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Where do you start?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

Okay I want to start off by saying I don't have any kids...yet.


For those of you who are scratching your heads on why someone without kids would be on a parenting forum let me try and explain. I really want kids fairly soon, like in a few years. However I feel strongly that I need to deal with some issues from my past before I actually have a real human being to deal with. Basically my own parents were...unorthodox (think letting a four year old go without food for two days to prove that he doesn't decide what he eats you do or telling a kid that if they don't stop screaming then DFS will come and after looking at this family for five minutes will take them away then they really will be abused etc). How do you start when you basically have no idea how kids should be raised, or what parts of your own childhood are even okay to duplicate? Has anyone else come from a slightly unorthodox past and found any good resources for people who are a little confused on where to begin when even the basics (that most people know just from their own childhood) are a little fuzzy?

post #2 of 7
I don't have first hand experience with - as you generously put it - unorthodox parenting. My mom on the other hand had a rough childhood (verbal abuse, violence between her parents, alcoholism in the family, etc) and she turned out to be a very gentle, empathetic and caring mother. She says that her secret was being the kind of parent she wished she had. She didn't have positive role models in her immediate family but did have caring women in the extended family that helped her through. My advice (for what is worth) is to follow your instincts to nurture your children and do your best to provide the stability and consistency you would have liked to see. If you are experiencing resentment or other negative feelings with respect to the past, it might be good to explore those. I know I benefited greatly from a little counseling when I experienced postpartum feelings of guilt, inadequacy and shame with respect to my perception of myself as a mother. Again, I havent BTDT, but thought I might give you my perspective until others chime in. I think as long as you can maintain a fairly calm attitude and follow your instincts to do the best you can, you will be a wonderful mom. The fact that you're already thinking about this is one indication of your thoughtfulness. Good luck!
post #3 of 7

Therapy!  It can help you sort out a lot.


I agree with ribbions that it's a great sign that you're thinking about it and having had great parenting isn't a necessary precursor to being a great parent.  

post #4 of 7
My dad said the same thing about being the parent he wished he'd had as a kid. He and my mom raised us completely differently from how he was raised. Without going into too much detail, he was/is a fantastic dad despite not having a good dad himself.

I would bet you probably know more than you think. Mothering instincts are built in for most of us--that combined with mindfulness/self-reflection and of course self-education (asking questions on this forum is a great place to start!) and you have a recipe for success.

There are certain things that are good for all children, like a stable home with love and peace, healthy food, safety, comfortable routines, basic human kindness, etc. If you have good intentions you'll figure out all of this as you go.

Practice the Golden Rule with your kids, and never stop seeking information and reading. Knowledge is power! You will be a great mother.
post #5 of 7

I think you're already doing better by recognizing that there was a problem and knowing that you will not duplicate what they did to you. I'm not the type who likes going to therapy so I've found that reading books help with things I have issues with... If you need help with basics the What to Expect when your Expecting has a series that covers infants and children, covers as basic as bath time to changing diapers! 

post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 

Thanks, for the support.


My main concern is that I have trouble teasing apart what is and is not okay. I only started to realize that my childhood was a little more unorthodox then I thought when I moved out and started talking to my friends about my childhood. Before that I was always taught you don't talk about the family to the outside world, because they wouldn't understand how we lived, but that we were a normal family and my parents were doing a good job (how did I know? They told me they were doing a good job, literally.). I keep finding myself telling a story and then looking up to find horrified looks on every ones face only to find out that apparently what I was talking about is apparently very disturbing. It's disturbing to discover that stories that you thought of as normal, or even positive moments are apparently horrible to many people (although I have figured out that all stories that end with a kid being spanked with a small uprooted tree/2*4/frying pan/etc are considered disturbing. That is one thing I always knew was a little off and I am glad that others agree shouldn't be done).

post #7 of 7
Most people on this forum will agree that using ANY physical force as punishment, or purposely hurting your kids, physically or emotionally, whether through action or inaction, (inflicting harm OR withholding love/attention) is not okay ever, in any form. greensad.gif

Spanking is not condoned here as an acceptable parenting tool, but I think that even out of those parents who proudly admit that they hit their kids, (unthinkable to most of us here, btw!) the vast majority of *those* parents would even agree that you were pretty severely abused as a child.

I am sorry your childhood was like that and that your standard of "normal" is so skewed. You definitely came to the right place though, to learn about gentle parenting methods.

I hope I am not coming across as holier-than-thou or anything like that. AP parents are human and screwed-up too. Every parent does their best, even abusers, which we all need to remember so we can understand and forgive. From your brief descriptions, what you're describing from your past is unequivocal *child abuse.* I'm happy that you plan to do the necessary work to ensure you don't repeat those patterns!
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