How Does Your Own Childhood Effect Your Parenting?

How Does Your Own Childhood Effect Your Parenting?

As a child in any family we learn to adapt with behaviors that allow us to survive. We take on a role that serves us well. You may be the responsible one, the rebel or the quiet one that does not want any attention. Now that you are a parent, are you seeing some of these learned behaviors in your own parenting? This can be a good or bad thing. How did the style of parenting that was used with us play a role in how we parent our own children? We don’t want to pass on family dysfunction so let’s look at our behavior and implement the good and correct the bad.

Are you imitating your parents behavior because that is all you know? Sometimes we unconsciously recreate the type of environment that we grew up in because it is familiar and therefore comfortable. A negative example of this is when we become the controlling or overbearing parent to our children because it is familiar and feels comfortable and known. Just because it is known does not make it the best for your family. Each family, each child and each individual is unique and the style of parenting needs to be adapted to what is best for the individual.

As a child we may have developed behaviors that helped us manage our own childhood environment. For example if a parent was verbally abusive we have learned to avoid confrontation and so we don’t stand up for what we know is needed. As a parent this behavior will not serve your child well. They need to be taught what behaviors are appropriate and this may cause conflict if they don’t get what they want. Parenting requires a controlled and loving strength in the face of confrontation. Don’t fold and give in just to keep the peace.

Sometimes our child’s behavior will trigger a reaction in us that is exaggerated for the situation and you think, “Where did that come from?”. Your reaction is not really from what your child did but from something it may have reminded you of. Maybe that is how your parents reacted to a similar situations. Children will cause chaos, things will get broken or spilled, it will be loud at times, there will be clutter but all of these things are normal and manageable but if one of these things triggers an over reaction on your part, then look at that and explore why that is happening.

We also have an inner voice that speaks to us words and thoughts that we heard in the past. We may have had a very critical parent who often questioned if we were capable of a task and filled our mind with doubt. Well parenting is a very challenging task so we need to hear a voice of encouragement and support. Hopefully we can get this from our partner and/or other relationships but if not then we have to retrain that inner voice.

All of these reactions come from a gut impulse to a stimuli that was set in motion in your childhood. Learning to respond in a controlled and appropriate way instead of reacting on impulse will break the cycle of dysfunction and allow us to function in a way that is best for our unique family.

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Written by Lisa Strong

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