My parents weren't perfect — what parents are? — but they did a good job raising my brother and me, if I do say so myself. We grew up with respect for manners, boundaries, and the world around us. We were given responsibilities, held accountable for our actions, and appropriately disciplined when we really messed up (which wasn't too often). Throughout the years, of course mistakes were made by all, but when it was time for my brother and me to enter the "real world," we were pretty well adjusted. And in my opinion, we've both done well for ourselves. I give my parents a lot of credit, which is why I'm raising my children the same way that they raised me.
It didn't matter to my parents how mad I got, how loud I screamed, or how hard I slammed doors. They'd just remove the door.
Growing up, I never doubted my parents' love for me. They worked hard to make sure we had everything we needed, as well as some fun extras like Summer camp. They also insisted that we had to be home by 5 p.m. every night so that we could sit down together to eat the dinner my mother had cooked. If their hard work and insistence on quality family time wasn't enough to let us know that we were loved, they made it a point to tell us so every day.
But just because we were loved, it didn't mean they catered to our every whim. My parents had a strict "we're not your friends, we're your parents" policy, and the rules they put in place were law. They didn't care that I was mortified at (seemingly) being the only senior in high school with a curfew. They gave me the realistic choice of a community college or a state school, because that's what they could afford, even though my friends were looking at seemingly glamorous faraway colleges. It didn't matter to my parents how mad I got, how loud I screamed, or how hard I slammed doors. They'd just remove the door.
As a kid, I was convinced that they knew nothing. They just didn't get it, and their rules felt stifling, unfair, and designed to make me miserable. It wasn't until I got older that I realized every decision they had made, every boundary and rule that they had set, was made with my best interest in mind; they were made out of love and absolutely set me up for success in adulthood. Who knows what I would have gotten into if I didn't have a curfew. And I would have been drowning in student debt had they allowed me to travel for college. I firmly believe that my life would be vastly different if my parents hadn't raised me like they did. And seeing how my life has turned out, I'm grateful for every tear shed and every fight I never won.
As a mother raising three daughters, I sometimes worry that I'll struggle to find the right balance. I pray for that special mother-daughter bond with each of my girls, but I also know the importance of being their parent first and foremost. Hopefully, if I get it right, friendship will come later on as it did for me and my parents. We still have a good relationship, which is how I know their parenting style is one worth emulating.