Yearning for parental approval

They know I didn’t do all the right things. I’m just hoping they forgive me for the mistakes I made. And forgive themselves for mistakes they also are going to make.

What I wonder more at points is if they’ll know all the things I did right that they won’t realize until later in life.

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That’s an interesting point. My son who complains the most about how he was raised is very different from me. For example, I adored school and he just never saw the point in it. He has an amazing sense of humor, I don’t. He’s an extrovert, I’m an introvert. He has blonde hair and blue eyes, I have brown hair and brown eyes. And on and on!

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We recently mentioned to my daughter the mistakes we made, as humans we made plenty of mistakes and so are/will they. But everything has been forgotten or forgiving. Surprisingly our relationship is better than it’s ever been. I think it’s due to a lack confidence in dealing with things, I think she has since matured a bit.
But this daughter has my character in some ways, the other has some of my characters in other ways, which makes life interesting. It depends on what they get. Not always good or bad, just complex.

It is partly generational. Don’t blame yourself. Also society has sensitized the current kids a lot more than they need to be regarding micro aggressions etc. they are easy to take offense


Huh? Young people were getting on boats to Australia, North and South America hundreds of years ago, knowing they were never going to see their families again. You don’t think that a significant number of them were leaving their families of origin with relief?

I cannot fathom what your post about micro aggressions has to do with parental approval, and since the phenomenon of remaking yourself far away from home is hundreds (and thousands) of years old, why you perceive this as generational.


I think a generation of kids have been hyper sensitized.

The leaving home on ships has nothing to do with this. It is an entirely different situation.


Likewise, our generation has been bamboozled into thinking that the entire generation of our youngsters became hypersensitive, easily triggered snowflakes. :wink:


Hypersensitivity is not unique to the younger generations. For example, some parents and other older people seem to be unable to fathom the concept of someone mentioning LGB or T, or such things being mentioned in a book in the library.

But then maybe the kids are just following the examples of their parents, although in different directions.


I think you are spot on about this. I finally got this daughter to read WSJ for a different perspective, she’s been reading NYT.

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“Hypersensitive” is banning books because they show same-sex couples, or mention a philosophy with which you do not agree. “Hypersensitive” is when a man refuses to bake a rainbow cake, because they are “triggered” by the mention of LGBTQ folk. “Hypersensitive” is burning rock records. “Hypersensitive” is not allowing your kids to see Harry Potter because it has witchcraft.

I’m not even going to start about all of those folk who reacted with absolute hysteria and rage when asked to put on a simple mask when in a crowd. Now THAT’s being “hypersensitive”.

Older people were and are FAR more hypersensitive than any Gen-Z today. Silent Gens and Boomers on FB are far more hysterical about everything that they don’t like than Gen-Zs are on any of the the social media that they commonly use.

If a person does not understand what Gen-Zs care about deeply, that’s OK. Different generation often don’t understand each other. Gen-Zs don’t understand what a lot of stuff which is important to Gen-Xers like me. But just we do not understand why Gen-Zs care so much about an issue, or do not understand the issue, does not make Gen-Zs “hypersensitive” because they do care about the issue.

Also, maybe, just maybe, we have become desensitized to stuff which we should not be ignoring.

Racism, homophobia, misogyny, etc, is bad, and has not been taken nearly seriously enough. So much of our culture was built on these, that we have become blind to it. Moreover, if it didn’t target a person, they allowed themselves to treat this casual dehumanizing as something minor, “a joke”. The people who have been the target of this bigotry have never felt that it was a joke, but being a minority, they have never felt comfortable. Gen-Z is merely saying “bigotry is bad, even when it’s not burning crosses, or aimed at you”.

Gen-Zs are not “hypersensitive”, they simply differ from their parents and grandparents in that it bothers them when minorities are attacked, rather than when the ruling majority is being attacked.

Yes, when you open your eyes and see how much bigotry is embedded in our culture, it sometimes becomes difficult to stop seeing it in everything. The do not differ in that than anybody else in the world of any age.


We as parents will be making the kids happier, less stressed if we can teach them to brush aside most small perceived indignities.

Alternately, I can even choose to be triggered by your above response. Where is the end to this? It’ll just make me unhappy.


All I can say is rubbish, a broad stroke at all generations, I’m not going to a specific, but I disagree with one of the posts. There are always people who are different from you from each generation. I see so many Generation Zs who dont follow rules when it comes to driving lately, driving recklessly, who are they to criticize us, talk is cheap. Btw, in California, nothing is banned except for cars with gas engine or ICE in 2035, you must be thinking of another state.


Not sure that this is an example of hypersensitivity, but a real attentiveness to my guidance (maybe hyper-attentiveness). In my son’s case, it wasn’t a sense of thinking I might be disappointed but rather a massive investment in directions I had discussed with him – he is just driven to succeed but that I may have inadvertently had an effect on how he was defining success in the same way that you, @LostInTheShuffle, may have had with your D.

HS was a real challenge for him because he is severely dyslexic but also extraordinarily bright. With a lot of effort (kid and parent), he got into a number of elite schools and attended the one I thought would be best given his combo of brilliance and learning disabilities though he almost chose another school. In his freshman year in college, he got six As, one A+ and one A-. When I picked him up at the end of that year, he asked me, “I understand the point of grades in high school. What is the point of grades in college? I can get an A- in any course, but there is a significant increment of work to get an A and another increment of work to get an A+.” I said that it depends upon what you want to do after college. For med school or law school, the schools primarily care about your GPA and board scores. If you want to go to business school, they care somewhat about GPA and MCAS/GRE but they care especially about your leadership potential and thus they will look at your activities and first job or two. If you want to go to grad school in economics, they care somewhat about your grades in economics and a lot more about your grades in math and your advisor’s recommendation. They will not care at all if you get Cs in Ceramics or Poetry. If you want to get a Rhodes Scholarship, you need to do really well in everything and you need to have two professors who will say that you walk on water on your bad days."

I didn’t ask him what he chose, though he did follow my advice to take a math course every semester if he wanted to go to grad school in econ. Post this conversation, he absolutely nailed his courses (13 As, 3 A-s, and 5 A+s and a couple of Passes in P/F courses and a prize each year as the best student in econ). He had already gotten a job working as a research assistant for his econ advisor to start fall sophomore year and that spring he also developed a relationship with a psych professor who then hired him as a research assistant. When he applied to grad school a year during the year after college graduation, he got into two graduate programs in the best school in the world for what he wanted to study (Tippy top on prestige and very hard to get into either). He then said to me, “I guess I don’t have to think about going for a Rhodes at this point. I think these two graduate degrees send a sufficiently strong signal.” He wanted to know if I agreed. I didn’t know that he was ever really thinking about the Rhodes or that the possibility had motivated his behavior as an undergraduate. But, in hindsight, he decided not only to go for the grades but also lining up the folks who could comment on his ability to walk on water.

He is still driven and is, I think, defining his own goals at this point.


I had very much the same with S18. However, the directions I pushed most on (due to my perception of doors they could open), and that he might otherwise have been unlikely to pursue, were exactly the three things where he came up barely short (applying to Oxford for undergrad, and applying to the Truman and the Marshall scholarships in college). All required a significant investment of time, but in retrospect I think he’s glad he did them all, because it became clear how much he had achieved, and how much his teachers valued him.

My sense is he’s now moved on and no longer feels the need to do a PhD or go to a UK school just because his parents did. On the other hand, so far he’s pursuing a very similar career path to what I chose after college…

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And their music is loud and barbaric, and they never listen to advise, and their clothes are awful, and their haircuts are atrocious. They should also get off of your lawn.

PS. Gen-Xers at the same age were also just as reckless as drivers, or more , as were the Boomers. Drivers between the ages of 16 and 25 are far more reckless than all other ages, and this is seen in every single survey done since these surveys were started. The safe drivers of 2021 were the reckless drivers of 2002, the safe drivers of 2002 were the reckless drivers of 1983, and the safe driver of 1983 were the reckless drivers of 1964. Oh, and men engage in reckless driving far more than women, which is about as surprising as seeing the sun rise in the East.


How do 1/2 these recent posts have to do with parental approval? I must’ve missed the connections.


Interesting @DadOfJerseyGirl. I did some of my graduate work, began my career as a professor, and still have a minor appointment at a prestigious university. We live in the exurbs but were in the city when my son was a junior or sophomore and I said, “Let’s take a little walking tour of the school.” As we were walking, he asked me, “Is this where you want me to go?” I said, “Not necessarily. But, it is a place you should look at and consider as one of your options.”

I didn’t make a pitch for the school or why he should attend but merely suggesting we take a walk through it while we were nearby was sufficient for him to think I might be endorsing it.

Ultimately, I advised him against going there and to attend a high-ranking LAC, which I thought would be better given his profile.

@DadOfJerseyGirl, we also live in an town with high-performing parents and my daughter went to a private high school there where the parents often were Ivy Leaguers who conveyed a sense that if their kids didn’t get into Ivies, they would either kill themselves or the kid. At least half of the senior class was on anti-depressants. Not a healthy environment. My daughter reacted by opting out of that kind of competition altogether – she decided to apply only to Canadian schools, which don’t have holistic admissions.

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I think you fit right in with my definition of generalizing.
Just because you were a reckless driver in your teen, doesn’t mean every other boomer is either.
For once, this boomer has always been a safe driver since teenage, no accident for 45 years. In fact if anything I’m a very slow and safe driver, I drive like a grandma since I was teenager.

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Just a couple of comments to clear up any misconception, and then I’m done with this digression: A, I’m Gen-X, B, I only got my driver’s license at the age of 29, and C, I grew up in Israel, so things were different (fewer cars, fewer teen drivers, recklessness with more dangerous things).

I was a combat medic in an armored battalion, so, at any point, I was observing and sometimes treating a few hundred 18-21 year olds (and older), from across all of Israel’s socio-economic groups, geographical locations, communities, etc. So I am pretty familiar with the behavior of 18-21 year kids of my generation, and how reckless they can be. If somebody here thinks that a reckless teen in a Buick is scary, imagine one in a 50 ton tank…

My knowledge of driving behavior in the USA is based on study after study, year after year, decade after decade, which all show the same thing: drivers between the ages of 16 and 25, especially men, drive far more recklessly than drivers who are 35-45. Since, as Alice said, “one can’t help growing older”, the 16-25 year olds in the different studies eventually become 35-45 year old adults, and they drive a lot less recklessly.

This is, of course, hardly surprising, since risk-taking is known to be much more common in that age group, and that the risk taking behavior changes as they get older.

I hope that you maintain that record until all cars become autonomous. However, you are a single data point, though I wish that there were far more similar data points.