The style of parenting we use; how we treat our kids, show love, encourage them, choose to discipline them, and how we react to positive behavior and misbehavior are all tied to how our parents parented us.
When you become a parent, you’ll try to decide what kind of parent you want to be, but more importantly, what kind of person you want to be for your children. It’s the optimal time for development and improvement, to be the best version of yourself you can be – for them and for you.
The way you parent is a choice. How you want to influence, help, guide and love your children is a choice. Motherhood and fatherhood may come natural, and loving your child is one of the easiest things you’ll ever do, but not every part of parenting is so simple. Parenting, whether you like it or not, is guided by how your parents, parented you.
And because of this, there are two ways you can choose the type of parenting you will lead with.
The first is by doing just as your parents did, whether good or bad, unconsciously or consciously.
You raise your children with the same mannerisms, and positive or negative parenting choices as your parents did you. You may have had a wonderful childhood and want to do exactly as your parents did for you. But this isn’t always the case. Others may have had parents who yelled, who belittled, who weren’t supportive and were manipulative and unfortunately, these negative cycles will continue.
You may have had an incredible childhood, but even though 95% of your parent’s parenting is something you’ll mirror, that other 5% may still be something you investigate. There is always room for improvement and no parent is perfect, even with the best of intentions and a childhood full of love and nurturing.
The search for better is one of the greatest traits of humans and especially parents.
The second way is to intentionally scrutinize your childhood and delve deep into the way your parents treated you; how they made you feel, what was good and what was bad and create a guiding light that you and your partner choose to navigate you through your path of parenting.
As you are expecting children, this is the most profound time to examine your childhood and the influence your parents had on you.
- Choose to look carefully on the impact to your self-image, self-confidence, body image, attitude, friendship and relationship choices, how you treat others and confidence in your abilities.
- What did they do, that you don’t want to do?
- Did their words match their own treatment of themselves? When they told you, you were beautiful or smart or strong, did they say the same things about themselves?
- How did they treat and talk to you? What would you carry on and what would you change?
- What did you love about your childhood? Do you consider your childhood loving and happy or something else? What about your childhood do you consider loving? What wasn’t happy about it?
- If your children were in your own childhood, what feelings would you have about that?
Once you start answering these questions honestly, you’ll discover cherished memories of your childhood as well as pieces that you don’t want your children to feel or go through. This is where your own foundation of being parents will be established.
While being critical of our parents may seem selfish, judgmental and even rude, we cannot move forward as human beings to better ourselves, in turn providing a better foundation of childhood for our kids, unless we work to make those discoveries and consciously take steps forward.
The foundation a parent creates for their child – the voice you provide your child with which will last their entire lifetime – are the building blocks to the person they will be and become. Our job is to guide our children and leave them with the knowing that they are loved, loveable and belong.
Did your own childhood do that for you?
How do we want our children to see themselves, to think of themselves, to treat themselves and others? Know that your parenting will be the foundation to all of these things.
WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU DO HAVE UNDESIRABLE TRAITS FROM YOUR PARENTS?
We say and think a lot of things when we’re expecting a baby. We create a grand plan on how things will be, but oftentimes those grandiose thoughts manifest themselves differently.
Once you become parents and go through each stage – newborn, toddler, preschool, school-aged, adolescents, adults – to see how your parent’s parenting affected you, you must look at your own behavior during these times.
How do you react to your children in hard, tiring and frustrating situations? How do you manage the stress of parenting or long hours alone with your kids? How do you treat your children? Do the words that come out of your mouth empower, love and encourage your children or do they belittle, hurt and squash them?
When we are acting small or making someone else feel small, we must look to ourselves to understand why we are doing this. Not our children and not other people.
Some Negative Behavior Examples & How They Correlate to Parenting
- Are you yelling? Did your parents yell at you or your siblings often?
- Do you spank? Were you spanked as a child?
- Do you turn to drinking when you’re stressed out or after a long day with the kids? Did your parents drink to help handle the stress of parenting and life?
- Do you make your child feel bad for making mistakes, even small ones? Did your parents belittle you for mistakes you made?
- Do you help your children run away from potential failure or struggles? Did your parents swoop in to “save” you from doing hard things or potentially facing defeat or consequences?
- Do you get angry when your children don’t listen to you? Did your parents go into a rage when you didn’t do what they wanted?
This is not to say that you can’t and won’t overcome any negative behaviors that you’ve taken on from your parents, because once you notice these traits, you’ve made the first step into transforming your parenting.
After you’ve zeroed in on the behaviors you’re looking to change, think about the way your parents made you feel when they reacted or treated you the way they did. Good? Bad?
Analyzing ourselves… looking deep into that little kid that still remembers inside each of us, is not for the weak. It requires you to be strong, to be honest with yourself and to be strong enough to formulate a plan for change and follow through. But you can do it. Changing your parenting, especially when you look at your beautiful children, you’ll know that the hard work is worth it for them, and for you.
Do you find things from your childhood reflected in how you are parenting? Things you want to change and work on too?
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