23 Things All Parents Wish Their Children Knew

As we grow older, our relationships with our parents evolve, blossom, and are often thrown unexpected curveballs. The bond between a parent and a child is unlike any other, built on strong emotion, but also built on a powerful understanding — we generally know how our parents feel about us, and suspect that our parents know what we feel about them. Yet, these sentiments aren’t always communicated verbally. The upcoming Zach Braff film, Wish I Was Here, tells the story of a man who finds himself at major crossroads, which forces him to examine his life, his career, and his family. And sometimes it’s only when a parent tells his child how he feels, that he really begins to understand himself. With that, here are 23 things parents wish their children knew:

1. Clark, 59

We want you guys to mess up, that’s the only way you’ll learn. But we’re still gonna punish you.

2. Robert, 62

I told my kids to work hard, and that as long as they work hard they’ll become successful. Truth is, there’s a lot more than hard work. You gotta make some gutsy decisions, sometimes decisions you’re not entirely comfortable with. Best you could do is work hard, and be able to live with the decisions you’ve made.

3. Karen, 56

I respect my daughter’s decision not to accept my friend request on Facebook. She’s definitely entitled to me not snooping around knowing everything about her social life. Though don’t think other parents aren’t gonna tell me what’s going on.

4. Melinda, 43

We want you guys to do things. I want my kids to do everything. It’s just that when they’re your kids, you can’t help but turn into everything you swore you wouldn’t do as a parent.

5. Ken, 63

How much dental insurance costs. Paying for those braces wasn’t my favorite.

6. Gill, 33

I have a six month-old. I curse at her a lot. Lovingly of course, but I should probably stop soon.

7. Michael, 65

My son started drinking coffee at age 14. I would make it for him. I always made decaf, because actual caffeine stunts your growth. He never knew, and always acted like such a hotshot for drinking coffee. I’ll let him have this one.

8. Abby, 54

On second thought, I’m not sure if telling my kids to follow their career passions was the best idea. Both are actors still looking for a break. If they’re happy I’m happy, but I’m not sure if they’re happy.

9. Seth, 61

My greatest fear is having my kids put me in a nursing home.

10. Jim, 50

I’m terrified of the thought that my kids are gonna watch me leave this earth.

11. Darlene, 58

I think I liked Rugrats more than my daughter ever did.

12. Dave, 60

When we ordered girl scout cookies, I always bought 2 extra thin mints and hid them from everyone else. I’m not sure why I’m saying ‘ordered,’ I still do.

13. Gene, 66

My daughter lives in this area of Brooklyn that, well — it was a little bit different when I was her age. I don’t think she needs to know what I did back then. Right down the street from her now.

14. Craig, 57

I’ve lost count how many times I’ve lied to my kids. Probably thousands. I think I’m supposed to feel guilty about some of the things, but its all done to protect them. The world’s there to hurt them, I’m there to protect them.

15. Nicholas, 53

Our daughter shares a wall with our bedroom. We’ve mastered the art of being incredibly quiet, if you know what I mean.

16. Grant, 61

One of the happiest days of my life was when my son finally beat me in 1 on 1 basketball.

17. Elsa, 54

It pained me every time my kids would go to my ex’s house and then come home requesting Devil Dogs, Funny Bones, and premature heart disease food galore — particularly given my family’s genetic predisposition for heart trouble. Angered by this, I one day revealed to my children some things about their father that, in retrospect, it wasn’t my place to reveal. I really wish I could take that back.

18. Michael, 60

I just spent the last 10 years taking care of my mother, my heart breaking as she slowly declined mentally and physically. I know my kids will do the same, but boy do I not wish it on them.

19. Paula, 53

I saw that party video she was in on YouTube. Dumb. But I know she’s really stressed about it, and me saying something will only stress her out more. I hope she knows she can come to me.

20. Neil, 52

I always prefer truth to lies. I think the way the world is run, its very hard for kids to be open and honest with their parents. Particularly during the critical teenage years.

21. Elliot, 49

My son’s getting eaten alive by his soccer coach. Works so hard, and isn’t playing. He’s not the most talented, but I genuinely think he deserves more playing time and appreciation than he’s getting. I’ve been telling him to stick with it, but I’m pretty sure the teenage me would’ve quit by now.

22. Jen, 44

I wish they weren’t ever teething. That was the worst.

23. Marvin, 71

I wish they knew how much time and effort went into building the business so they could get everything they got from cars to college educations paid for. So maybe they would appreciate it a little bit more.

This post brought to you by the new film from Focus Features, ‘Wish I Was Here.’ Now playing in select theaters.

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