldest moved out, me and my brother replaced them. My mom and dad worked hard to provide a safe and healthy home for us. We didn’t have what others had, but we had what we needed.

As a child, I idolized my mom and dad. I thought they knew everything and could do anything. The older I got, the less I thought this. In my teenage years, I thought my parents were out of touch with reality and needed to get with the times. They wouldn’t let me date until my senior year. I wasn’t allowed to go to parties or football games until my senior year either. I had a curfew and I had rules on how I could dress. No one else had these silly rules. I remember thinking when I get out of here and have my own child I will let him make his own decisions. All my friends were doing what they wanted. I had to go to school every day. I had to make certain grades. I couldn’t quit when I wanted to just because something got hard or it wasn’t fun anymore. I would have never voiced these opinions openly to Mother and Daddy because of a fear I had. We were taught never to sass or disrespect our elders. I don’t know what would have happened to us if we did because we never did. I did, however talk to myself in my room a lot and tell my friends what I thought about my parents stupid rules.

When I married and had a son, I began to try to do my own thing with parenting. I wasn’t going to make the mistakes my parents made with me. I let him have more freedom and make his own choices. I tried to teach him what society wants us to teach our children, like no one is a loser, everyone’s a winner, and that you can do anything you want to do. I found out that I was raising a very selfish person and that he had no respect or fear for anyone. I began to realize that the rules my parents had for me is what helped me function in the real world. Life is full of rules. What went wrong? Why didn’t he give me the respect I gave my parents? I forgot to teach it to him. I was so busy trying not to do what my parents did that I missed the facts. With those silly rules, my parents had taught me how to be part of a team, and to respect authority because it’s what gets you through life. It was like a light went off in my head. My parents weren’t so dumb after all. I now thank them for what they did for me growing up.

My son’s teenage years were hard. My husband and I began to teach him that his actions had consequences and he didn’t like it. He sassed, skipped school, ran away from home, and anything else he knew could get a rise out of us. He decided quickly he was getting out and joined the Navy to get away from our rules. Isn’t that funny? In boot camp, he wrote a letter apologizing for our rocky times. It seems like we had come full circle. I think he was realizing what I realized about my mom and dad. Rules were out of love. And now as my son begins his journey into parenthood, I hope he will realize parents aren’t so dumb after all and he will believe in the “Old Fashioned Upbringing” as we learned while raising him.