Dear Mr. Dad: I’ve always resented my mother and thought she was a lousy parent. I saw only her negative side and was extremely critical and judgmental. But now that I’m a new mom myself, I see her in a different light and realize that her intentions were good. How do I make up for all the grief I’ve caused?
A: When it comes to admitting one’s mistakes and trying to make amends, being late is always better than never.
As children—and especially as teenagers and young adults—we tend to see our parents as too strict and old-fashioned. Close your eyes for a second and think back on how often you screamed things like, “I hate you!” or You just don’t understand me” or “I will never, ever be a parent like you!” Five times a day? More? All of us dream of having cool parents, the kind who would give us the freedom to act as we want, never interfere or criticize, never tell us what to do or impose rules. With criteria like that, it’s no wonder that the vast majority of moms and dads will fail miserably—at least in the eyes of their children.