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They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.
But they were fucked up in their turn
By fools in old-style hats and coats,
Who half the time were soppy-stern
And half at one another’s throats.
Man hands on misery to man.
It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
And don’t have any kids yourself. Philip Larkin, This Be the Verse
A slavish bondage to parents cramps every faculty of the mind. Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Women
A great proportion of the misery that wanders in hideous form around the world is allowed to arise from the negligence of parents. ibid.
One of the greatest benefits that God ever gave me is that He sent me so sharp and severe parents and so gentle a schoolmaster. Lady Jane Grey, 1537-54
I don’t think my parents liked me. They put a live teddy bear in my crib. Woody Allen
The joys of parents are secret, and so are their griefs and fears. Francis Bacon, Essays: ‘Of Parents and Children’, 1625
It’s a funny thing about mothers and fathers. Even when their own child is the most disgusting little blister you could ever imagine, they still think that he or she is wonderful. Roald Dahl, Matilda
All parents want to give their children a great start in life. But knowing how best to do that or where to turn for advise isn’t so easy. Carrot or Stick? A Horizon Guide to Raising Kids, BBC 2011
The post-war period: parents at the time were a tough breed shaped by the strict Victorian-style values of their own upbringing, and the hardship and austerity of the war years. These parents were all about hard discipline. ibid.
Attachment theory as it’s known still forms the basis of our thinking about how important it is for mother and baby to have a good bond. ibid.
In the seventies doctors came up with a new explanation of why some babies with no physical injuries developed sudden brain damage: they called it shaken baby syndrome, and suggested parents were the culprits. ibid.
Increasing awareness of abuse passing down generations turned the spotlight on mothers in a new way, not just to blame them but to try and help them too. ibid.
In the 1970s and ’80s the rise in new liberal ideas about discipline left a lot of more ordinary families struggling to manage their children’s naughty behaviour. ibid.
Reason #1: To Teach and Perpetrate the Santa Claus Myth, Parents Must Lie to Their Children; Reason #2: The Santa Claus Myth Exploits Characteristic Weakness in Young Children’s Thinking, Perhaps Obstructing Their Passage to Later Stages of Cognitive Development; Reason #3: To Buoy Belief, Adults Stage Elaborate Deceptions, Laying Traps for the Child’s Developing Intellect; Reason #4: The Myth Encourages Lazy Parenting and Promotes Unhealthy Fear; Reason #5: The Number of Characteristics that Santa Claus Shares with God and Jesus Verges on the Blasphemous. Tom Flynn, The Trouble With Christmas
What price are we paying for lying to children about Santa Claus? It may be steeper than we think. Because the myth panders to childhood credulity, some have implicated it in the rising incidence of scientific illiteracy among the young. Because it encourages children to build their world views on authority, not on independent thinking, others have related it to the abysmal judgment supposedly displayed by young adults. Can parents honestly be surprised when children do not consult them before experimenting with sex, drugs, crime, or destructive relationships – so soon after their parents have made it clear that children cannot trust them to provide accurate knowledge of the world? A Christian parent put the issue clearly in a letter to the editor:
‘Certainly we can’t get away with lies for seven to ten years and then expect children to ‘outgrow’ Santa ... then suddenly expect them to believe us when we mention high intensity moral issues.
‘Simply being honest with our children, in my opinion, would outweigh anything Santa ever brought’. ibid.
I have just killed my parents! I am a horrible son. I wish I had been aborted. Kip Kinkel, journal entry
You’re tearing me apart! Rebel without a Cause 1955 starring James Dean & Natalie Wood & Sal Mineo & Jim Backus & Ann Doran & Corey Allen & William Hopper & Rochelle Hudson & Edward Platt & Nick Adams et al, director Nicholas Ray, Jim to parents
Every time you can’t face yourself you blame it on me ... I want to do something right. ibid. son
There was nothing wrong with my upbringing. My parents were decent, respectable and upstanding members of society. Bronson 2009 starring Tom Hardy & Matt King & James Lance & Amanda Burton & Kelly Adams & Jonathan Phillips & Mark Powley & Joe Tuckeret et al, director Nicolas Winding Refn
This whole thing is about parenting. Alpha Dog 2006 starring Emile Hirsch & Bruce Willis & Sharon Stone & Justin Timberlake & Dominique Swain & Ben Foster & Shawn Hatosy & Anton Yelchin et al, director Nick Cassavetes, Sonny
Doesn’t everyone want their parents dead? Prometheus ***** 2012 starring Michael Fassbender & Charlize Theron & Noomi Rapace & Guy Pearce & Logan Marshall-Green & Rafe Spall & Sean Harris & Kate Dickie & Benedict Wong et al, director Ridley Scott, David
I was an orphan. Even though my parents were alive. Red Dwarf s2e3: Thanks for the Memory, Rimmer, BBC 1988
My father was a half-crazed military failure. My mother was a bitch-queen from Hell. Red Dwarf s5e2: The Inquisitor, Rimmer
I’m looking forward to meeting your parents. Star Trek: The Next Generation s4e2: Family, Riker to Worf
Troi: We raise them, we care for them, we suffer for them, we keep them from harm their whole lives. Now eventually, it’s their turn to take care of us.
Timicin: No parent should expect to be paid back for the love they have given their children.
Troi: Well, why the hell not? Star Trek: The Next Generation s4e22: Half a Life, Dianna Troi
The thing that impresses me most about America is the way parents obey their children. Duke of Windsor, former Edward VIII, 1957
‘At the age of six I lost both my parents. Yes. What a card game that was.’ Max Wall, An Evening With Max Wall
Rosella [parrot] parents are scrupulously fair and they make quite sure that even the youngest gets its proper share of food. David Attenborough, The Life of Birds IX: The Problems of Parenthood, BBC 1998
The storks like many birds are exemplary parents. ibid.
3.5 million 20-34-year-olds still living at home with their parents in Britain. The Bank: A Matter of Life and Debt II, BBC 2015
To lose one parent, Mr Worthing, may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness. Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest, 1895
Children begin by loving their parents; as they grow older they judge them; sometimes they forgive them. Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray
All the evidence is the State is a pretty bad parent. Paul Boeteng MP
The parent who could see his boy as he really is, would shake his head and say: Willie, is no good; I’ll sell him. Stephen Leacock, Essays and Literary Studies, 1916