(Photo by Anita Peppers)
“Let’s raise children who won’t have to recover from their childhoods.” Pam Leo
That quote really got my mind working this morning. I took a moment and reflected on my own childhood and it really is true. I was raised by my grandparents and I understand that their ways were the “old school” ways but to this day I still have a lot of emotional issues based on the methods of discipline and lack of approval I received as a child. I still have a lot of baggage that I have carried since childhood but over the years I’ve been getting a lot better about letting it go and not allowing my past to dictate what happens in my future. A couple of things DO still bother me to this day and as nervous as I am about it for the sake of knowledge and information that may help other children I wanted to share them with you:
– My grandfather always commented on my weight and put me down because I wasn’t a thin girl and I have always been self-conscious about my weight and my looks, no matter how many times my husband tells me I’m beautiful I’m always secretly rolling my eyes, wishing I could believe it for myself.
– I was punished as a child by spanking. There was a leather strap that laid on a table in the dining room and my brothers and I always had to walk by it. Every time we got in trouble the strap was picked up and we went to our rooms, crying and sore. That made me grow up with quite a temper and lifelong resentment to authority that I always have to work hard to control. I thank my daughter every day for being here because she helps me to see the world so differently.
I grew up constantly questioning myself and my abilities and I never feel I have the confidence to do everything I have dreamed of doing, mainly because growing up I was never told that I had the ability to do anything I wanted if I wanted it bad enough. It took me years of self-discovery, books and the support of my amazing and caring husband to convince myself that I AM worth the risk because I want my life to be full of wonderful moments, memories and I don’t want to leave this earth with a laundry list of regrets.
Because I was raised that way I swore to myself that I would never treat my child like that and I would raise her the opposite way. I will not use fear to get her obedience and I will not put my child down because I don’t see perfection. My daughter just turned three and I love that when she is having a tantrum and pushing my buttons the situation always ends with a hug and a moment of peace than a scared confused child who doesn’t understand why mommy was so cruel to her.
It breaks my heart that every day there are so many children who are growing up with families that will set these kids up for a future of uncertainty and self-esteem issues, mainly due to the fact that parents aren’t armed with the proper information that could help them to guide children through their youth, instead of controlling their decisions, using unnecessary punishments to get their points across, yelling more than talking and not providing the protection from certain situations that could make or break a child’s self-esteem. So many young spirits are broken and that pain will haunt them and affect the decisions they make for the rest of their lives. The worst part is that all of this can be prevented with a little knowledge, support and a better understanding from the child’s perspective.
I know there are a lot of parents who say that they were spanked as children and they grew up better because of that form of discipline. Everyone is different and everyone raises their children differently. I’m not trying to start a debate about spanking, I just wanted to write about my view on the subject because I went through it and that was how spanking affected me. In the end I just want every parent to know that their children are beautiful, special and full of so much potential. Love them with all your hearts and do everything in your power to give them the best start in their lives. Every parent has their own ways of doing this and in the end if you know in your hearts that you’re doing everything you can possibly do to ensure the best future for your children, then that is MORE than enough.
We are all born with a blank canvas and it’s up to the parents to paint the proper background so that the children can then complete the picture and grow up to become confident, empathic, responsible and grateful adults who will make a difference in this world. If we fail to put maximum effort into our children and to go the extra mile to do the right things for them instead of the more convenient “this will put an end to this for now” mindset, everyone wins and the family is much more secure and trustworthy of one another and that, in my opinion makes for the perfect future for everyone.
Do you have baggage from your childhood and has that affected your parenting for the better? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below. Your input may help other parents looking for advice or information.
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