Let’s Not Blame Mom and Dad

1966 Millers with The QBQ! Guy being cool with fingers in ears.

Question: Do you blame Mom and/or Dad for how your life is going today?

We all know about finger-pointing, right? Some days it seems the Blame Game is the only game in town. Everybody is blaming everybody else. 

Even our parents get blamed. Sometimes, Mom and Dad get blamed for everything!

“If only my dad would … ” and “If only my mom had … .”

Poor Mom and Dad, and that darn family of origin. 😉

Parenting and Accountability

Now, don’t get me wrong. As we write in Raising Accountable Kids, accountable parents embrace this principle:

My child is a product of my parenting.

Before they ask shaming and blaming questions such as, “Why is my daughter so disrespectful to me?” and “When will my son get his act together?” accountable parents look squarely in the mirror. When the 3-yr-old is out of control, the ‘tween refuses to do assigned chores, and the high-schooler seems more entitled every day, accountable parents look inward with, “How did my parenting create what I’m observing?” Then they ask, “What can I learn from this as a parent to become more effective?”

However, someday, those kids become grown-ups who can now choose to be accountable adults. This happens when we recognize that each and every choice made is now ours to make.

That is, I am 100% responsible for my life. Not my mom, not my dad — no matter how I was raised. No excuses!

Where the Millers of Denver Came From

Karen and I were raised five miles apart in Ithaca, NY, and share this fact: Our dads (Jimmy Miller and Sydney Giles) were both born in 1921.

Do you have any idea how much has been learned about parenting in the last 100 years? Let’s just say … a lot.

Our fathers (and mothers) simply didn’t have the knowledge we have today about raising children. Of course, many of the values held by the “Greatest Generation” are exactly what the world needs today, such as work ethic, respect for others, financial frugality, and personal responsibility. But …

Did they have a deep psychological understanding of parenting? No. They made mistakes. There was shaming, dysfunction, addiction, chaos, anger, and harsh discipline in some families. Children were only to be seen and not heard. Feelings were denied. Lies were told. Secrets were kept.

Karen and I grew up with parents from that time. All four of them were born in the 1920s. Yet, even though our parents made mistakes, here’s what we know …

Today’s Choices Are On Us

Whatever Karen and John think, feel, speak, or do today, we absolutely must … own. There is no, “Well, my dad did this” and “My mom never did that” stuff. 

It’s true, children are a product of their family of origin, but it’s also true we’ve been given volition — free will — to make our own way. Accountable people understand this. They live it, too. They’ve broken free of the past, they’ve learned and changed, they’ve become accountable adults.

As Mother’s Day and Father’s Day arrive, ponder this question:

On any level, do I blame my parents for how I think, feel, or act today?

Not to sound flippant, but if that’s the case, I still have some growing up to do.

On the other hand, it’s possible I’ve become a true adult, practicing personal accountability in all things. If that has happened for you, you are a blessing to all, including yourself.

And we applaud you mightily. 👏🏻 👏🏻 👏🏻

Comments always welcome!


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