Monday, June 13, 2011

When I'm A Parent...

Remember being about twelve years old and stomping off to your bedroom, slamming the door and dramatically falling on the bed proclaiming that you will NEVER EVER do that (whatever sin your parents just committed) to your own children?  Usually it was a punishment of some sort?

We'll discuss discipline at a later point.  What's on today's agenda is looking at how you were parented.

Admittedly not everyone experienced idyllic childhoods.  In fact, many of us had a mix of bad experiences haunting our childhood memories.  Build on it, whatever "it" is.  Your parenting style will be strongly influenced by how you were parented - good and bad.  From horrific abuse to the dramatic proclamations of unfair treatment, we are going to use those benchmarks of what will never be allowed to happen to our own children. 

While soap in the mouth isn't even a point of consideration for most people, I am to this day scarred by seeing my youngest brother choking on a flow of bubbles spewing from his mouth.  No matter what bad word could possibly fall out of one of my children's mouths I can guarantee that soap was never in my response possibilities.  Ever.

It seems we all have a few items that supply the "I never" list.  Surprisingly you might find yourself setting that list to the side and pissing off your inner twelve year old when you ground your child for an entire week.  We do that sometimes.  Keep evaluating your list because as you get older you'll start to see the wisdom in some of your parent's choices - are you willing to break that promise to yourself?  Sometimes it may be the best option on the table.

But these are the negative aspects, building the "I never" list, but what about the positive points?  We spend so much time focusing on the negative we seem to act like there aren't any positives to be found.  The truth is there are more positive points to be acknowledged and we tend to unconsciously replicate a great majority of dear ol' mom and dad's parenting styles.  Put some conscious effort into listing those positive traits, what do you plan to incorporate into your own parenting?

Mom and dad aren't the only source of parenting tips from our pasts.  Is there a close aunt or uncle?  Maybe it's your grandparents or a long-time babysitter or your best friends parents?  What memories do they instill?  What did they do that you would want to recreate for your own children?  Maybe you were raised with a close knot of cousins providing an endless stream of playmates.  What if you don't have any siblings or your siblings live far away?  Clearly having other children around is important so you should keep that in mind when you buy a house and keep an eye for children of similar age to your little bundle of joy. 

Keeping that list running will make you more aware of yourself as a parent.

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