It’s only taken me 30-odd years to finally understand what my parents were always harping at me about. I was definitely a kid who rolled her eyes at most of the advice I was given. After all, I was so well travelled, versed in classic literature and had experience true love by the age of 10.
What could my parents possibly know about, that I didn’t have an intuitive understanding of already? Turns out they were right about everything – and I really didn’t know much about life at all until I became a parent myself. I swear to God, I’m much wiser now…or that’s what I’ll keep telling myself. Do check back in another 30 years to see if my opinion on that changes.
Until then, read my sentiments about 16 Annoying Things Your Parents Once Said (That Turned Out To Be Right).
16. “These are the golden days/This is the time of your life.”
I have an older brother and would always fantasize about doing the things he was – going out alone, getting a car, moving out of town to live by himself, and so on. Romantic ideas about furnishing my own place, getting married one day, and working my dream job filled my teenage head.
Little did I know that all of those things cost money – a lot of money – and with an income usually come stress, bills, tax-returns and a gamut of other responsibilities. Years later, I find myself reminiscing about a time I could afford to be bored. Being a kid living at home, my meals made, with an entire summer to do whatever I pleased, really was a golden time, indeed.
15. “You don’t know what real problems are.”
Like any child’s, my happiness was influenced by how well the things in my life that I perceived as super important went. If a friend got mad at me, I would spend hours trying to find out what I did wrong to deserve that. If it was the last day of summer and I still had no outfit for the first day of school, I would dramatically play out how the day would go if I, gasp, wasn’t dressed right.
My parents’ response? Brutally honest – I mean, yes, we had moved around a lot when I was little, come from a war-torn country, and these were simply not acceptable problems in their realm. Looking back on it, I know how ludicrous it must have sounded to my parents for me to worry about such petty things. I also recognize, though, that those emotions felt by little immature me were valid for my age and social group. In any case – thanks for always trumping my serious issues, mom and dad. Pfft. PS – I still have near meltdowns when I don’t have a particular outfit together – and no woman can tell me that’s not “real”.
14. “At least you don’t have his/her parents.”
Did you ever come home with a wild story about someone else’s parents to share, only to have the reaction be – “Well, now maybe you can stop complaining about how bad you have it here“? Cue rolling of the eyes and a sly response. “Uhh…no, mom. It’s all relative. Just because they suck a lot, doesn’t mean you don’t suck…a little.”
These days I truly am glad my biggest issue with my parents was them enforcing a strict curfew and no going out during school days. At least I could dress however I pleased, listen to whatever music I loved, and got away with dying my hair most colors of the rainbow with the worst response being a simple eyebrow raise and the words, “Why can’t you just be normal?”. I’ll take that over someone grounding me for having an ear piercing any day.
13. “You’ll understand one day when you have kids.”
This line was probably one of the most used in our household. My snarky remark? “Well, good luck with that, since I don’t plan to ever have kids of my own.” My mom’s face was always so very shocked after I made that exclamation.
That threat didn’t really pan out for me, however, and now that I find myself in situations where I feel like I’m becoming my mother, I solemnly acknowledge my parents remark once upon a time.
12. “Friends will come and go, but your family will always be here.”
It’s only normal that at some point your child will grow closer to his or her friends than they are to you. School children do spend most of their day around kids their own age (as they should), so who can blame them? Inevitably, there will be phases where kids feel like they aren’t understood by their parents and only have a select few friends who really get it – I definitely recall going through times like that in my life.
So when a dad throws the good old “your friends come and go” at a kid going through a rough time, it probably won’t be appreciated until years later. Your parents, if you are lucky, will be a constant in your life that doesn’t waiver back and forth like the emotions of a toddler or teen.
11. “You don’t actually love that guy/girl.”
Is there anything worse than those first failed relationships that completely shake your existence? Not when you’re a 13 year old, there isn’t. Throw in a completely uncalled for comment by your mom or dad, and it feels like the whole world is dead set against you.
But like the old saying goes – time heals all wounds – and I know that personally, it took me just 1-2 weeks to get over my most intense break ups when I was a child.
In the moment, pain always feels the most intense and, although most of us wish we had a little bit more consolation from our parents during those times, I can also appreciate that they wanted to rip off the bandaid since they knew it really wasn’t a serious relationship that would change my life in the long run.
10. “Better to break up now than once you’re married and have kids.”
Leave it up to our parents to soften a blow in our life with eloquent pieces of advice, right? We’ve all been that young adult who has entered a relationship they can actually envision lasting for a long time. When things don’t go as we planned, especially if we’re keen to start our own independent life, it can be even more devastating. Don’t get me started on how sad you can get when you’ve even pictured having kids with that person.
While it sounds harsh to hear it in the moment, everything does happen for a reason, and I’m certain many of us are thankful we didn’t end up with our exes. Marriage and life with kids is a chaotic realm all on its own without relationship worries hanging over out heads, too. Everything gets a lot more complicated once you put a ring on it and baby into the world – so thanks mom and dad for this piece of wisdom.
9. “That’s life, you’ll have to get used to it.”
I know the show Kids Say The Dardnest Things was a huge hit in the late 90s, but whatever happened to a spin-off including Parents Who Say The Most Ridiculous Things? I think responding to a child of any age (whether 5, 15 or 25) with the line “that’s life”, or another favourite of mine “walk it off”, is pretty cruel. I only say that because I remember what a blow to my feelings and ego it was to not have my problem at the time be acknowledged as a real thing I was allowed to be upset over. As a parent myself now, I’m going to try hard not to use this one on my kids – but I’m sure it’ll slip out at some point – maybe even intentionally.
Why? Because even though it may not spare our feelings, a harsh statement like this does set up a child for the not-so-rosy times they’ll encounter in their life. When your kids grow up, their bosses won’t lend them a shoulder to cry on and may not be as sympathetic as mom or dad can be. The truth is – even shitty moments have to be seen as what they are – and not every fall has to be cushioned. Otherwise, how would we ever learn?
8. “You don’t need to go on a diet at your age.”
I’m not sure how many of you have heard this one growing up, but living in a European household it was something I did endlessly. As a female, in this day and age especially, it was nice to be accepted just the way I was. No one was ever on my case about eating half a gallon of ice-cream or wanting seconds. In fact, eating and general fullness is welcomed in the old country and you can easily offend someone if you don’t finish or even accept dessert. Didn’t mean I liked hearing the line or didn’t criticize my body, nonetheless.
While it was super annoying at the time, I’m eternally grateful my parents tried to get my mind off of shallow things like looks, even if it was in their own way. Even nowadays, my mom will tell me I’m still young and calories will just flow right through me and not stick – as though I’m being active on a playground all day long. Oh, mom…
7. “Money doesn’t grow on trees.”
Growing up, I was definitely spoiled. I knew my parents tried to give us all the things they never had growing up – and although we had chores, I could always weasel my way out of the difficult ones – especially if my dad was around (daddy’s girl much?). Still, the idea that money was a privilege that had to be worked hard for was deeply embedded into my childhood.
My parents were always on top of their finances as entrepreneurs and naturally reminded us how much money everything cost. Thankfully, they did, and explained the ins and outs of savings to us well. Although a super boring topic for someone like me, who disliked numbers, it has benefitted me so much as an adult. Especially since finances aren’t a big part of curriculum at school, even these days.
6. “The early bird catches the worm.”
It makes sense to me, now as a parent of a toddler and baby, to wake them up at the same time (7 AM in our house) every day. That way they’re off to a good routine, naps strategically happen at prime times, and they’re in bed early enough for me to have adult time to myself in the eve. What I still don’t understand, though, is why my parents felt the need to drag me out of bed when I became older – naps were over a long time ago and I definitely stayed away from my ‘rents in the evening so they had lots of time for themselves.
I recall my mom, in an almost masochistic way, ripping open my bedroom drapes or being extremely loud in the kitchen to drive me out of bed. Surely I’m not the only one with those type of memories. And while I dub it one of the crueler things to do to a night-owl like I was, I appreciate the fact that my parents stayed consistent in their attempt to teach me responsibilities – since those won’t ever stop when you’re an adult. Not even on weekends.
5. “There’s a whole world after high school.”
For some of us it’s junior high, for some of us it’s senior high – but whichever it ends up being, there’s a big likelihood that it’ll turn into a place that you want to stay away from at some point or another. Parents can be a big comfort in times where you feel confused, angry, alone or like you absolutely don’t belong at school – even if their comments can come across as pretty annoying at the time.
Why does your mom say you shouldn’t focus so much on high school? Because she’s been there, done that. Adults have all experienced the social complexities and horrible classes you didn’t want to take but were forced to. And like most of us find out – a lot of the people that look like they’re super cool in junior or senior high…end up not being so cool afterwards. Just saying.
4. “If they jumped off a bridge, would you, too?”
Ahh, yes – the classic jump off the bridge line. This one might take the cake when it comes to infuriating things to hear as a teen. I guess our parents just want to remind us not to go with the flow and use some critical thinking when assessing a situation – which in actuality, is a good thing – especially in this age where we are challenging traditional values and don’t want to just nod our heads to be compliant.
Thinking for ourselves and not just following the crowd benefits us as we become adults and our parents just try to lay the foundation to this. It builds our confidence and helps us be able to put our foot down so we don’t compromise our ethics just to fit in.
3. “You can tell me anything – I won’t get mad”.
I guess this line is more upsetting than annoying because it usually precedes a big argument. They always get mad, even if they promise not to. Yes, your parents want you to know that you are safe with them and can’t really do wrong in their eyes, as long as you learn from it. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t allowed a negative response towards your misdemeanour or something you did that really doesn’t sit well with them.
Even though I knew my own parents would sometimes get mad at me for having done something, I still knew they’d love me no matter what. Looking back on it, I think their anger at some action of mine actually prevented me from doing it again – since there is no fury like a mother’s (or father’s) wrath.
2. “What did you do at school today?
When my 3 year old comes home and I ask him what he did today at daycare he gives me a grumpy look and exclaims, “Ugh. Nothing!!!!“. The first time he did that, it reminded me so much of sitting down at dinner with my parents when I was a pre-teen and not wanting to talk to them about my day. I went to class…avoided certain people…made sure to steal a glance into the cute boy’s class a few times…and learned a bunch of stuff I just hated regurgitating when I got home.
I get that some kids really like coming home from school and leaving the work behind – just like we as adults like to leave our jobs in the office space and not trail that drama home. But I also know how much parents miss their little ones during the day and that hearing what happened makes us feel closer to our kids. I wish I hadn’t been so annoyed or hard on my own parents when they asked me what was new. But like I said in an earlier point – you won’t know until you have your own kids.
1. “You’ll thank me when you’re older.”
I saved this line for last because it’s so reflective of what the underlying point of this article is. From the time that we’re babies, our primary caretakers seem to rant on about things we should do, stay away from, or plan for. In the moment, it’s often hard to appreciate an adult’s perspective on our world. After all – they seem so far removed from our day-to-day life as teens and our realities often seem to clash.
However, we do all grow up (most of us, anyway) and can from the bottom of our hearts be grateful for all those annoying statements our parents bombarded us with throughout our life. After all, they were only trying to help and prep us for this big world.