Growing up, I never had a great relationship with my parents. It’s the primary reason I went into a stage of rebellion. I always felt they were overbearingly authoritarian in their parenting style and we never agreed on anything. We were just so different.
Now that I am almost 23, I feel a bit differently about them. One of my cousins always told me that one day when I was older, I would forgive them and would learn that everything my parents did for me was out of love and they only did things they thought were best for me. Of course, at the time I didn’t believe her because I was at the peak of my rebellion and at the point where I developed the ultimate display of animosity towards my parents.
Looking back, I feel like if I had just listened to them the first time they said things, I would have avoided a lot of hardships. But I was obviously too stubborn and immature to ever consider it.
Not to mention, getting older has allowed me to experience a lot of other things in life that makes me view relationships differently and has made me appreciate my parents more.
With that said, here are some of the things I wish I had taken into consideration the first time my parents told me:
It doesn’t matter how other parents raise their kids, because YOU are my kid and we will raise you how we see fit.
I remember always telling my parents,”But ‘so and so’s parents are letting them do this,” and my parents would always say they didn’t care what ‘so and so’s’ parents were doing because ‘so and so’ wasn’t their child. I would always be envious of my friends’ parents. I just didn’t understand why some kids’ parents let them do things that my parents wouldn’t let me do. But looking back, most of the things my parents didn’t want me doing was for my own good. Not only that, but most of the people I was comparing myself to at the time didn’t end up doing so great in life. On the contrary, I feel like I am on a pretty good path, thanks to my parents not letting me do what ‘so and so’ was doing.
It doesn’t matter if you get a C in a class, as long as you try your best.
I never really listened to this one because in my mind, it was unacceptable to get anything below an A in a class. But I feel like if I wasn’t so hard on myself, I might have saved myself from being so stressed out throughout school.
Don’t do what everyone else is doing. Do what you think is the right thing to do.
My parents know I have a conscience. They know that if something doesn’t feel right deep down, then I should trust my instinct. When I was growing up, I usually didn’t listen to that instinct and it got me in a lot of trouble. I just wanted to fit in and be friends with everyone, but I soon realized the crowd I was trying to befriend wasn’t worth my camaraderie anyhow. But now, whenever I have the slightest doubt, I don’t commit to doing anything and it usually ends up being the right decision.
Dating when you’re young is not a real relationship.
I thought I was so cool for having boyfriends at such a young age. It made me feel mature and desirable. But of course, those silly high school relationships don’t last. Now, it takes a lot for me to want to be in a relationship with anyone, let alone go out on a date with. I will now only consider being in a relationship with someone if I see us spending the rest of our lives together because in all honesty, dating is pointless if you don’t see yourself with this person for the long haul. Otherwise, it just ends in heartache. Been there, done that. Not going down that road. If I had just listened to my parents, maybe my heart wouldn’t have been broken so many times.
Everything is okay in moderation.
I have a very obsessive personality when it comes to finding new things I enjoy and tend to over-indulge myself in whatever that may be. I tend to give myself a hard time if I have two scoops of ice cream instead of one, but my mom always tells me it’s okay to treat myself as long as I don’t do it all the time. But even to this day, I have a hard time coping and accepting this piece of advice.
Choose your battles wisely.
When I was younger, I tended to get involved in every battle that was thrown my way because I didn’t have enough important things going on in my life to preoccupy myself with. It caused me a lot of stress. If I had just listened to my parents to ignore stupid arguments, I would have avoided a lot of unnecessary and angry conversations. Now I know it’s okay to not attend every argument you’re invited to. It’s provided me with an amplitude of relaxation.
What will it matter 100 years from now?
Again, this deals with my obsessive personality. I tended to care too much about little things that really didn’t matter in the long run. Now I avoid mostly everything that I know won’t matter in 24 hours.
Treat everyone you meet kindly.
Whether it’s the CEO or the janitor, judge people based on character, not what they have. Sadly when I was growing up, I wanted to be friends with the richest, most popular kids and kind of scuffed off the “nerdy crowd”. I learned the hard way that you never know who will end up being the better friend. You don’t befriend someone because of what they can do for you, you base it on how much they will be there for you to confide in, and that relationship needs to be mutual. Everyone is going through some sort of hardship in life, so it’s important to treat everyone the way you want to be treated.
Who cares what they think about you?
I used to care way too much what other people thought of me. Almost every decision I made was based on how much approval and appraisal I would receive. But that also taught me to not enjoy my own company and pushed me to disregard how I felt about myself. Everything I did was for someone else. Now I know why my parents never cared what ‘so and so’s’ parents did.
You can only do your best at the things you can control.
I still struggle with this one, especially when working in teams. My inner perfectionist hates producing something less than extraordinary and when I am working with other people, I often try to take the reins to have full control of things. But when things that aren’t within my control go wrong, I tend to beat myself up over it. My parents always tell me that what went wrong was out of my control, no matter how hard I tried to handle the situation. Again, I can’t control everything everyone does or says, but I can control what I say or do. I still try to remember this every day.
Be responsible. Always be safe. Safety is your priority.
My parents always say they want me to have fun, but they want me to be safe and responsible while doing so. Growing up, I never saw the fun part in having responsible fun. But now that I am older and have seen people have too much irresponsible fun and lose their lives over it or go through some traumatic experience, I get it. Safe fun is the best way to go.
Work within your character.
My parents tell me to always be myself. This is how you discover who your real friends are; they’re the ones you take you for exactly who you are. Because if you have to repress your true personality, these people aren’t your real friends anyways. Only a certain amount of people can handle the truth upfront. I will never be happy if I am always hiding who I am just to get approval from more people. This slice of advice has helped me filter out who my real friends are very quickly. Sure, it can get lonely sometimes, but I would rather be alone than be with people who are just pretending to be my friends.
Growing up has been one heck of a ride with no shortage of life lessons that have made me a better person. Do I regret making the mistakes I made by not listening to my parents’ advice? No. It helped me grow in a different direction and made me who I am today. Sure I would have probably learned different lessons in various other ways had I listened to these bits of advice the first time around, but nevertheless, as long as I came out on top from these lessons, I am okay with how things turned out and how I got through them. So thanks mom and dad, even though I was a tough child to deal with and never listened. 🙂