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Simba (to Kiara): ... and stay on the path I've marked for you!

Nala: Simba, who does she remind you of?

Simba: Huh? What? Who?

Nala: She's just like you were when you were young.

Simba: Exactly. Do you remember the dangers we put ourselves in?

  "Do as I say, not as I do."

Mom just doesn't understand! She tells our heroine off for going out with the wrong boy or having a secret life, etc. Then, we find out in a dramatic twist that she did the same thing when she was her age!. What a hypocrite! But, of course, having seen her hypocritical ways, we love her again or she sees her wrong-doing and allows the act to continue. Or doesn't.

The other case is when the parent has forgotten what it's like to be a teenager. In this case, some other adult their age will remind them, "you were a teenager once, don't you remember?" prompting the parent to guiltily admit they remember, and that's why they're being so overprotective.

Note that this trope isn't necessarily a bad thing: the parents went through the same thing their children are facing, learned from it, and now they want to keep their kids out of the same situations. The parents look upon the situation with regret and want better for their children. Not stopping to remember how much they'd heed such advice in their time, of course. This trope only focuses on the fact that the parent did the same as the child and it is considered a "twist" in the story.

On the other hand, the unsympathetic side of this is when the parent disciplines the child for doing something that they still do as a parent, rather than something they did as a kid, learned a lesson from, and don't do anymore.

No Real Life Examples, Please. While we can all definitely agree that this is Truth in Television, adding a Real Life section would simply invite Natter from people complaining about their parents.

Possibly a subtrope of Generation Xerox. The parent or guardian involved is often a Former Teen Rebel.



  • The classic 1987 PSA where the teen son is being blasted by his dad for taking drugs, asks him where he learned to do that from, and the son starts screaming "It was from YOU, alright?! I learned it from watching YOU!"

Anime and Manga

  • A teacher example: Kuroi Sensei from Lucky Star plays the same online game as Konata, and has been into MMORPG's since before she was Konata's age, but she tells Konata off for doing that very thing, and uses in-game chat to remind her to do her homework. When Konata calls her out on this, she remarks that, as a teacher, she has a duty to uphold, which Konata accepts as understandable, but still...
  • Played for laughs in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Vi Vid. Attempts by Fate to complain about Vivio's newly revealed adult form out of worry were eventually short-circuited when Vivio reminded her that, based on Nanoha's stories...

 Vivio: I heard that mamas were quite unruly at Vivio's age, right?

Fate: Uh... That's, umm...

Nanoha: Ahaha...

Comic Books

  • In Spider Girl, this is an issue early on--Peter is horrified that teenage May would try to be a superhero, despite doing the same thing at her age. (Though to be fair, that cost him a leg in this universe.)


  • In The Notebook, Allie's mother scoffs at Allie falling in love a day-laborer in the first act. In the third act, however, she shows Allie that she once loved a day-laborer as well, but instead married Allie's father. She still has feelings for the working man as well.
  • In Back to The Future, Marty's mother scoffs at Marty for his behavior with Jennifer. "In my day, we never parked and made out." It's quite the shock to Marty when he travels back in time to find his mother willing to "park for a while".
  • In The Patriot, Gabriel spends the night with his fiancee, Anne Howard, and her family. Mrs. Howard sews Gabe into a bundling bag for the night, to keep him and Anne from getting up to anything. Afterwards, Gabe and Anne talk, while her dad listens nervously at the door.

 Mrs. Howard: Don't worry, I'm a better seamstress than my mother was.

Mr. Howard: [mortified] I hope so!

  • The Lion King 2 has Simba very over-protective of Kiara. At one point, Nala points out to Simba that Kiara's just like they were when they were cubs, and Simba explains that this is what worries him.


  • In A Civil Campaign by Lois McMaster Bujold, two parents get upset about their daughter having premarital sex. A family friend shuts them up by quietly bringing the couch where they first had sex -- before they were married, of course -- out of storage.
  • In one of the Berenstain Bears books, there's a mild version involving a school dress code. The kids adopt obnoxious new fashions, and due to an escalating power struggle between the acting principal who keeps making new rules and the kids using Loophole Abuse, it looks like the school will be going to uniforms... until Grandma Bear defuses the situation by hauling out photos of Papa and Mama Bear in their ludicrous Seventies attire.
  • The Sweet Valley Saga novel The Wakefield Legacy featured Theodore Wakefield, the great-great-great grandfather of the Sweet Valley twins, running away from home to avoid an arranged marriage. When Theodore's daughter Sarah was old enough to marry, however, he insisted that she marry the man of his choice rather than the man she loved. Sarah immediately calls him out on his hypocrisy. He doesn't even bother to justify himself, continuing to insist on his right to veto Sarah's choice. This leads to a split between the two that is never healed.
  • In David Weber's War God series, Baroness Hanatha Bowmaster is forced to forbid her daughter Leeana from doing many of the things that Hanatha enjoyed doing at Leeana's age. In an unusual twist for this trope, Hanatha is the one who brings up the fact that she and Leeana's father were guilty of the same and worse, and Hanatha is well aware that she's being hypocritical and unfair. She justifies herself, however, by pointing out that (a) She's learned from her experiences and doesn't want Leeana to have to go through the same thing, and (b) Leeana's situation is far more precarious than Hanatha's was.
  • In Eyes of a Child by Richard North Patterson, Chris Paget finds his son Carlo smoking marijuana and Lampshades this trope by thinking that this was the sort of moment every parent who grew up in The Sixties dreads. Chris ends up admitting to Carlo that yes, he did smoke pot and it didn't kill him or ruin his life, but it just made him kind of dumb and wasn't really worth it.

Live Action TV

  • Gilmore Girls: Lane's mom, a strict Christian, eventually found out that she was hiding her life away from her. How she found out was a mystery to us for a long while (how did she know to look under the floorboards?). Then, on Lane's wedding day, we find out that Mrs. Kim hid her life away from her mother (a strict Buddhist) under the floorboards, and still does to this day! And she needs to hide her lifestyle fast before her mother arrives for the wedding!
  • The Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Band Candy" has all the adults regress to teenagerdom; all this, as well as Hilarity, ensues.
  • Veronica Mars runs a booming business in high school exposing the hypocrisies of parents for their children.
  • On Home Improvement Tim and Jill catch their son Brad with marijuana. He deduces that they've used it before based on the fact that they were alive during "that whole hippie thing", which turns out to be true in Jill's case (Tim preferred beer). The parents discuss whether they should tell Brad the truth, and eventually, they do and she explains the trouble it caused her and that it was a mistake she doesn't want him to make.
  • In Modern Family, it's revealed that Claire has a rebellious past (including being driven home by the police in her underwear) despite reprimanding Hayley for similar behavior.
  • Still Standing: The parents were complete Jerkasses in high school, so they often run into this trope when disciplining their children.


  • Trisha Yearwood's "She's in Love With the Boy" is about a girl who's in love with a boy while her father complains about how stupid and worthless the boy is. After the boy and girl come home late from a date, the father's about to berate the boy, but the mother reminds him that her father used to think the same way about him when they were younger.

Newspaper Comics

  • In FoxTrot, Andy complains to her mom about sending Peter music that annoys her, defending her claim with "But the music I annoyed you with was good!"
  • Similar to the above, this is a punchline in The Buckets. The father complains about how his childrens' music is nothing but noise, prompting his father to stand there smiling because that's the exact same thing that he said about his music when he was younger.


 Director: There is a question to consider. Peachum and his wife -- are they both angry with their daughter, I mean, equally angry? Perhaps Mrs Peachum is less angry because she, in her youth, has made the same mistakes that Polly does.

Actress playing Mrs Peachum: That would make her more angry. At least, it would make me more angry.

Web Comics

  • Girl Genius has a moment when Gilgamesh jumps in to play corrida with what amounts to a small locomotive with legs and arms, giving his father time to analyze its structure. Klaus roars at him for taking an unnecessary risk, but Jägermonsters eagerly express approval when they see a Badass performance, so right at the next page a Jäger sergeant quietly tells Gil that Klaus himself "doz crazy schtupid sctoff like dot all de time". Of course, as they both are mad scientists with chronic anti-hero syndrome, it wasn't likely to be the craziest for either.

Western Animation

  • In The Simpsons, Homer is upset because his 10 year old son Bart got his ear pierced.

 Bart: Come on, Dad. Didn't you ever do anything wild when you were a kid?

Homer: Well, when I was ten I got my ear pierced. But this is completely different!

    • In another episode, after a failed attempt to get the family on a clean eating kick, Marge indulges in junk food with Homer and says from now on they'll only make the kids eat healthy.
  • In As Told by Ginger Ginger's mom Lois forbids her teen daughter things like using makeup and shaving her legs, but it's immediately shown that Lois have a whole bathroom full of beauty products that she keeps locked.
    • This is also because Lois believes that Ginger is too young to be using those things.
  • In the South Park movie, Kyle's mom is willing to start a war if it means stopping her son from behaving improperly. The episode "It's a Jersey Thing" reveals that she's from Joisey.

Stand Up Comedy

  • Mentioned by Dave Barry on the subject of marijuana: "'If you take ONE PUFF', they said in between pulls on their king-size cigars, 'you will be HOOKED FOR LIFE'!"
  • George Carlin has done a few bits about this subject.

 These people went from "Do your own thing" to "Just say no!" They went from "Love is all you need" to "Whoever winds up with the most toys, wins", and they went from cocaine to Rogaine.

  • Bill Engvall mentions ones how he smacked his son upside the head because he was hitting another kid, following it up with "We don't hit."
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