Parenting and hypocrisy

So we have two kids: 11 and 7. We’ve been trying to teach the kids (particularly the 11 year old) good money management skills: allowance, savings, budgeting. At the same time, we’ve been focusing more and more on getting them to do their homework and focus on school.

I feel like a total hypocrite. I was TERRIBLE at all those things well into early adulthood. Hell, I don’t budget now and I’m ALWAYS procrastinating at work.

Any other parents get those moments where you feel like the last person that should be parenting your kids is you?

But, what is a parent supposed to do? Just let they’re kids be as bad as they were? I think the whole point of parenting is to help your kids be better than you were!

I think it is natural to want to “correct” your own flaws in your children or keep them from making the same mistakes you made. But remember, they are your children, so they are bound to do some number of those things through a combination of genetics and environment.

So, try to give them the benefit of your experience, but in the end they are going to make their own mistakes, just like you.

Every day.

You do your best, exactly as you’re doing. Help them learn not just from their own mistakes, but also yours and others around them.

edit: for point of reference, my kids are 27 and 24.

My kid is almost 2 1/2. It’s amazing what a stupendous learner she is when she’s interested (I mean, like every toddler, she’s taught herself a language), yet how totally indifferent she can be to particular things I want to teach her.

I suspect parental influence is mostly indirect. It’s frustrating, but whatevs.

Do what I say, not what I do! I freely share my flaws, at least when I was his age, and say I hope he does better. I try and give examples of how I f’d up and what it led to but he is too young to tell if that actually helps. It at least gets him listening.

I have no idea how we are going to handle money. Well my wife is 100% sure she knows - she and I have always been very good with it. However my brother was Terrible with finances and he had the same upbringing I did so… here’s hoping.

“Indirect” is the nice way to put it. Sometimes, I feel like reverse psychology is the only thing with the potential to work. They’ll only do the opposite of what you tell them.

Back to my original premise, I do have moments where I feel like I should just let them be themselves. Despite all the stuff that I’m terrible at, I turned out okay, all things considered. What if all of the parenting isn’t going to have a positive effect AND reduces their happiness (or makes them resent me)? Why spit into the wind?

Yeah, I’m with @Misguided on this one, I think it’s natural to think of things that you didn’t do well with or weren’t well served by and try to do it better. I keep thinking about how poorly I was advised throughout high school and college as far as choosing a major and ultimately a career, I just got a bunch of shrugs and ‘I dunno, do what you like I guess?’ and I intend to try to help my kids figure that out way better than I did. I mean sure, that’s down the road, but I’m thinking about it.

It’s funny. Our relationship with our kids is pretty different from most families. Both my wife and I have things we like to do with them. I talk/watch/play anime and games with both. My wife and daughter talk makeup and movies all the time. With her and our son, it is photography.

They are both in college now, but we still enjoy being in their company and they in ours. Their friends think all of us are mental.

I wish I were a parent so I could be a hypocrite.

My kids are small, but I’m hoping we have a good relationship as they grow. My son loves video games, mainly Minecraft and stuff, and my daughter loves superheroes, like nuts for them. So I think I’m raising good little geeks.

I’ve already turned my daughter into a Beatlemaniac, so that’s something.

Mone wants to play all the boardgames, but being only 4, we only have a few she can actually play.

Hopefully, I can teach her to be ruthless in her gaming, so that it will be more fun to play with her than her mother!

Nothing’s stopping you, man. I didn’t mean to imply that parenting was the only thing that exposes my hypocrisy!

@Stepsongrapes I hear you!

I carry a lot of baggage about being an absolute terror as a kid and young adult, but the house I grew up in was a lot different than the house I’m in now. I’m no expert on parenting, but I have largely ignored comparisons between myself and my kids as far as behavior goes. The circumstances are too different. I have trusted that my kids will learn the things they need to learn from their experience. I see my role as parent as more of giving them a safe proving ground (in the family and early childhood institutions like school and team sports) and to provide opportunities (sports, camps, and eventually college) for those experiences. I have gone to bat for my kids with teachers, coaches, even my wife (on occasion). I haven’t been disappointed with this approach. I cobbled it together based on experience as a single, non-custodial parent, where the stakes are obviously much different, but it has also worked fairly well with the kids I raised with my wife. I have one older son who is 15 years older than my twins

Even if the circumstances between parent and child seemed similar, I would suggest ignoring these type comparisons anyway. How can it help? Hypocrisy is a negative emotion. Kids are smart and will use any tool they can to claim power in a relationship, because they are so powerless. My experience with my older son is that I felt a lot of guilt (which is also a negative emotion) because of the failure of my first marriage. My son picked up on those feelings and used it against me in little ways, like negotiating bedtime or gifts. I am not blaming him here. He was just being a kid, trying to get his needs met. I realized I had to deal with my feelings of guilt so that I could show up for him as a parent. It was exhausting work with therapists and friends and I’m sure I wore out a few friendships. But to the extent that I was able to set aside my own negative emotions, I do think it made me a better parent.

The big challenge with parenting is to see the child for who the child is. I’m sure there are some parents who can see their child for who he or she is, and then lay out all the appropriate lessons for their kids, even as that child is discovering who he or she is, but that has always seemed like a trap to me. My big fear is that the lessons I would lay out would have more to do with me than anything my kid is actually struggling with. And then if I were laying out the lesson, I would also be in the role of judging the success or failure of such a lesson. Uh, no thanks. I would just rather be a cheerleader, for the most part.

I get upset because my soon to be five year old son keeps being rough with his soon to be two year old sister and then I remember what an absolute asshole I was to my sisters when we were young. I guess it’s karma (or genes).

The reality as I have experienced is that people learn more through experience than through being told stuff. Explain all you want and some of it soaks in, but kids will still go out and try and see for themselves.

It’s weird, looking back, though, how immense my parents’ influence was on me, albeit, again, indirect. Tech/computers comes from my mother, who was way ahead of her time (bought a Commodore PET around '80), and from my father – to whom I was not close in childhood – I absorbed a love of classical music (which wouldn’t really kick in until I was in my 20s) and an interest in classic cinema (I ended up majoring in film).

It universal. All older siblings are literally evil incarnate. I see it in my 4 year old, and its true of my wife (also an oldest sister) and my brothers.

Truly, as the youngest, we suffer. Like Jesus.

That’s funny, my almost 2 year old is the rough one on his just turned 5 year old sister.

Then again she’s a little shit about taunting him with things he’s not old enough to do or play with, so I suppose it evens out.

And yes, the existential dread that I’m not a very good parent is a constant thing that I’ve learned to mostly cope with. I have to remind myself that I feel that way because I care, and caring is the number one job parents have, and it’s going to be okay.

My older brother told me once, when our eldest was still in the womb, that everything is going to be terrible from time to time. But you just love them with your whole heart and do your best, and it’ll all work out. Real life isn’t as laissez-faire as all that, of course, but there’s some real truth there I think.

A couple of years ago I sat down with my now-18 year old daughter to talk about drugs. It was basically: “When I was your age, and mostly in college, I did every drug under the sun. I did coke on weeknights, spent an entire weekend stoned on mushrooms, and once hung out in a bar filled with off-duty cops while stoned on acid. I did really stupid stuff, but I did had limits – I didn’t drive while stoned, and I didn’t take anything from someone I didn’t know. Your mom, on the other hand, never tried drugs in her life. So if you have questions, come to me. If you are in a jam, call me immediately. That is all.” She looked kind of shocked but agreed.

Whether or not this was a good approach, I have no idea. But it was honest. She goes off to college next year, and it’ll be all around her. I trust she will make better decisions than I did.