Are you noticing similarities between your parenting style and your parents parenting style?It’s extremely common to parent in similar ways as your parents did.
Having children of your own can provide an amazing opportunity to personalize and modify the narrative of your family’s emotional legacy. We as parents do the best we can with what we know and within the context of our life experiences. Our parents did as well.
As parents, we can take on parenting consciously by assessing and creating an approach that works best for who we are and what we envision for our own family and its legacy.
Noticing and Changing Parenting Approaches That Don’t Align
How do you change course when you notice behavioral patterns, belief systems, thought processes, and relationship dynamics that are not in alignment with what feels right for you and your family?
What do you do when you find yourself playing out dynamics that you, yourself, are not wanting to model?
Well, you change course. Here is how:
- Prioritize: Identify and prioritize what you envision from and for your family.
- Get Clear: Take an honest look at where you are now, including any ineffective behavioral patterns, belief systems, thought processes and relationship dynamics you are currently displaying that are not in alignment with what you truly want.
- Take Action: Disrupt the unhealthy cycles that stand in the way of what you envision from and for your family and yourself, one at a time. I can help you with that.
As you take a closer look at how your parenting aligns with how you want to shape your family legacy, here are a few ideas to begin the alignment process:
Parent in the present
So often, we attempt to parent our children from a place of trying to recoup what we believe we lost from our own childhood.
Taking the time to get to know who the unique being that stands before you actually is will help you have a clear line to meeting them at and as the individuals that they are versus through the lens of our unresolved childhood issues.
Respect the Journeys
Parenting is a 24/7/365–with all aspects of yourself on the deck job–especially during the early years. But we have to remember that things aren’t always as personal as we sometimes are convinced they are.
It is so much more challenging than it looks from the outside and, from day one, consumes so much of our mental, emotional, and physical energy. In an instant we become people who are being and doing all of the things for another person. We bring to the table all that we have and exude everything we have upon them.
Then, they become teens and begin to exhibit the behaviors of people who are trying to figure things out. Many of us panic during this in-between stage and take very personally anything that they do as a check or demerit against our parenting ability.
I say this from experience…chillax.
They need guardrails, guidance, and boundaries need to be set, for sure. However, they are individuals having their own experience on their journey toward independence. They are your children but they are not you, even as they represent your family by their very existence.
Understand that they are figuring it out just like we’ve all had to. Trust yourself and the bounty of beautiful and best that you’ve poured into them. They are listening and watching, even when you don’t think that they are.
Set boundaries, even with yourself with regard to your children. You’ve had your journey and they are having theirs. Most of their choices (negative and positive) are their own and have more to do with their chapter of discovery than about you.
I know that is not easy to hear. But…Remember you as a teen? Or, perhaps, that is why you are panicked? If so, revert to point #1 above. Free yourself to parent in the present. 🙂
Model Respectful Communication
A lot of parents mistake authentic communication for disrespect. Teens and/or young adults mature to having opinions of their own and their own perspectives on things that have occurred within the family.
I’m there with you, parents. Passionate perspectives can be hard to hear when you are in the throes of doing the best you can for your family while also navigating the sometimes challenging landscape of adult experiences, relationships, professional life, etc.
However, shutting them down because you don’t want to hear what they say is akin to having someone shut you down when you really need to be heard. It builds resentment and fuels an unsafe environment where authentic sharing is rejected, and that helps no one at all.
I’ve had some tough to hear conversations with my children throughout the years where I sat and listened to things that I did not feel comfortable hearing about the way some of my behaviors or choices landed for them, especially about the ways that their dad and I were misaligned and angry during our divorce.
Not easy at all and, like communication with anyone, authenticity and safe spaces open doors – wide for new beginnings and greater understanding.
Remember and Model Love
For those who were raised in an environment where anger was the home emotion, disagreement can become intense and rigid lines can be drawn.
Keep yourself focused on behaviors that need to be shifted versus making personal attacks on those you love. You love them. You know you love them. Make sure that they always know that you do too, even when you are unhappy about a choice or behavior that crosses a boundary or isn’t conducive to harmony in the home.
Again, the gift of raising another individual is a beautiful package that can sometimes be a lot to handle. Practice healthy self-care and forgiveness as the basis for the role and understand that parenting is more art than science, every day.
About the author: Lisane Basquiat is not only an entrepreneur but a community leader who leads with compassion and purpose.
Most recently, she led important conversation on social justice, mental and emotional health during crisis, and empowered action to repairing generational traumas through her platform and virtual programs via Shaping Freedom®