Turning into our parents

It is generally understood that we may eventually turn into our parents, unless of course, we consciously choose to opt out.

It’s common when we’re young to emulate, even want to be like our parents, particularly if our parents are good role models. Children look up to their parents because it’s what they know. For the children whose parents get the parenting thing right that’s great, but what about the rest of us? If the latter turns out to be true then unconsciously we need to make a conscious effort not to turn into our parents.

In a child’s formative years, it’s not always easy for that child to consciously make the connection of what goes on around them, but as they grow they become more aware of the role that their parents and siblings play in their lives. It would be difficult not to eventually see it, as over time those things become more obvious.

Changing anything needs to be a conscious effort, because it’s far easier to unconsciously react, than it is to consciously change bad patterns. Any pattern we fall back into is usually an unconscious reaction. When we lack self-awareness we become less aware of any negative patterns or traits.

In family scenarios, it becomes too easy to lose track of the desire to behave differently, even though on an unconscious level we know that is exactly what we need to do. If you’re a parent who grew up with a parent constantly yelling and your child does something to trigger that unconscious emotion, your first reaction may be to yell at that child.

It’s important to stop and control our actions so that we consciously choose to change a response at any given moment. Even if our parents were ineffectual, controlling, neglectful and non-attentive, we have a choice not to be those things.

Once we change one response, we can change other responses too, use our own examples and not those of our parents. We consciously make a change.


20 Mar, 2016

4 thoughts on “Turning into our parents

  1. One thing I am determined to do is never to turn into my parents, which I think I am likely to achieve as my parents never really parented me; whereas I see myself as a committed and dedicated parent.

    The real test is whether my children don’t want to turn into me when they’re older!

    1. Thanks yes, even though we don’t always consciously make the connection, these thoughts are never unconsciously that far away.

      In an ideal world it would be lovely to see and think our parents as great role models, but from all of our experiences; that’s clearly not the case.

      I think it’s easy to copy and unconsciously I’m sure more of us emulate our parents more than we think, particularly certain character traits, but for that not to happen we have to consciously commit to change.

      How easy it is to repeat things our parents said to us to our own children. It doesn’t necessarily have to be something bad or life changing, but it’s there.

      I like to write blogs that incorporate what we think and feel and what’s true in our lives. I always look for understanding around that particular issue, so that I can do things better.

  2. My biggest fear was turning out to be like my parents but I did and so much worse! I kind of got a double whammy since I got the alcoholism from my Dad and mental health issues from my Mom.

    They obviously never dealt with their issues, so they ever so graciously passed them on to us. I have spent most of my life trying to distance myself from those demons, only to have them drive me truly mad.

    I was doing very well after my daughter was born, but even that wasn’t enough to make me feel normal. I still hated myself for mistakes I had made trying to make everyone else happy which never worked.

    My parents never even acknowledged the damage they did, which didn’t help. They made us feel guilty, without probably even knowing it, about us not taking care of them and their issues, when it’s supposed to be the other way around!

    We were reminded on pretty much a daily basis, of the fact that they only got remarried so we wouldn’t be split up and put into foster homes.

    They always acted like they did us such a huge favor, when I felt like I would have rather been put in a foster home,or even better, never have been born at all. I felt like I was such a burden to them that it isn’t any wonder that I have no self esteem or confidence.

    Needless to say, I may have won some of the battles, but eventually I lost the war against the demons they had saddled me with. I never wanted to be like either of them but I ended up in the same type of relationship with a woman who refused to deal with her issues the same way.

    I could have fought for custody of my daughter, but not knowing how to stand up to her, I mistakenly allowed my daughter to stay with her, which haunts me to this day.

    My resentments against her mother, led me down a dark path that has taken 20+ years to finally come back from. I’ve finally had to accept all the parts of me, even the good, the bad and the ugly!

    Once again, I find myself feeling like I have to explain every little thing to justify my feelings. I wasn’t allowed to have any, or at least I wasn’t supposed to, so it’s no wonder I’m always confused.

    I never wanted to be anything like them, but they burrowed themselves so deeply into my psyche that it isn’t any wonder why I did a lot of the same things.

    They didn’t teach us much more than to run away from our problems and pretend like everything was great at home. I can’t pretend like that anymore since I do have a mountain of my own issues to deal with.

    I just want to be able to be myself and the kind of father my daughter deserves to have!

    1. Thanks Randy. Winning some of your battles is good, small steps and significant ones.

      Yes any bad parenting tends to leave it’s mark on us in the way you suggest and would be enough for us not to want to copy or turn into our parents, but we have to do that consciously and continue to consciously think about and change things.

      From your responses on the Diary Randy, I believe you changing things and have come further than you think. We don’t always see how far we come ourselves. It normally takes other people to show us.

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