Hello - I come from a massively dysfunctional at times emotionally absuive family and for me parenting has been an enormous challenge - trusting myself to do the right thing, catching myself so as not to repeat past patterns, worrying endless if I am a good enough parent... anyone out there feel like this?
Yes. This is why I use parenting books (not always to the letter but to get ideas).
It's also why I hate people slating those who use them - it's easy to be smug when you have good examples of parenting to follow. Common sense is not innate, innate, it's stuff you learnt unconsciously from a young age mostly from examples. If your examples were shit then you don't have them to follow.
It can be a struggle sometimes, and I do watch myself a lot to check my behaviour. One thing I have promised myself is that if my children come to me as adults to say I failed them, or I could have done better, I will apologise. Not deny it and say they were the ones that failed.
I try to make sure 1) I am preparing my children to have an independent adult life but with the strength and confidence that comes from being loved unconditionally.
2) I respect my children as having their own identity and a right to their own emotions, thoughts and feelings.
3) my children have a safe home and know I will protect them from harm, whatever the source. I will also seek medical or other treatment or support for them when necessary.
It is different from parenting than if you have decent parent(s) yourself - I think it requires much more conscious thought. I also think you at least need to firstly be conscious of and second have help to begin to deal with your issues.
I know I can't be a reactive parent, my reactions are wrong. I need to think and plan and feel in control.
hello Little tinkers and others, I think you must all be great mums! You are thinking about how to be a good parent, and wanting a better life for your own children.
People often talk about parenting instincts, but I think part of what we think is instinct is just doing the same thing that our parents did to us when we were children. There is a brilliant book on this topic called Parenting from the Inside Out by Dan Siegal, he says that 'we learn to parent when we are children.' It's hard work when we have had difficult childhoods, and have to learn a different way of parenting, but I think this actually gives us an opportunity to be BETTER parents, because we question everything rather than simply repeating what was done to us. This book is really useful, as it explains how when we get ' angry or stressed or exhausted by our kids, and have strong 'out of control, emotions, or reactions that it's because our past memories of how we were treated as children are being triggered. The book explains how actually talking about your own childhood, and releasing emotions about it, can help you to be able to parent with less negative emotions, when you have 'released the past' The book actually discusses research that says, if we able to tell our life story, then we don't need to repeat the mistakes of the past, that it's not what's happened to you, but whether you have overcome it, that determines whether you are a good parent or not.
I have found the Hand in Hand approach really helpful as well. They have this scheme called Listening partnerships which is completely free. You exchange listening time, (talking while another person offers you support) so that you can talk about present difficulties, and trace them back to the past, it really helps to be release stress, and think clearly so you can make good parenting decisions. And also just let go of all those negative feelings, that stop you from enjoying your children.
I might see if Amazon have that inside out - sounds interesting. I struggle to explain to some people why this stuff is not just innate 'common sense' when your parents didn't parent properly and I think it's because I don't understand it properly myself.