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Generational Break: Part 1

Tuesday, October 16, 2018


Have you ever thought you were becoming your mother? It's that moment- you do or say something as a parent when you think, it's happening. One of my biggest insecurities in having children, aside from general fear of the unknown, was that I was going to pass on some of the less than ideal aspects of my childhood.


Every generation of parents tries to do it better. Isn't that what we're told and what we're expected to do? Our one big mission- make our kids' lives better than ours was. But what if we don't? Or what if they have better clothes, the best schools, and do every activity under the sun- but what if the yelling or hitting creeps from one generation to the next?

When my husband and I started talking about raising a family, I was very honest with myself. A lot of the negativity in my family, I turned inward, and blamed myself for. I was raised to please my parents rather than do my best. Sometimes, my best wasn't good enough. Unfortunately, I took many of these feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem well into my 20s. I sought therapy and worked really hard on changing my inner voice- but I also made a steadfast commitment to my (future) kids. They would never pay the price, that I did, for parents that were most likely dealing with their own feelings of being less than. Hindsight is 20/20 and while time does heal all wounds, sometimes we are left with ugly scars. How do we do better for our kids- not with clothes and schools (although that counts, in some respect), but with making the home and the family a safe, accepting place where kids strive to truly do their best rather than please us?

For a long time I thought I was in the minority. I thought my friends all had ideal families, filled with hugs, positive reinforcement, all the good stuff. And now I think that's really wrong. What if most of us are wounded? What if most of us are dealing with the demons of our past and what if we're unsure how to protect our kids? We are deep into the next generation, my nieces and nephews are about to be teenagers. But it's never too late to do better.

Did you ever compare your family to your friends? Did you ever have playdates at your friends house and think, oh man, I wish my family was like this? How did that make you feel? What do you wish you had more of as a child? I am going to do some more research and come up with some solutions for tackling this issue. I whole heartedly believe that the first step is self-awareness. Believe me, just because your childhood was rough, abusive, whatever, doesn't mean it has to continue. I read a book called The Childhood Roots of Adult Happiness; Five Steps to Help Kids Create and Sustain Lifelong Joy by Dr. Edward M. Hallowell. Dr. Hallowell is a clinical child psychiatrist and he describes how he had a crazy childhood (his father was committed to a mental health facility when he was young) but he made a conscious effort to raise his children differently and you can too. Everyone can. Check back next week for a follow-up to this post on HOW we can do better, and what steps we can take. Please feel free to comment with any thoughts, ideas, etc.


3 comments:

  1. Identifying emotional triggers and realizing when they happen, could help someone break the cycle of toxic behavior and habits. Maybe a small tip for those that don’t want their past to creep in on their today!? Xoxo

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    1. I like that! And is a great next step for self awareness that things need to be better. Thank you for your comment <3

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