“I turned out fine, didn’t I?”

The other day, I caught myself telling my son, “I told you so.” When we were younger, naïve and didn’t know better, we swore ourselves to never ever parent like our parents did. Before we became parents, that is. Soon enough, we found ourselves saying something and stopping mid-sentence, wondering why you were speaking your mother’s words. Hey, in our defence, we didn’t exactly realize just how effective empty threats are, especially to that two-foot tyrant running amok in the house: “if you do this one more time…” Erm, what? How exactly does that threat end? We never had to find out as kids and we hope our kids don’t step the invisible boundary into finding out either.

Even though we least expect it, our parenting is behaviour has been programmed into us through our own childhood experiences. More often than not, from a typical childhood, our parents’ influence in our parenting style can be a good thing. However, we need to realise that we have to adapt to changing times – our parents never had to deal with a child who would refuse to put away the iPad after a certain time.

We can pick and choose from experience which parenting values we would like to repeat, and which we’d rather not. Go through it in your mind or better still, make a list. What did they do that shaped you into the individual that you are today? Did they give you confidence, trust your instincts, let you learn for yourself, didn’t overprotect you, etc.?
It also doesn’t hurt to list the stuff that you didn’t appreciate. Maybe they were overprotective, didn’t let you have your space. Be what it may, being aware of this in a position where you can make a change is a powerful thing. You can rectify these issues with your own parenting style when it concerns your kids. Also bear in mind that yesteryear disciplining techniques are now considered inappropriate – for instance, we never considered getting a spank or two as abuse. But kids these days are taught otherwise.

Err on the side of caution. Create a new parenting benchmark for yourself and your child. Incorporate the best from your parents and put it in action in your own life. It’s also advisable for both parents to be on the same page so as to not set double standards for your child and confuse him.

The very reason you might be reading this could possibly mean that it is likely you had parents who did something right. And the phrase, “Just wait until you have kids!” never rang truer. It helps you understand where your parents were coming from even though it drove you crazy back in the day. Whether you follow what your parents did or digress, you get to make choices that someday your kids will hopefully understand and appreciate. While you’re at it, it’s never too late to appreciate or apologize to your own parents in light of your newfound respect for them!

So, how does your parenting style compare to that of your parents? Share what you’ve learned as a parent with the community.

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