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Are you the parent your parents were?

standard October 15, 2009 8 responses

I’m willing to bet good money, or at least some of the fantabulous chocolate cupcakes that I made this evening, that at one point or another during your teen years you swore, or even maybe yelled, that you would never do what your parents did or be like your parents were.

Am I right?

I attended another one of the preschool mom’s meetings today and we touched on the topic of the kinds of parents we want to be. I’d say we covered the topic, but really who could possibly cover such a loaded subject in a mere hour and a half.

We started by going around and sharing the good things that our parents did that we’d want to do now that we were parents ourselves. Not the bad things. Those were all too easy to come up with. But the good things, the things that helped us get through our childhoods, our teenage hoods, and even now in our adulthoods.

Some of the women there struggled a bit to pinpoint one or two things. Not that they had bad childhoods or that their parents failed at their jobs, just that it was hard to hit on one specific thing. And yes, there was some ugliness and pain that was dug up. But for the most part the stuff that was shared was inspirational and started a great discussion on parenting.

We all come into this with our own personal baggage. How we turn that baggage to our advantage determines the kind of parent we can be.

So how about you? What good things did your parents do that you would like to do now that you are a parent?

For the record, the thing that my mother did that I am actively trying to emulate is making me always feel like I could try anything. Failure or success didn’t matter, trying did. My mother always made me feel like it was safe and great to try new things. She was there to comfort me if I failed and there to celebrate with me when things went well. Knowing that she was always there no matter what gave me the courage to spread my wings and let them carry me wherever my heart chose. I’ll always be grateful for that and I hope I’ll be successful in doing the same for my children.

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8 responses

  • Why is it so easy to come up with the bad things yet so hard to come up with the good things?
    Off the top of my head: my good thing
    My mom was a really good cook and shared a love of good (and healthy)food. I share that with my kids Seems trivial in some ways yet so important in other ways since this is how we get our nutrients to grow, to think, to thrive.
    On the topic of trying things..

    How Do You Praise Your Child
    Check out this article and video that I found on praising effort vs. intelligence. Links are towards the bottom.

  • My parents presented their children with a united front: there was NO playing one parent against the other. “What did your mother say?” was always Dad’s response to “Dad, can we…?”
    They also showed us what it meant to have a loving marriage, a marriage where both partner WANTED to be there, with each other and with their children, and they didn’t want to be anywhere else!
    And they loved their children. Completely and whole-heartedly, without reservation or qualification and not only when we were behaving! There wasn’t one minute in my 48 years that I didn’t know I was loved by my parents.
    And if my children can say that when they are adults and have children of their own, well then, I’ve successfully become my mom!!!

  • My parents made it clear that I could talk with them about any topic, any time. I try to emulate that with my kids; I hope that they will always feel I’m open to listening, even if we don’t agree on how to handle something (my kids are teens, BTW). Also, my parents were and still are my biggest cheerleaders and supporters.

  • Does it count that many of the things they did wrong have taught me how to do things … right? Is that a nice way to phrase criticism?
    I treat my husband as my equal, not my superior.
    I commiserate, and yes even laugh when milk is spilled.
    I talk about sex, drugs, booze, boys and any other difficult topics.
    I teach my girls to be self-sufficient, to cook, to clean, to iron, to fold stuff, to pick up after the dog.
    Does that stuff count? Because I’m not sure I’d understand all that if they hadn’t taught me otherwise. 🙂

  • I’m still convinced I’m smarter than they were about this being a parent thing–not about anything else–but I’ll never know.

    That’s because, unlike them, I had a pretty good stable home environment growing up. They might have been emotionally crippled by tough childhoods, but they sure didn’t let that deeply affect what they did for us….maybe how they responded to trouble, but eh, not enough to turn us into cripples.

    They had me pretty old (in their 40s) and died before they could offer their opinion about the job I was doing with my kids.

  • Honestly growing up was a little rough but I was born to teenage parents and now becoming a Mom myself I can see the hardship my parents must have gone through, especially my mother and all my Dad put her thru and then to be a 15 year old Mom on top of it… they did the best they could. I am not certain there is much my parents did I wish to do as a parent, because they were very aggressive and not always around. They did their best, but my sister and I raised ourselves pretty much.

  • Funny… I’m 31 now, and I can think of so many more things I want to be like my parents in than things I’d change. First, which some of the women here have already said, I could ask my parents about anything – and I mean anything. And I really tried to trip my mom up and embarrass her on some of the sex stuff, but she never failed to answer – or help me find an answer. I also was up against a united front on everything – even if they didn’t agree. Both my parents were also very big into doing a LOT of research for any major decision: vacation or what car to buy, and they instilled the importance of that in both my brother and I. Also, I never once doubted they believed I could be anything I wanted when I grew up – and that they would always support that.

  • KrellPW

    From my mother I learned the importance of fairness. Particularly that fair was not always equal. For example, I was the oldest, so I got to celebrate all the age associated milestones first. There was no getting around that. When I was old enough to drive, I inherited one of my grandparent’s sedans as my first car. That was fine. I was truly grateful. Two years later when my younger brother got his license, my parents bought him a second hand Firebird. It was their way of making that important milestone unique and special for him and it was fair.

    From my father I learned you give everyone one your trust upfront (but maybe not ALL of your trust), until they demonstrate that they don’t deserve it. The other thing he taught me was “learn what people drink.” (Set the question of alcohol aside for the moment) People would come to our home the first time and my father would learn what their favorite beverage was. When that person returned to our home, be it a week, a year or a decade later, my father new what that person’s favorite beverage was and he had it on hand. He didn’t keep a list or anything. He simply knew it. It was his way of being a fantastic host. It put people at ease in our home and demonstrated that he knew and remembered you.

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