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to think that UK born "children" suffering identity crisis...

(23 Posts)

...and struggles with themselves should be recognised when considering mental health problems that may be affecting them now as adults when it comes to parenting themselves, especially when their experiences as a child have been governed by the way their parents may have been treated or were raised in their home country?

DustyBaubles Wed 19-Feb-14 21:54:08

How do you mean?

Hi Dusty, I have two parents who come from traumatic backgrounds, both who came to England in the 60's/70's and have very little or confused knowledge of their backgrounds and which had a great effect on their parenting, which in turn has in sorts impacted on mine, so it was just a query on that really.

PosyFossilsShoes Wed 19-Feb-14 22:01:38

Is this a Turing test?

Thetallesttower Wed 19-Feb-14 22:05:07

Lots of people had very traumatic lives around the Second World War for example and I do think it has a trickle down effect on the next generation- whether it be individuals who feel the effects of not having a father there (many women widowed) or someone in the family suffers ongoing problems (which were hidden then) or whether it's just at the societal level in that the 60's and 70's were a reaction to all that.

I don't think you are daft for wondering this. What is it about your parents' parenting that makes you think they were affected by their traumatic upbringing (which for sure can impact their mental health or sense of identity/stability later on)?

DustyBaubles Wed 19-Feb-14 22:07:10

Well, I have no first hand experience of such things, but I'd have thought that anyone seeking MH treatment would have their background taken into consideration.

Isn't that kind of the point?

I mean if you have schizophrenia or something, you will need drugs, no question.

On the other hand, the sort of MH issues that respond to talking therapies, are all about exploring relevant issues, aren't they?

HanSolo Wed 19-Feb-14 22:08:08

Norty posy- you made me spurt my tea! grin

seeking- is it possible to speak with your parents about what happened in their lives/home country, to try and make sense of it, and work through it? Are they still alive?

There are lots of people on here who want to parent in different ways from their parents, so you'll find lots of advice on this, but the issue with understanding your roots is probably more difficult to discuss, due to people not sharing the same ancestry, perhaps.

Posy have just had to google that as not a clue what it was, but no. It's just me on a path to self-discovery and wondering whether the issues with my parents and their past are a contributing or non-contributing factor to the issues I have as a parent/person now. Reading back now my OP reads like a press release so poo troll, naice ham, greggs sausage roll & fruit shoot (though tbh I actually like a GSR now and again or a chicken bake if the mood takes me).

AwfulMaureen Wed 19-Feb-14 22:13:17

Trauma can echo down the generations for sure. It's a "thing" in Australia with the Stolen Generation. The Grandchildren of those children are still suffering the effects.

AwfulMaureen Wed 19-Feb-14 22:14:32

I should elaborate...The Stolen Generation were Aboriginal children who were forcibly taken from their parents and put in children's homes to be raised in a way which would be acceptable by the white they were uprooted and removed from not only their parents but their own culture.

Thetallesttower Wed 19-Feb-14 22:16:47

Steak bakes all the way.

I think the thing is, undoubtedly your parents experiences will have moulded them, but I don't think it's a simple as 'they experienced trauma, they are damaged by this'- lots of people who have traumatic early lives go on to be good parents and not pass this forward, I think it depends on the trauma, on the individual and so on.

There may also be issues of your parents being one identity and you being another, or not being sure of yours, and again, I'm sure that's common amongst the British born generation of foreign parents. My children are mixed heritage and it would be surprising if there weren't identity issues along the way, although again I don't think it is relevant for everyone.

The poster that said could you ask them about it asks a good question- could you discuss this with them? Do you know much about what happened in the past? Do you identify with their culture? I think it very much depends on what is the past and what is the culture- there may be others out there in a similar positions on 'tinternet if you google a bit.

PosyFossilsShoes Wed 19-Feb-14 22:18:19

grin Your second post made more sense to me seeking, it was just the first one I couldn't follow.

There was a paper published in the US (goes googling... here it is) about the impact on parenting of being a refugee - I don't know if that's relevant to your situation but it's here if you're interested:

I totally understand posy's q so not you are not naughty at all, even if you do make people spurt their tea! My mum grew up in a convent school aged 5-16 and does not know to this day who her biological father was, my dad's mum died when he was little and grew up in an abusive household as the youngest boy. They have never known family life as a child, were raised by the state in their countries, and as such struggled to parent themselves.

HanSolo Wed 19-Feb-14 22:31:12

We have friends that are both orphans, orphaned very young, and raised by the state in institutions from about age 6. Their children are adults now, but they have been fantastic parents, possibly because they know what children need (love, nurturing, boundaries etc), had understanding of each's childhood, and knew what not to do IYSWIM. Their children are lovely, kind, warm, genuine, empathic young men.

I think it is possible to move past a traumatic childhood, and be a good parent providing you have a solid idea about what constitutes good parenting. I say this from personal experience smile

bochead Wed 19-Feb-14 22:32:46

Traditional West African cultural old wives tale says that it takes 7 generations for the scars to heal from a murder/suicide/war.

I actually think that it's not far off the truth having spent some time in Algeria - the scene of a horrific war for independence.

However I also think there is a modern tendency for grown arsed adults to navel gaze and blame the parenting they received as children instead of owning responsibility for their own actions. We need to stop the march of the "kidult" in it's tracks before our society implodes.

I'm not saying minimising how hard it is get over childhood trauma, I'm just saying that I have noticed that some survivors of abuse etc make a conscious choice to be the best parents they can be when their turn comes around, even if they have to beg for outside help in order to do so. That's a stance that demands my total respect and admiration.

Thanks posy, yes, my nan had mum at 16 and father sought work in England and asked for nan to join him but this was refused as he was below their station so mum raised by aunts and sent to convent at 5 when nan went on to marry and have other children. Same as dad's family, nan married into family below their station so family rejected then when paternal nan died.

bochead I totally agree with you but think I went the other way and totally overcompensating and I am in the balance of readdressing that now.

TeWiSavesTheDay Wed 19-Feb-14 22:39:49

We have these kind of issues in my family. I did talk them through briefly in therapy, but not as much as I thought I would before I started iyswim.

Good luck.

TeWi exactly, I had kind of brushed over these things I had picked up on as a child but I have realised that, rightly or wrongly, consciously or subconciously, they have affected me as an adult and a parent as I didn't want my DC to feel the same way.

AwfulMaureen Wed 19-Feb-14 22:46:42

boch I do agree with you...well put.

TeWiSavesTheDay Wed 19-Feb-14 22:54:57


Some of it - my Dad lost his dad vvery young, and ny Mum her mum. I used as "well they didn't have a parenting example" and I still kind of think that is true. But when it comes to me and my kids I know what I don't want, and I know what is important to me, so I concentrate on those.

That was an important moment for me, to think you don't need a positive example to protect your Kidd and treat them nicely and make sure they know they are loved.

I don't know if that's helpful or not!

But I started to position myself as my kids greatest champion, and if that meant being strict with people I'd previously given slack because of their childhood then that was fine.

TeWiSavesTheDay Wed 19-Feb-14 22:57:09

I let go of the idea of never negativelyeffecting my kids as well. I hope it won't happen, but no one is perfect and you can never know...

Alisvolatpropiis Wed 19-Feb-14 23:35:54

I think I know what you mean.

Not so much in my own family but in my dp's.

I wonder how much of who he is, positive and negative traits alike, is because of the childhood he had at the hands of his mother who herself had a traumatic childhood.

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