"What is your biggest regret about how you raised your kids?": Parenting advice from moms and dads who've been there
Is there any better way to learn than from other people's mistakes and regrets? One father turned to the Internet and got some potent parenting advice.
"My mother told me most of her regrets were decisions she made from a place of fear" (iStock)
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Guilt and regret are two sides of the same coin, and as most moms and dads come to learn, is as perfectly paired to parenting as sleepless nights and dirty nappies. 

According to this Northwestern University study, regrets related to family are right up there with other "life domains" such as education, career and finance. 

The study analysed data collected telephonically from more than 300 US participants, as well as information from previous studies and theories, with researchers finding that parenting related regrets placed 6th out of 12 life domains, and the feeling figures most prominently "... in situations for which there is still the opportunity to fix things." 


Also see: Listen up, dads! Here's what your daughters wished you knew

If you could change anything about your parenting choices, what would it be? Tell us your story, and we could publish your letter. Anonymous contributions are welcome.


"What is your biggest regret about how you raised your kids?"

It may or may not have been this study that prompted one parent, Reddit user ryanwhand, to take the r/Parenting platform to ask other moms and dads what they regret most about their parenting choices. 

Specifically wanting responses from parents whose children had already left home, and whose wisdom could be used as a guide, ryanwhand asked, "What is your biggest regret about how you raised your kids?"

The self-proclaimed "parent with still-young kids...[and] an open mind" got more than he bargained for, getting advice from parents of both young and older kids, and even adult children whose elderly parents shared what they most regret about their parenting decisions. 


Also see: When a parent is just not that into parenting: Online confessions that'll make you feel okay about being an "Okay Mom"


"It's a fine line between 'pushy' and 'allowing your child to give up too easily'"

"I regret not holding her more accountable for things she didn't want to do. It's a fine line between 'pushy' and 'allowing your child to give up too easily', I don't think I did a good enough job of finding it. I encouraged her to try things out for the experience, but I let her give up when things didn't go her way and now she gives up WAY too easily." (Posted by RedReina)

"Trying to save them from dumb things they do to themselves can be a big mistake"

"I spent so much time worrying about them when they were little"

"I am starting to regret that I became way too lax in certain areas" 

"I have 5 children as well. Ages now are 23, 21, 19, 17 (almost 18), 16. While it's true that I am nowhere near as uptight with the younger ones as I was with my oldest, I am starting to regret that I became way too lax in certain areas. One of them is pictures. I hardly have any pics of my youngest. I feel guilty now when he looks for or asks about where a pic of this or that is, like his sisters or brother." (Posted by mercedesbends) 

"I regret not keeping track of daily life"

"My mother told me most of her regrets were decisions she made from a place of fear"

"I'm in my early 30s. Recently, my mother told me that most of her regrets were decisions she made from a place of fear, specifically, fear for our safety. She has realized that she unnecessarily kept us from doing things that may have been good learning experiences, opportunities for growth, or just plain fun.

"As an adult, I recognize in myself the predisposition to say no, to keep it safe, to minimize risk regardless of the cost. Now that I am expecting my first child, I fear doing the same thing to them but have no experience to draw on for other ways to raise a family. I'm reading tons of child rearing/development books but still, worry about stifling my child(ren).

The best consolation I've heard from people is, "the fact that you care enough to worry about screwing it up means you'll at least do okay." (Posted by Elim_Tain).

Chat back:

If you could change anything about your parenting choices, what would it be? Tell us your story, and we could publish your letter. Anonymous contributions are welcome.

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