Parenting patterns

So today is my little brother’s 16th birthday. Following family tradition (so far), he got his driver’s permit. Breaking family tradition, though, he took off and drove around town, including on the freeway, right after getting it.

Even though I didn’t do all that much driving right after getting my permit, this whole situation follows a pattern.

I don’t think I ate a McDonald’s hamburger until I was two or three years old.

I don’t think I heard about cuss words until I was 11 or 12 years old.

I don’t think I saw an R-rated movie until I was 14 or 15 years old.

And getting back to William, I don’t think I drove anywhere until I was 16 years old.

My brothers and sister were different. They started experiencing all that when they were much younger than I was, in some cases at the same time I did even though they were years younger.

I’d guess many parents/kids follow this same pattern. Trying to be super careful, parents tend to be more strict in the beginning. Over time, though, they loosen up, so the kids later down the line get exposed to more when they’re younger.

Continuing the pattern further, grandparents are the least strict, right? They’re the ones giving out candy anytime the grand kids ask, even if it’s right before bed.

Does this pattern sound familiar, or is it just me?

I’m not sure at what point parents have the perfect balance. Is that grandparent style actually best, or are the younger, stricter parents really doing the better job?

Tough to say. Perhaps none are wrong… just different. Interesting to observe in real time though.