By Sophie Barcant, BA (Psyc), B.ED. Trainer, Facilitator, Parenting Coach/Consultant.
Q: When I talk to my children, I say the same things my mother told me. What’s going on?
Some of us carry our wounds and scars from childhood into our present-day parenting styles.
We all process negative emotions differently and we have different levels of sensitivity. When we have a more sensitive nature we tend to be more deeply scarred by losses, moderate neglect, conflict, abuse and dysfunctional parenting.
Others who are less sensitive, who have a more resilient disposition or a positive mindset and are eager to work on themselves, are less likely to be as deeply scarred. They manage to parent their own children in a positive, calm manner without anger, manipulation, over control or guilt.
Most parents are devoted to their children and were raised themselves, by devoted parents. Devoted as in following the parenting norms of the time, doing the best they did with the knowledge and role models they had.
No one seeks to deliberately neglect or harm anyone or fail at anything. It is just human nature that we scar our children, as so much of parenting, like every relationship, happens outside of our conscious awareness.
Dr Laura Markham of AHA parenting confirms this: “The truth is that virtually all of us were wounded as children, and if we don’t heal those wounds, they prevent us from parenting our children optimally.”
If there’s an area where you were scarred as a child, you can count on that area causing you grief as a parent—and wounding your child.
Have you heard yourself correcting your child and hearing your own parent’s voice coming out of your mouth? It’s a shock, isn’t it? What about addressing your own spouse and hearing your parent address your other parent? This is proof of how much we are controlled by our subconscious.
The good news is that being parents gives us an opportunity to heal ourselves. Most parents say that loving their children has transformed them: made them more patient, more compassionate, more selfless. Loving our children helps us to heal those unloved places inside.
In fact, our children have an unerring ability to show us our wounded places. They draw out our unreasonable fears and angers. Most of us run from this hard inner work, but what better motivation than our love for our children? Almost magically, as our wounds transform, we find that these hurt places inform, motivate, and make us better parents—and happier people.
So how can we heal our own scars, to become the parents our children deserve? As God’s children, we turn to Him first and foremost asking Him for mercy and grace. Our God heals and much healing can be had in talking to a priest and bringing our baggage to the confessional.
Resentment and unforgiveness have power over us that unavoidably impact our behaviour. Let’s seek deliverance from them. Our guardian angels are real; ask them to guide you to counsellors or courses to help you work through the wounds and pain.
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