Imagine being a teenager growing up in a home with no rules, no curfew, and no consequences for anything you want to do. You don’t have to go to school if you don’t want to. Heck, you can even drop out! When it comes to drinking and doing drugs with your friends, your dad say, “No problem – I’ll even join you!”
Lauren, who’s now 26, says her parents gave her way too much freedom growing up, and she and resents them for her inability to cope in the real world.
“Growing up, I was allowed to do anything I wanted to do. There were hardly any rules. When it came to school, my mom let me decide if I felt like going to school or not. I literally got straight F’s,” says Lauren. “I resent my mom because she never taught me any life skills. I didn’t even know how to write a check … I have so much resentment toward my mom that our relationship is falling apart. I do try to be civil toward my mom but underneath it all, I really only feel anger.”
Her mom, Laura, acknowledges that she encouraged Lauren to drop out of school because she was unhappy and had social anxiety. “I had a lot of guilt, so I would try to make things easier for Lauren,” she explains. But she doesn’t think she should be held responsible for how her daughter’s life has turned out. “I’m a good mom to Lauren and I’ve gone above and beyond … The fact is she doesn’t work hard. She’s very lazy.” Laura adds, “I know what Lauren wants. She wants me to get her an apartment and pay for it. Then she could have her friends over, make smoothies, and have a nice life.”
As for Lauren’s dad, John, Lauren says he was more of a friend to party with than a parent. “As a teenager, I could drink, party, and do drugs with my dad,” she says. “My dad would buy my cocaine, ecstasy and alcohol. My dad would party with me and my friends.”
She continues, “When I was a teenager, my dad had sex with one of my friends. I believe my friend was 17. It was consensual. It makes me feel pretty disgusted. I really don’t care about my father. I don’t need a relationship with him.”
John agrees that he acted like a friend instead of a parent by drinking and doing drugs with Lauren. "It was my way of having a relationship with her," he explains. But, he adds, "I feel Lauren has given me a life sentence ... I wish Lauren could put the past in the past."