Five things you don’t like to admit your parents were right about

January 23, 2017
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An integral part of the human experience is being lectured to by people who think they’re smarter than you. And few people get more opportunities to do so than your parents. Whether it’s concern over your mode of dress, a friendly suggestion that you make more friends, or a stern assurance that the internet is populated entirely by viruses and pornography, parents just can’t help but be condescending sometimes.

That said, there are a few nuggets of bona fide wisdom hiding in all that lecturing. Here are just a few I unearthed after years of failed adulting.

Home-brand groceries are sweet, sweet life

It’s a habit many of us pick up in primary school – nagging our folks for name-brand victuals so we don’t have to cower in shame at recess. “But Benji gets YoGo!” I distinctly remembering telling my father, convinced that it carried the rhetorical heft of a wrecking-ball.

But lunchbox anxiety is a vestige of a simpler time. Once you move out, actually having food becomes so much more important than its packaging. (Though I will admit to eating the odd YoGo while wondering where that smug prick Benji could be now.)

A stitch in time really does save nine

I know, the only thing worse than a trite saying is a trite saying that rhymes. Nonetheless, this old chestnut holds true for thousands of scenarios.

Taking care of your things – whether that means storing your shoes properly, installing antivirus software on your computer, or strapping a splint to your bend-prone iPhone – becomes a vital part of your life once you’re on your own. Going with the flow of our “planned obsolescence” economy can cost you a lot money over the years – best to swim the other way.

Clothing labels are actually important

I don’t know about you, but it took me a few ruined shirts before I finally began to pay attention to stuff like wash temperature and that little symbol that means “no tumble dry”. Learning to read those labels was like discovering a secret code that renders one better dressed.

Manners do matter

The word “gentleman” has become strongly associated with internet creeps in recent years (for good reason), but that doesn’t mean manners are obsolete. Research has found that experiencing rudeness triggers stress, which inhibits oxytocin production and elicits a momentary spike in testosterone. The latter is associated with aggression, while oxytocin is sometimes referred to as “the love hormone”. And since kind gestures have been shown to trigger oxytocin production, you could think of showing politeness as dealing out bitesize chill-pills.

Chemical responses aside, manners just tend to make life easier. The waitress at TGI’s is far less likely to spit in your fajita when you’re courteous.

 “You’ll understand when you’re older”

As much I hate to admit it, there’s more to this than our parents probably even realised. As young adults, we tend to build our fledgling identities around rock-hard certainties, most of which turn out to be just plain untrue. As we get older, those previously ironclad convictions tend to rust and flake off, along with our piercings and frosted tips.

The world is far more complicated than we could have imagined when we were younger. The more we realise that, the more we can empathise with our parents, and maybe even understand why they seemed to be such dicks at times.

Joel Svensson

Business major, journalism minor and freelance writer, Joel pretends to be clever at La Trobe University.

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