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Do we ever leave Parenting?

Young Boy Being Tutored by His TeacherAs we start the New Year, I am continuing my series on Relationships. In this new section, the focus will be on families and parenting and the importance of being an integral part of your child’s upbringing.

In a busy world where more and more time is consumed in making a living, finding quality time to be with our children can be a challenge.

But whether you are a parent or a grandparent, this essential time spent with our families is vital to the health and wellbeing of our children and grandchildren, not only physically, but mentally and spiritually.

Families of Origin

We are a mixture of many things: our personality traits (our habitual patterns of behavior, thought, and emotion), DNA, where we were born, our position in the family, the culture we grow up in, all the experiences we have had, etc.

We are born with a set of personality traits that influence how we interact with the world. It is within our families of origin where we learn how to behave, what is acceptable and not acceptable and how we fit in the scheme of things.

It is within our families where we develop a sense of acceptance; feeling loved even when we misbehave. Without attention, structure and nurturing, we develop feelings of rejection and insignificance. When we are loved unconditionally, have appropriate boundaries with reasonable consequences, we are able to develop a sense of confidence to meet the challenges of the adult world.

How relevant and important is this?

What difference does it make to understand our beginnings? Our adult life is influenced by those early childhood experiences and the people who helped put in place our sense of the world and who we are in it.

Think back to your own childhood

  • What were your earliest recollections?
  • Who had a positive influence on you as you grew up? Who had a negative influence?
  • What would you change if you could go back? What would you want more of; or less of?
  • How do those early experiences continue to have an effect on you today?
  • What helped you become a responsible adult? What did you have to learn on your own that you were not taught?

As you reflect, keep in mind this isn’t a blame game on your parents or others. There is no such thing as a perfect parent. It is simply a way to begin to understand how your beginnings had an impact on who you are today.

As you understand your beginnings, you will be better able to discern what your children need; those things that don’t change no matter what day or age or generation you live in.

We influence one another at all stages of life

If you are a grandparent, you have an opportunity to have a positive effect in your grandchildren’s lives. As you share the wisdom, the errors and mistakes as well as positive outcomes you have gained from a lifetime of living with your children, you support them as parents. This sharing is not a dictate of what must be followed, but a sharing of support and love and understanding of the difficult task of parenting.

In my next post we will look at how unconditional love, appropriate discipline and grace can help our children grow up with values, self worth and dignity, and consideration for others as they become responsible adults.

Marlene Anderson

You can read my past blogs on relationships starting with June 2015.

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