So often the choices we make as parents are what we were shown by our parents. Sometimes that is the best thing, but sometimes it doesn’t work for our children, or create the dynamic we want in our home.
This whole parenting thing… I don’t know about you but I am totally making it up as I go along.
I feel like as soon as I have something figured out, have what my son needs at this stage of life down… he changes.
I’ve learned a lot over the years. I love that there is a big age difference between my boys because I can see how my parenting has effected my oldest and learn what works and what doesn’t.
I really value his input, after all, he’s been mothered by me. He has been where his brothers are now and so I like his input on what really made an impact on him & what didn’t.
Even with that confidence. Even with pretty much feeling like I’m rocking this mom thing most of the time I am totally flying by the seat of my pants 95% of the time.
But here is what I’ve realized. Every adult throughout the course of history was doing the same thing. None of us have done this before, none of us know what is going to happen next. Even the most prepared most educated parents are figuring it out as they go.
Including your parents.
As kids, we think our parents have it all figured out we think that they know everything and so when we become parents we’re pretty sure that we should do things just like they did.
But you don’t have to.
Here’s the thing. Most parents are trying their best & they are doing what their parents did and they did what their parents did on and on and on all the way back to the cavemen… well maybe not that far.
You Don’t Have to Parent Like Your Parents
But just because your parents disciplined you, related to you, or spoke to you in a certain way doesn’t mean that that is the most effective way to parent your kids.
My mom had a very open honest relationship with my sister and I. We could go to her about anything, my friends could go to her about anything. She was chill and didn’t overreact, she talked to us like people not like a “mom” she was warm and welcoming to our friends and always had an ear to listen.
She learned how to do that by being everything to us that her mom wasn’t to her.
My grandma was wonderful but with 5 kids and a husband to care for she was distant. Being a devout catholic she wasn’t one to open up about sex or anything else personal. My mom wanted to give us what she didn’t have and have a closer relationship with us.
Sometimes parents are too strict or too lenient.
Well I Turned Out Alright
That is how a lot of people feel. If they turned out just fine with the way they were raised their kids will too.
But they don’t stop to think about how they felt as a child or teenager. They don’t think about the dynamic that they have with their parents or if they want a different kind of relationship with their kids.
If your parents didn’t listen to you and value your input how did that make you feel? Are you taking the same my way or the highway approach with your kids?
If your parents were always working or distracted did you long for connection and their time?
As a teenager were they strict did you feel like you had to hide things so they wouldn’t get upset with you? Is that what you want with your kids?
While our parent’s parenting is a good place to start you have to go with your instincts and parent on your terms even if it means doing a total 180.
What Kind of Relationship do You Want With Your Kids?
You have to ask yourself what relationship do you want with your kids do you want it to be open and connected. Do you want to have a fun friendly relationship with them? When they parent their kids what do you want them to remember about what you did?
Often we have to confront things from our past. If our parents failed us in any way or we are carrying the weight of trauma or hurt. (I am a huge fan of therapy to deal with our own issues)
Maybe there is a cycle that you need to break, maybe you want to nurture your kids in a way that you weren’t, maybe you want to be there for them because your parents weren’t.
A great relationship with your kids doesn’t just happen. You need to lay the ground work when they are little, maintain communication, and often step outside yourself and realize when your fears, or past is clouding how you are parenting.
So give it some thought. Think about what your parents did that made you feel loved, gave you a sense of connection and safety. Think about what you wish they would have done differently and if that is something you want to change about the way you parent.
Blaze your own trail as a parent, listen to your instincts, and know that while you are making it up as you go along, so is everyone else!