How Does Childhood Influence Parenting?
Childhood experiences shape many different areas of life. With parenting, it is your own experience as a child that is the biggest influencer. Those experiences lead to a unconscious choice how we parent.
Often, people adopt their parents' ideas about childrearing or vow to do the opposite because what they experienced in childhood was painful. Think about what kind of home you grew up in and what you learned. Our parents were our first role models for parenting.
Issues that impact parenting
- How did your family communicate? Was it okay to express yourself?
- How was conflict handled? If you had a problem, how was it handled?
- What happened when you got upset, angry, sad, or happy?
- If anyone in your family had an addiction or mental illness, how did that impact parenting?
- How did your parents express their emotions?
- Were there any symptoms of codependency in your family?
- What feelings, if any were considered acceptable?
- Were you physically hit, beaten, put down or called names?
Styles of parenting
Two common parenting styles are the Authoritarian and the Permissive. Some take an authoritarian approach where strict discipline and a desire for control is common. Another type is permissive where discipline tends to be relaxed and have minimal rules. Usually people relate to one style in particular.
Understanding ourselves as parents can help us make better choices. Take a minute to identify which style your parents had and which one you picked as an adult. Healthy parenting is usually somewhere in the middle of being authoritarian and permissive.
For instance, setting limits is a crucial part of parenting so that kids learn what behavior is acceptable. Giving kids limits choices so they develop decision making skills and feel some control (when appropriate) can teach them responsibility and self esteem.
Parenting is a rewarding, complex, and exhausting job. There are many great resources on parenting that can be helpful. Take a parenting class or read a book on positive parenting. Children do not come with instructions yet it is one of the most important jobs we have in life.