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It's possible to parent differently to your own parents

(11 Posts)
GoingSlowly Thu 26-Jan-17 17:12:49

My MIL believes that people who had bad childhoods will repeat the mistakes their parents made with their own children. She did a childcare course in the 1970's, where I'm sure she learned this, and she absolutely clings to that view.

I told her that my parents used to hit me when I was a child and she replied saying that she thinks people who were hit as a child 'have something in them' and 'just can't help themselves' - that they will slip up and do the same to their own kids, even if they don't want to. She tries to catch me out - asking me questions to see if I would 'abuse' my children.
She also holds similar beliefs about other behaviours.

Perhaps I am unusual, but when I was about 8, I remember looking objectively at my alcoholic abusive Dad, and selfish manipulative mother, and drawing the conclusion that THEY were the ones in the wrong, who were only human and had issues. I made a choice to be different to them. And throughout my life I've managed to stick to that, and do things my own way. My parenting style is very different.

I find it hard to get my head around how she can be so sure that people just turn out to be carbon copies of what went before them. I am intelligent, educated and moved away from home, experiencing lots of things throughout my life. Surely an inteligent individual can objectively assess a situation and make a life choice that is different to their upbringing. I feel she is suspicious and untrusting of me, just because of my past, which is unfair.

AllTheWittyNamesAreGone Thu 26-Jan-17 17:14:14

She's a knob, ignore her and her fucking idiotic views.

NoncommittalToSparkleMotion Thu 26-Jan-17 17:15:34

I'm not a parenting or childcare expert, but even I know that research and studies have evolved since the 70s.

In short, your mil is wrong.

GoingSlowly Thu 26-Jan-17 17:18:22

I've just read that back, and not at all suggesting that people who hit their children are not intelligent!! Meant my MIL needs to open her eyes to the possibility that people can change/learn, etc.

Chottie Thu 26-Jan-17 17:20:51

Just nod and smile and do your own thing.....

I am a MiL and would not dream of offering unwanted and unasked for parenting advice

FadedRed Thu 26-Jan-17 17:21:44

Of course she is talking complete bollocks.
Suggest you stop sharing any important and personal stuff with her and stick to mundane, everyday things that you don't care what her opinions of are.

GoingSlowly Thu 26-Jan-17 17:25:46

Chottie - I get unwanted parenting advice off her all the time.
Usually it begins with the phrase 'I'm really worried about.......' and because she is 'so worried' she expects us to change what we do. Usually its ridiculous things like - I'm worried that the baby food blender can't be washed out properly and may contain some contaminated water inside it. So I think you need to throw it away and get a new one.

picklemepopcorn Thu 26-Jan-17 17:25:48

Well done you for having broken the cycle! How old are your children?

She has an element of truth, in that damage done to children before a certain age is very hard to repair. An elemental part of the brain takes over when you are under pressure, and it bypasses your higher thinking skills. All the good intentions in the world can fly out the window when you are overtired, over stressed, and have just had your nipple bitten to a blood drawing point.

It isn't inevitable at all, and what she is doing isn't helpful for you. Can you turn it around and recruit her support in some way? She wants to keep you all safe, I suppose.

MalletsMallets Thu 26-Jan-17 17:31:20

I parent the absolute opposite to my parents. It's like I had lessons in how not to be a mum.
i think in the 70's people did tend to parent as they were parented, partly due to more family involvement, generally living nearer. You couldn't go on mumsnet for advice, you'd ask your mum / friend.

yomellamoHelly Thu 26-Jan-17 17:36:23

My eldest really pushed me for years with his behaviour. When he was about 18 months- 2 years I came within a gnat's breath of smacking him and then realised what I was doing. I parent very differently to how I was brought up. Deliberately. Probably takes more energy than if it comes naturally from the off, but it does get easier once you've figured out a way through it all. Can see how you might mirror the way you were brought up if you had no issues with it.

Keeptrudging Thu 26-Jan-17 17:42:13

I had a brutal childhood. Like PP, it was clear that parents were wrong and my parenting manual was 'do the opposite'. I've never hit my children, they've had lovely childhoods, I consider it a very healing experience to have been able to break the cycle.

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