Are our parenting skills set?
When I was in fourth grade my dad bought an expensive pair of walkie talkies. He let me use them for a few days and I accidently broke one of them. The only reason I remember this is because I was spanked and put in the corner for an hour, I was nine. My dad was the disciplinarian in our house. I’m not sure if it was because my mom didn’t want to or it was something they had worked out before I was born. When I was nine my parents had already divorced and seeing my mom on weekends was our normal.
I never knew how my grandparents were to my dad and aunts until later, and I understand the way he was to us now because of it. My dad and I haven’t talked in three years. I don’t see it happening and I’ve reached the point where I’m okay with that. I’m not okay treating my kids the way I was treated, and sometimes as a parent it just happens that way.
No matter how hard we try to break that cycle. In our house I’m the disciplinarian, that may come as a shock to my co-workers who see me as this Zen Buddhist type of dad, but I don’t think my wife wants the job.
My wife dealt with her parents fighting through different religious beliefs, something we haven’t had to deal with. Her parents are still married, though sometimes I’m not sure how they made it. My in-laws are crazy but I think everyone believes that, I know my wife does. Her mom was the disciplinarian, her father was more passive from what she’s told me.
Do we have to be like our parents?
Now I’m the parent. Things are different than when I was in school, teachers have their hands tied by a school system with no funding and a lack of caring from government. I don’t blame the teachers, I blame the district and the system. I felt my teachers cared, well except Mr. W. He was just a p.o.s., but that story is here.
My son is like me, he’s sensitive, he cares about a lot of things I didn’t think about. He’s inquisitive, he talks a lot. Some of this I can attribute to his ADHD some of it is just who he is. He does amazing things with Legos, things I never would have thought of at his age, and I loved Legos at his age. He is hard headed like his mom, he thinks before he speaks like his mom and sometimes he’s clumsy. But I know that’s who he is, just like my wife. I love my wife because she’s clumsy. It’s one of things I think everyone should have around them.
My parents started before they were eighteen, first with my older sisters then with me and my little sister. My dad ruled with an iron fist when we were kids, all of us were afraid of him, some still are. I believe not being around him has made me think about that more. I know not being around him has made me more calm.
I don’t like raising my kids the way I was raised. I don’t like doing things the way my parents did them. And I don’t want my kids being afraid of me the way I was of my dad. I try to be a good parent, sometimes I try a little too hard. I guess we all try and do things different. I didn’t have a great childhood, but who does?
When I looked into my son’s blue eyes for the first time, I saw myself. I knew the things my dad had put me through were gone and I could atone for what he’d done. I know the things I try and do with my son are because of the things I went through. We took a trip to the meteor crater near Winslow, AZ one year. This year we’re going to Chicago for the Cubs and Red Sox.
I ask my son where he wants to go every year and this year it’s Chicago. My dad took us places he wanted to go. I didn’t start doing the things I wanted to do until I stopped talking to him. Sometimes being free of someone makes you feel like yourself.
I feel like doing more for my kids. Things I didn’t get to do. I feel like my parents were too busy with their own lives to worry about us.
I want to do more. I want my kids to know I’m not too busy for them. Mom if you’re reading this, I already forgave you.
What makes you parent the way you do? Answer in the comments.