Papa don’t preach – Parents don’t know best

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This post is mostly inspired by “parental control” experiences of my own and of my friends. Even though their children are not really children anymore, the parents tend to preach and to think that only THEY know what’s good for their children when it comes to love.

Most people who have been single for a while experienced the get yourself a boyfriend/girlfriend pressure from their parents’ side. Between relationships they give you a time gap of more or less three months after which they start to ask you again whether you met someone interesting. In the time when you’re single they ask you whether you’re not too picky, they remind you you’re not getting any younger, they enumerate your friends who already have families and even point at your personal traits as potential partner deterrents (“you’ve always been a bit difficult”). In doing that they don’t help you find the right partner. They make you resent them and feel bad about yourself. Bad news is that it never ends. Get a boyfriend and they’ll start to mention moving in together, then marriage and finally kids. You can never be where your parents think you should be. Even if you feel happy they’ll make you question it.

Another thing is the choice of partner which parents tend to disapprove of. The good news is that the closer you get to your 30th birthday the less pressure they put on the choice of a partner (just get one already!). You can’t be too picky if your child is a slightly-aged good that’s approaching their “sell by” date. When I was younger, however, my mother used to disapprove of my partners on silly grounds such as – comes from a small village, different nationality, a journalist (not a serious profession), must be lying about him being a doctor etc,etc. The rule seemed always the same – get someone but we both now that someone will never reach my expectations.

The most twisted things about the parents is that they do all that because they love us and THINK that what worked for them and what they think is right will work for us. Only that times have changed. We reach independence later partly because of the labour market that exploits students and young professionals, partly because every one else does. A wedding isn’t something girls write about in their diaries every day anymore. Like children we want it but  someday somehow and not right here right now. When we find someone special we want to live and experience life together but the rest isn’t a priority. After all if others are preggies only after 30 why do we have to cut our life enjoyment short? Because our parents think we should?

Parents want to help but often instead of doing that they become a nagging presence that’s never happy with what is. Maybe through their children they’re trying to sort out their own lives, maybe they can’t accept that their children are adults and actually know what is good for them and what makes them happy. They should really just chill.

So Dear Rinsers, have you experienced parental pressure and other instances of parents thinking they know what’s good for you? Share your stories.

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40 comments

  1. I had pressure from my mother with my ex wife when we were engaged my mother said “The only reason why you want to get married is because you want to have sex.” So I replied at least I am doing it the right way. Mind you I was 21 and was about to get married. She didn’t think I was ready at the time. Parents never think their children are ready especially when they are young like that. Guess what? I went head and got married and stayed married for 32 years. It wasn’t always easy and things did eventually end. I can see both sides of this post but one thing to realize in your culture like mine we do have a choice to pick who we wish to spend time with would we date and eventually marry. In some cultures parents arrange marriages and you and I would have no choice in the matter and then meet that person the day of the wedding and then learn that person, be married and make it work and maybe fall in love with that person. That is a real challenge to be sure. it’s not fair to say all parents don’t know what’s best for their children, many times you as a parent see a path your child is walking down as dangerous long before they do and you try to redirect their path before it becomes too late. One day should you become a parent you may re- read this post and feel differently . But today I get your point, although not all parents are like you describe.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. You can try to lack in other areas, like career; it totally takes off the pressure of parents (I am reading that you are referring to our lovely mothers more than fathers) desire to see you hitched!

    Haha, I am kind of kidding, as I have heard it works. My dad has never said two words on the subject and my mother only wants my happiness. She wanted grandchildren, and still does, but has released me from the idea that I would be married before having them. So I have no pressure to find a guy. I will never settle for anything mediocre (this is going to be my quote I will die saying).

    Liked by 2 people

    • My father is more concerned about my career choices as not being good enough. Romantically he always used to ask me whether there’s s boyfriend and that’s what makes him happy.

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  3. I think the decent parents in this world have good intentions and we should try to see the positives in their interference despite the annoyance. I mean at least they care enough to voice an opinion – there are lots of horrible chav-ish parents who are too self absorbed and continuing to make babies of their own (you know they started when they were like 12 so can still be at it when their earlier offspring are in their 20s) to really be bothered. Plus, parents are the people that have known us longest and have seen us go through all our various phases so they are technically quite well placed to have an opinion. That however doesn’t mean they know whats best.

    Like you said, our elders can’t always relate because they were young in a different era. Many of them settled down with the first person that came along and made things work. I wouldn’t say our situation is better but we certainly have more choice, especially as women. We have the chance to try out a few things (career, men, travel) before deciding to settle down.The whole concept of Tinder is unfathomable to our parents generation. But times change.

    Also, I think its one thing when the elders want whats best for us. But constant comparisons don’t help. Just because the girl next door got married and popped out a few kids doesn’t mean she’d happy. Everyone is on their own path and parents should remember the 7 yr rule and they need to ask themselves whether they really want to be bankrolling us after a divorce. Just saying.

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  4. Your last comment about bank rolling after divorce …why would you think like that? Why would any adult want to go back home to their parents for any amount of time and money, I don’t mean to visit but to live there??? Maybe that is the difference between now and back in the day , back in the day it was never an option to go back home now it is an option that parents extend to their kids freely…scary.

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  5. LOL. I am afraid to tell you that many, many, many people my age still live at home with their olds. Its not as prevalent in South Africa than it is in the UK, but I’ve been on many dates with many real life mummy’s boys (and whats worse they are not even ashamed of it). Its pretty crazy. I think many people may even rush into marriage to get out of home.

    Still what I am saying in divorce can be expensive. So best not to rush or be forced into marriage. It’s better that the parents calm themselves and stop planning huge weddings for their kids and become more aware that divorce rates are higher in this generation – and they who pressurised their kid into settling may be forced to foot the financial and emotional bill that comes with the break-up.

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