I had the thought: parents do well if they can. It all depends on resources, awareness, education, and past conditioning. If nothing much changes from generation to generation, most parents will just parent similar to how their parents did. In this regard, I have come to understand no one really is to blame.
Blaming my parents for my pain and disfunction is something that I’ve done. I’ve also noticed I’m not the only one. So I wanted to share some thoughts on it.
There are things my parents did that I choose not to do with my children. I would consider some of those things not to be best practices. I feel lucky, aware, and free enough to choose something different. Nowadays we know so much more about childhood development and parenting. I live in a different place, a different time, with different ideas, different social milleau, and different opportunities.
Even with these apparent advantages that I have over my parents, I’m still not so confident that I have this parenting thing figured out. I know that some of the things that I have done, or still do, are not best practices. I know my children might look back and think the same.
Am I a better person than my Mother or Father? Was I born a superior being? I don’t think so. Given the same set of circumstances, I’m sure I would have parented very similarly to them. A dose of humility is needed here.
I know for many people there is pain and confusion that lingers from their childhood. I’m not trying to downplay that reality. And it’s not to say that we can’t continue to strive, to do better. Humans will always strive for improvement. But we have to have some perspective and understanding when looking to different times and/or places.
I simply wanted to point out the fact that most, if not all people, are good… including our parents. As a result, no grudges need to be held. Aside from not feeling very good, blaming and holding on to resentment generally does not allow us to move through our own pain.
Blaming leaves us stuck in a negative cycle. Although tempting, it does not serve us and doesn’t not contribute to our growth. It’s the difference between a fixed and growth mindset. It’s the difference between being stuck and moving on.
I’m not suggesting that you ignore difficult parts of your childhood. On the contrary, working through these difficult feelings, processing the hurt is what I would recommend. Because, believe it or not, it’s actually understanding and forgiveness that set us free. If people (or parents) do harm, I believe they do so from an unaware, hurt, or misguided place. Who else would harm another?
I feel lucky to be living in a time and a place where there seems to be more choice and empowerment around parenting. There is more acceptance around being different in general. I’m grateful for that. And I’m grateful for my parents; for the guidance, support and love that they did give me. If I’m the product of their parenting, they must have done somethings right. I am here after all. And I have love in my heart. So, thank you Mom and Dad. I am grateful.