As our culture has evolved, and science has begun to shed more light on the effects of certain parenting methods and techniques, we are beginning to understand that a lot of our past tendencies weren’t exactly the right ones. Despite our understanding that our parents didn’t necessarily have the best methods, a lot of us carry these mistakes with us into our own parenting journeys.
Before you get defensive, hear me out. Yes, despite our parent’s mistakes, a lot of us did in fact turn out just fine. But, imagine if our parents had been equipped with the knowledge of how to not only make us turn out fine but if they had pushed us to become even better (in a healthy way, of course.) All I am saying is that as we grow and progress as a society, we are learning better ways to handle our children, in order to shape them into productive, empathetic, and whole individuals.
While most of us aspire to be better than our parents, it’s likely you are still carrying some of their bad habits with you into your life as a parent. Here are 6 mistakes from our upbringing that can influence our parenting style.
1. Playing ‘good’ parent, ‘bad’ parent.
Growing up, especially in the past, there was one parent who gave discipline and one parent who may have been more easygoing. While we might not intend to, it’s easy for us to follow these patterns. However, it’s best not to, because studies have shown that this can make things harder for both parent and child.
2. Projecting our goals onto our kids.
A lot of us grew up with parents who had major dreams and aspirations and who were either unable to accomplish them or accomplished them and wanted their kids to follow in their footsteps. Actually, just a few decades ago, if a child was raised in a family of lawyers, they were expected to follow that legacy. However, when you project your own goals, beliefs, etc. onto your child, you are completely overlooking the fact that they aren’t you. They are their own person, with their own gifts, ideas, etc.
And then in some cases, parents may come from a hard upbringing, in which they never had anything or in which their parents weren’t good to them. Much of the time, parents will overcorrect the bad things from their parents or childhood, by giving into their kids too often and overindulging them. You might think “I never got any toys as a child, so I’ll never say no to my kid.” But the thing is- when you give into their every whim, which is the other extreme, this isn’t good for them either.
4. Expecting perfection.
When our parents expect perfection from us, there is a high likelihood that we will expect the same from our kids. Unfortunately, this is a really tricky game to be playing, because perfection is not possible. Your kids will never feel like anything they do is enough if you expect them to be perfect, because spoiler alert, perfection is impossible.
5. Putting yourself last.
Let me say this real loud for those of you in the back: you cannot pour from an empty cup. It’s perfectly fine to want to do everything you can for your kids. But you can’t give them that if you are constantly stressed and exhausted.
As humans, we tend to do what feels natural or comfortable to us. As a parent, you may have sworn not to turn into your mother, but yet here you are yelling at your kids with the same phrases and pitch as your mother did to you. Why do we do this? Oftentimes, we unconsciously recreate themes from our childhood, because it seems familiar. If your parents typically were more closed off and less likely to discuss emotions, you might struggle with avoidance as well. It’s definitely something to be mindful of.