I still remember how my parents spent their time together exploding at each other. Fighting over the nastiest things and threatening to leave us every time we tried to intervene. Sometimes, they went to the extent of leaving us all by ourselves for days together to spend time with their friends.
It was back when we didn’t have mobile phones or access to the internet. My siblings and I didn’t have a way to reach them in case of an emergency. Even when we’d run out of food or when I injured myself badly after falling down the stairs, our parents were AWOL. It often made me think, what it was like to be a grown-up with kids and questioned if their parenting style was remotely healthy.
After years of contemplation and misery, when I was on the journey to motherhood, I promised myself that I’d do things differently. And rest assured, my kids have always felt secure with me.
The one thing most people yearn for is love, and our children are no different. And as they grow older, it gets down to understanding what makes them feel they’re understood and respected. Nobody gets it right all the time, and my children do share their disappointments. But since my idea of leading an eventful life and feeling liberated included my children’s happiness, we all did just fine.
If you’re among the lot that grew up in a dysfunctional family of sorts and are trying to be better parents, I’ve got you. Here’s a little something that helped me get by as a doting mother. And I’m sure you can map out a few things after giving it a read.
1. Don’t Let Your Past Affect Your Present
People often perceive life as they view it as a child. But letting your traumatic childhood take over you will only create an unhealthy environment for your kids, especially if you’re a new parent. Seek therapy if you suffer from PTSD or want to attempt to set yourself free from the burden of your troubling childhood. Once you’re on your way to self-acceptance and healing, you will fall in love with the idea of having a family of your own. All that you didn’t have when you were little, you can now.
2. Set Your Own Path As Parents
Your parents may not have got it right. But you don’t have to follow in their footsteps on how to parent. Create a new style of parenting that works for you and your children. There’s no one right way to healthy parenting, so you can find a balance between what makes you happy and what the best alternative should be. Once you make the switch to positive experiences, you’ll start enjoying the parenting journey.
3. Apologize To Your Children When You Make A Mistake
Being apologetic doesn’t come easy when bad parenting is on the cards. And since children take inspiration from how parents treat them and each other, ensure that you admit your mistake and apologize when you’re wrong. Just narrow in on how things didn’t go as planned or why you reacted loudly, and they’ll understand your viewpoint on the matter. Kids appreciate honesty and will learn to forgive once you address the issue.
4. Give Your Kids That Extra Time And Attention
There’s no point in rushing through life and expecting your children to hustle right from the beginning. Children give attention to detail, and so should you. It’s alright to be a little laid back and take time out for kids. An extended bedtime story or a movie marathon is likely to make your little one trust you more and build a stronger bond. All-in-all, spending quality family time together and discussing matters before making a conclusive decision is essential.
5. Take Time-Off Whenever You Feel Like It
Sometimes, the stress of parenting combined with other responsibilities can be too overwhelming. But you don’t have to fix things instantly. Whenever you feel like you need a breather, step out and do something that helps you think objectively. If all you need is a hot beverage and some reading time, go for it. It wouldn’t be wrong if you want to take a trip to get your mind off things either. Just don’t forget to talk to your kids before taking the leap, which is out of the ordinary. They’ll be supportive once they know what’s on your mind.
We all wonder how to be a good parent after a bad childhood. Let’s say the stepping stone would be to assure yourself that you’ll do things differently. After that, learning how to let go of the past will only push you to give your kids a healthy childhood and fond memories to cherish.