If you’re a parent, you’re likely to have heard the saying, “kids are a product of their parents’ upbringing.” This translates to kids having attitudes like their parents because that’s what they see from them.
I’ve seen power parents who manage to do it all and still raise good, decent human beings. While many parents, regardless of how much they try, can still raise brats. Most parents love to think they are always doing their absolute best. The thing is, not everyone has the ideal situation for raising kids, not to mention the different personality traits.
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My parents have 3 kids. Myself, of course, and my brothers. One is 2.5 years younger while the other is about 9.5 years younger than me. So yes, I’m their big sister.
Each of us was raised very differently. My parents were extremely strict with me. The middle child is mama’s boy, but dad was very hard on him, yet still spoiled him quite a bit. The third is a splitting image of my dad so he was the golden child and was VERY spoiled.
I was very mischievous as a child because I was always worried about getting in trouble for something. In fact, I was always made to think I was lying about everything. I think half the time, I really was.
I’m not going to go deep into my childhood, but I am going to talk about one of the most horrifying experiences parents could go through. It happened with the brother who wasn’t raised in an overly strict way or wasn’t the golden child but had the best of both worlds.
Teen years are probably the scariest parenting stage. You’ve got kids who are about to become adults and most of the time, they think they are already there. They don’t listen to reason, because they are always right and they know everything. To them, their parents “just don’t get it.”
I witnessed horror as my mom and dad scrambled to go backward and treat my brother in every way possible based on the advice others gave them. It was, “he needs tough love” or “just do your best to understand him” or “he needs professional help.” My parents did it all, but eventually, there was nothing they could do.
When a Parent’s Worst Nightmare Comes True
My brother went to prison for drugs. As a teen, he slowly went from bad to worse as he met and spent time with peers who led him in really bad situations. He had trouble with the law, but he was given changes because he was a teen. Eventually, he became an adult and his chances had run out.
Before this, I remembered hearing my mom cry at night for many nights wondering where her son was. Was he ok? Where was he? Was he lying on a ditch somewhere … the horrible thoughts were endless!
She used to wake up from nightmares thinking someone was going to call her to give her terrible news. The worst was that someone was going to tell her he was in the morgue somewhere. No words to describe what a complete mess she was.
Then he went to prison for 11 years and the fear overwhelmed her. There was not a day she rested easily, because she wondered if he was ok or if he was going to be killed while he was sleeping. She and my dad went to visit him at visiting hours every single weekend for 11 years. They never missed and they never got over the guilt.
You Could Only Keep Moving Forward
My brother finally came home a year ago and it was the most emotional time in my family’s life. He is completely rehabilitated but is still paranoid about almost everything. He missed all of his a significant part of his 20s and the best young years of his life. Now he’s doing his best to make amends, but how do you get back those lost years?
As a parent now, I understand some of what my parents went through trying their best, but whatever they did, was never good enough to grow the perfect child. Now I go through scenarios and think ‘if I do this, my child will be this way.’ As he grows and develops, I realize he grows into stages and those stages are all very different, which he responds to in ways I could never predict.
I know that no matter how much I try to pay attention to my son’s every need, he has potential to blame something on me or his dad. We could never be too prepared for what comes along in the years to come. Our children look up to us and often mimic (and sometimes make excuses for their behavior because of our actions) what we do.
Is the Parent-Child Bond Formed on a Cellular Level?
Love has a funny way of working through us. We love our children and regardless of how close we may be to them, there is a special, emotional attachment between both parent and child. It is the reason kids get most angry with their parents when life doesn’t give them rainbows and flowers. It is often the reason that children try their best to look for lost biological parents and vice versa. Sometimes no matter how much a child or parent rejects the other, either party may still find a way to look for the other.
Surely you’ve heard amazing stories of kids taking care of their drug or alcohol addicted parents. Somehow, the child still grows up to be an amazing, successful, generous person. It sounds crazy, but it happens much more than we realize, because of the cellular connection children and parents have.
Our Best Has to Be the Most Honest Best
As parents, we could only do our best, but it is our best that our children will depend on. Our best has to be our honest best and not the best according to what others may find to be the best. We have to be honest with what our best is, only to truly believe you’ve done your best.
It is our job to raise our children so they could be prepared for the future that may not always have us in it. They will grow and develop based on the influences around them and without a benefit of a doubt, will also make their decisions. We can’t force them to have good values, because essentially, their mind and body belongs to them. Sharing what we know is our best bet. Incorporating good values, being the best examples we could be, and having confidence in the positive roles we’ve played in their lives could be their saving grace.