All of us have things we wish our parents would have done better when they raised us as children. When we become parents ourselves, we often realize how hard it was for our own mother and father when they tried to juggle kids, jobs and raising a family.
One insight we have that is unique is we have the experience having grown up ourselves. We still can feel what it was like to be raised a certain way and may already know what mistakes we don’t want to make in raising our children.
Here are some tips for consciously setting aside the stigmas of your own childhood with your parents as you embark on a new journey to discover your parenting skills.
One way to leave behind your parents’ way of raising you is to engage in the exact opposite behavior you disagreed with when you were younger. If you were spanked for misbehaving, then go the extreme opposite route of positive reinforcement with your children. When you were told go to bed without any dinner for some bad behavior and you hated it, then do things so your kids don’t resent you later on.
Raising children isn’t about being right or wrong. It’s about teaching them to be independent thinkers. Punishing your own kids how you were chastised may not make your kids self-sufficient in the way you want them to be.
Recognize the Behavior
Just like any dilemma, the first order of business is recognizing there is a problem. In my own children, I realized early on the behaviors and lessons I imparted on them that hurt their feelings. Usually that’s not a smart way to go.
When I learned what I was doing was detrimental I then had to figure out where it came from. Many of us get behaviors from our own parents and after talking to my mom and dad about what they did for my siblings and myself, I became more acutely aware of my own parenting style and made changes accordingly.
Many baby boomers such as my parents didn’t have any parenting manuals or how-to guides. Now there are educational resources everywhere including books, videos and valuable Internet resources. If you’re stumped about what to do in avoiding your parents’ mistakes there is plenty of source material to find.
When looking for a viable book to read or other source, one thing to consider is the author’s credentials. Is this person a parent and a psychologist, or just someone with an opinion? Does this person spend a lot of time with children in a formalized setting as well as have kids of their own? Depending upon the source you consult, you can pick up valuable insights into the minds of children and how to raise them.
Your education doesn’t have to end with books. You can even go so far as taking parenting classes from qualified teachers in your area.
One final piece of advice is to remember everyone’s human. You don’t have to be the Man of Steel or Wonder Woman to be a great parent. There is no way you will be able to teach your kids everything on this planet–prioritizing what your children learn is part of being a parent.
Arming yourself with the correct knowledge about your situation is one thing you can do to help your journey as a parent. Remember to take time your for yourself and recognize your limitations and you’ll be just fine raising children.