If you’re like most parents, at least once or twice a month you’ll hear a voice coming out of your mouth that doesn’t seem to be your own. Is that -- could it be -- I sound just like -- my parents!
As a child, you may have sworn that you’d never tell your kids, “Because I said so, that’s why!” Take comfort in knowing you're not alone. According to guest parenting expert Tanya Altmann, MD, a lot of our parenting practices are programmed into us by way of our own childhood experiences.
But that doesn’t mean you don’t have any choice in the matter. In some cases, maybe you sound like your mother or father because as an adult, you’ve realized that they were right. In other cases, maybe you’re automatically repeating practices of theirs that you don’t really want to repeat. How can you work to change that?
Altmann advises writing down a list of what your parents did that helped you become who you are today. Think about what aspects of their parenting style you want to continue for yourself as a parent, and what aspects of their parenting practices you want to leave behind. Be sure to also discuss parenting philosophy and practices with your partner, and at the very least, try to reach agreement on the biggest parenting issues and topics.
One mother writes that when she was a child, she thought she would always remember what it was like to be a kid. Now, she realizes that it’s harder than she thought it would be. She says that as she parents her own child, she tries to stop and think to herself, “If I were my child right now, how would I feel?”
How have the parenting practices of your parents affected the way you parent your own children? What similarities do you see as you parent your own children? Have you made any changes? Share your insights and experiences with the community.