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Is it always the parents fault?


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There have been a number of incidents in the news lately about young teenagers and the trouble they have got into. All around me I am hearing people saying "Where were the parents" , "If that was my child it would not happen".

This makes me feel really sad, because this means I must be a bad parent. Two of my children are "model teenagers", but my son who has learning difficulties and behavioural difficulties gets into trouble a lot.

Are all people that judgemental?. Even if my son didn't have difficulties his behaviour may have been challenging to deal with. It is very easy to parent "easy children".

I come from a family of 10 children, we all have different personalities and were parented the same, it was very easy for me to be an obedient compliant child because that was my personality. I had brothers and sisters who were more challenging for my parents.

I just think we can't generalize in these situations - don't be so hard on the parents maybe they are doing the best they can in a difficult situation.


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You seem like a very loving and caring parent to me, Goose. I don't think any of us are perfect parents. In the end we can only do our best. You love your son. You are standing by him and staying the course with him through this difficult and challenging time in his life. This support may well be what makes the difference for him and turns things around.

We give our children life. We cherish them, try to teach them, watch them grow up...and then we hope for the best. I agree that perhaps we shouldn't judge parents who are in a difficult situation with their children. It could be any one of us with a struggling child. I do think that your son is fortunate to have you by his side. I hope that you will be gentle with yourself during this time as well.

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I don't think it's always the parents' fault. I was more critical of my parents before I became a mother. Only then did I realise that they/we can't provide everything. There is such a thing as inborn temperament too, I was a sensitive child, much more so than my brothers. I don't think there's an excuse for negligent or abusive parenting but parents are only human too and are often juggling many things (I'm also a single parent).

Once I realised my alcoholic father had almost certainly been an undiagnosed bipolar all his adult life, I also feel very much more understanding. He was just doing the best he knew how to, with the storms raging inside him and crippling depressions and he was just trying to feel better. He died from the alcohol and I wish he were still around so I could tell him I understand now.

Both my girls are sensitive but were very easy and still were/are throughout their teens. But - they are both on anti-depressants. That doesn't make me feel good as a parent. I used to swear the mental illness in the family would end with me. :(

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  • 2 weeks later...

I know it's really easy for people to blame the parents when a child does something wrong, and I have definitely seen my share of parents who probably never should have been parents in the first place (I worked for CPS for a year><) but at the same time I see many good parents that are trying their hardest and sometimes it's just the kid's personality and there's nothing the parent could have done differently to cause them to be a "good" kid. I know my mom blamed herself when my brother got into trouble:( He has anger problems and is in prison right now for getting in a fight with his girlfriend and "accidentally" shooting her in the leg... My mom tormented herself trying to figure out what she had done wrong... how could her son have turned out so angry? what was it in our family that would have caused that? But the fact of the matter is it was nothing she did wrong... Like others have said, different kids, even within the same families have different temperments. Even though we were raised in the same house, my brother and I are completely different. I have always been a really quiet, mellow, "obedient" kind of person, and he's more of a "rebel". So I really don't think you can always blame the parents for their kids mistakes, especially having a kid now myself, I'm just doing the best I can...

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  • 1 month later...

People are unfortunately prone to judge things in a very unfair and simplistic manner.

If a kid is bad they blame the parents.

If a person is a drug addict it is obviously their own fault.

If a person is living on the street they are lazy.

I am currently the victim of similar assumptions, not about my kids, but about simplistic judgements.

It sucks that people do this, but they do.

We are all human and not one of us is perfect. It is possible you could have done more with your son, but then you probably did things others would not.

We do what we think is best and we make mistakes and we move on the best we can.


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  • 4 weeks later...

I believe that people make judgements like that because they are truely afraid to identify issues in their own family. As it has been mentioned no one is perfect, and for some placing the blame is a way to take the needed energy away from what could be "not perfect" in their family.

We all strive to have the best kids possible and the best family dynamics possible, but we can only do so much. Eventually everyone needs to start taking responsiblity for themselves. Yes alot of teenagers are not as mature as adults so they may not make the best decisions, but just because they don't make the best decisions doesn't mean that their parents were bad parents. It is how the kids deal with the bad choices that really says who they are. Again it comes back to the personality of the child, not the parents. (Although some kids to rebel against thier family life, it is not many) I am the mother of a 15 month old, so I have a whole life of teaching, accepting, modeling and molding to go, but ultimately I have to allow my child to learn from his mistakes, period. I hope that what he takes from my parenting will lead him far, but that is what it is HOPE.

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  • 3 weeks later...
Guest ASchwartz

Would all of you mind if I introduced a little humor into this very serious discussion? Remember, I am also a parent and understand your struggles.

Anyway, here I go and I hope no one is offended:

Well, if you can't blame your parents, who can you blame?:o

Besides, it wasn't my fathers fault that I'm this way. Its all my mother's fault.:( In giving my mother a hard time, on more than one occasion, she said, half jokingly and half seriously, "You'll see, you'll see just what its like one day when you're a parent." Boy, was she right. It all used to be her fault, now its all mine and my wife.

Oh well, the wheels keep spinning:(

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