When parents are willing to reflect upon and release the old patterns of behavior that came from their childhood experiences, there is an opportunity to choose a more positive way.
For example, do you remember what happened when something you did made a mess? Were you reprimanded or was your parent empathetic and helpful? Were you expected to perform in a way that was greater than your age level.
If there was punishment, was it emotionally related such as isolation, shame, blame and name calling? Was your punishment physical? Imagine from your childhood perspective how it felt if you received threats or scary words from the person whose acceptance, love and protection you desired more than anything else in the whole wide world. Do you remember feeling afraid and uncertain? That kind controlling environment often leaves subconscious hurt within you, a feeling of unworthiness or lack of confidence. If you suffered trauma at the hands of an adult, I am sorry. You didn’t deserve that.
The fact is that parental behavior has an influence on a child’s behavior; it triggers a child’s behavior. If abusive language or behavior comes from the parent, the parent must hold oneself accountable as being a hurtful model. In return one can expect similar behavior to show up in their child. Only people who were hurt learn to hurt others. This kind of controlling environment often leaves subconscious hurt within you, a feeling of unworthiness or lack of confidence.
When you reflect on the past and decide who you wish to be now as an adult, then healthy behaviors can be learned and practiced. Adults must do their own healing and forgiveness work before they can become the positive model they wish to be for their children. Reflecting with the intention to know and to heal past pain can break old patterns of behavior. Make a list of your caretakers and teachers when you were growing-up and forgive them as needed.
Everyone does the best they know at the time. The wisdom of Maya Angelou tells us, “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”
Although the changes may be difficult, your willingness to change is a gateway to peace within yourself. It allows you to rise above your old story. “We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.” Maya Angelou
Were you raised with positive values, discipline, empathy, encouragement, explanations, introspective questions and opportunities to explore? Then subconsciously you gained a feeling of trust and confidence from this love-based way of parenting. It has numerous long-term benefits that I wish for every child.
Yes, there is a direct connection between how you were treated and how you treat yourself and others, especially your children. Take the time to be mindful of your past and take a leap of faith that with changes in your words and behavior, you can be a positive role model. Your changes will move you ever closer to “home sweet home”.
In Service to Moms and Dads,
P.S. In upcoming blogs, I will clearly define the difference between punishment and discipline and offer you ways of showing empathy in difficult situations. Understanding will add to your “home sweet home”.