Non-automated parenting – Our parents’ influence on child raising
Have you ever caught yourself saying something to your child that you swore you never would, because your parent said it. Eg. “Just do it because I said so!” or “You’re so lazy/hopeless/mean!”
If we don’t think about the parenting methods that our parents used with us, we are fairly likely to repeat a lot of the words and actions that they used, when we are raising our own children. This could be good or bad or somewhere in between.
It’s really sensible to think carefully about the positive and negative aspects of the efforts made by our parents or carers. By doing this, we can parent in a more conscious, effective and conscientious manner.
Did your parents help you to feel better about yourself most of the time?
Did they encourage you to do as much as you could on your own, so that you felt empowered and capable?
Did they give you what you wanted most of the time, or did they give you what you truly needed?
I am not suggesting this reflection, in order to put our parents down or in their place, but rather to operate on a more considered and educated basis with our own children.
My own parents valued honesty, reliability and punctuality. They also wanted us to learn as much as we could about a great number of subjects.
Our parents and carers most probably loved us and wanted what was best for us. Some parents, however, used a style of parenting that focused on obedience, rather than respect, equality, co-operation, self-discipline and so on. Some parents weren’t sure what to do, or became overwhelmed with the task of bringing up youngsters, and did what was easiest for them, without necessarily being aware of their children’s needs and level of development.
Most parents, in my opinion, do a lot of things well, and have a few traits which could be improved on, for the sake of the child.
Remembering how we felt at certain pivotal moments, can help us to decide how we will treat our own offspring. Eg. If we were punished severely, or conversely, if we were made to feel unique and special.
Comparing our parents to other parents or carers, can give us some insight into what is worth keeping in our repertoire, and what is worth discarding.
Keeping up to date by learning more about parenting styles, methods and the changes that have occurred in history, will help us to refine our own child-rearing. Child developmental stages can similarly be understood with some education from books, media or talking with parenting experts.
It’s wise to think about the type of adults we want to raise, and the skills we will need in order to do the best by our children.
If you react or feel strongly about something your child is doing or not doing, it may be related to your own experience growing up. You may wish to modify, or completely change your expectations or attitude to his or her behaviour. Eg. If you were made to finish your main course before you could have dessert, you may find yourself expecting the same from your children. Your spouse or partner may have been raised to eat as much as he wanted on the dinner plate, and then have dessert. If the two opposing views are discussed and negotiated by the parents, a better, more conscious child rearing plan can develop, which is likely to greatly benefit the children.
It is worth thinking about the style and methods of our own, and other, parents and carers so that we can parent from awareness and learning, rather than having a casual attitude based on automated parenting. It is important for us to decide on the values we will teach our youngsters, the kind of adults we wish to raise, and the experiences we had that were detrimental or valuable to us. Conscious positive change can be challenging, but is definitely favourable.