One of the things that I have realized since I am a parent and a step-parent is that there are many, sometimes too many, factors affecting or influencing the relationship with my children. On one hand, every child is different, with unique combinations of abilities and needs that certainly affect our relationship with them. On the other hand, the way we were parented also significantly influences the way we view the world and how we come to parent our children. According to Drs. Tina Payne Bryson and Daniel J. Siegel, research has repeatedly shown that when parents offer repeated, predictable experiences in which they see and sensitively respond to their children’s emotions and needs, their children will prosper —socially, emotionally, relationally, and even academically. But, what is the secret for this?
Using your Past Experiences to Construct a New Future for Yourself and your Children
According to Drs. Bryson and Siegel, “The most important factor when it comes to how you relate with your kids and give them all those advantages, is how well you’ve made sense of your experiences with your own parents”. In my opinion, this is a very powerful sentence because although many of us are determined to avoid the mistakes that our own parents made, we often times follow in the same trap. How many times, did you tell yourself, “I don’t want to make the same mistakes that my parents made when I was a child” or “I am sounding like my mother (or my father) now”. According to the above mentioned authors, if you can make sense of the past experiences with your parents as well as understand your father’ or mother’s wounded nature, you can break the cycle of inherited non-desired parental behaviours. Of course, this may require hard work on your part, possibly even some help from a therapist. You will most likely need to deal with hidden or implicit memories that are doing their work on you without you even realizing it. Clearly, it will not be an easy or short process. But, if you can make sense of your memories and understand how they have influenced you in the present, you may be able to use this information to construct a new future for yourself, and for how you parent your children. As the authors said in their article, it is by understanding our own experiences and learning to tell the story of our childhood, the joys as well as the pain, we can become the kind of parent whose children are securely attached and connected to us in strong and healthy ways.