In my last post, I wrote about why parenting when you were under-parented can be so hard. It’s harder because those of us who grew up in chaotic homes may want to raise our children in drastically different ways, which means we’re basically reinventing parenthood as we go along. In addition, we may be more likely to be triggered by our children’s challenging behavior, sending us down an emotional “low road,” which can lead to angry outbursts and out-of-control behavior—precisely what we were trying to avoid in the first place.
In this post, I’m going to offer some suggestions for how to move beyond our own difficult childhoods so we can become the parents we want to be. As you read this post, keep in mind that these are not easy tasks I am suggesting. They require time, hard work, and a lot of self-compassion for ourselves when we miss the mark (which we will do, just as every other parent does). I am still doing this work—with the help of a therapist, supportive friends and family, my meditation practice, and most importantly, ongoing reminders from my own children about why I am doing all of this.