Is parenting a natural skill or a learned skill? - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

View Poll Results: "You cant be a good parent if you dont know how to parent"
Agree 9 33.33%
Disagree 7 25.93%
Other, please explain. 11 40.74%
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#31 of 33 Old 09-17-2011, 05:15 AM
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A little of both, some in one direction or the other. For me it comes quite naturally, but I was raised myself in an environment conducive to parenting gently and naturally. I had parents, grandparents around, aunts and uncles, just a very open and supportive, loving, creative family. There were things, of course, that I disagreed with and don't perpetuate onto my own children, but they are minor things in the big picture, and mostly I think I went into parenting with a good toolkit from my own.


If you intend to go against what was done to you in a big way, I think it does have to be more learned, at least learned consciously moreso than just from what you learned while living it with your parents.


I don't think most things, that aren't purely biological functions, are 100% innate. We need some kind of observable behavior before we know to do it. Most mammals seem to function that way. I used to raise orphan livestock animals for local farms when I was a teenager. They'd survive their young life and thrive, physically, but a funny thing happened when they had their own offspring: many just didn't know how to be mothers. Most were put with other livestock at a few months of age, once they no longer needed round-the-clock care from me, but not observing that mothering behavior of their own species at the earliest ages left them clueless. Their milk would come in, they'd give birth normally, but they just had no clue what to do with a baby. At best some could be taught how to be good moms with careful guidance, at worse they rejected the baby or even turned on it. This seems to be what my generation is going through. Having to unlearn things our generation's parents did, and re-learn a different way of life and of interacting with children on the most basic of levels.

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#32 of 33 Old 09-17-2011, 06:31 PM
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Originally Posted by meemee View Post

you know there is so much other involved. the learning part.


one is the personality that you connect with best. for instance my father did not have the great parenting skill sets my mom had. yet to me my dad is more a 'good parent' than my mom was and i feel i feel this way because personality wise my dad and i got along. it was the same with my bro and mom. they got along better too.


i notice that about dd and me vs dd and her dad. we get along sooo well coz we relate so much to each other. our likes and dislikes are very similar. 


i think by our opinion and the one we talk most about i am discovering how much of it is really learnt. 


we all have our personality traits, some are foodies and for some food is just nourishment to be devoured fast or some are into sports and some arent... so some are 'into' being a parent, and some arent (and unfortunately the only sure shot way to NOT have kids is to not have sex or somehow do away with the uterus or fallopian tube).


i am originally from asia. a mostly children friendly and huge extended friends and family support country. no one really pays attention to their children or parenting as we do here. there is no need to talk about it or look for books or constantly self assess if you are doing a good job. its coz like showering its a part of life that you just do. and you have trusted wise members around you to guide you. so it doesnt really matter if the mom/dad is a bad parent. its because they are not the only parents. a child has so many others to turn to (unfortunately in urban areas that's breaking down a lot). and so not having super parents is not so traumatic out here. however parents are reeled in if they are loooked at being neglectful. 


so much of my parenting or realisation or figuring out my own philosophy has come from books since i had my dd. even though i talk to my mom on the phone - its still not the same. 

meemee, I used to be a postpartum doula and your experience in Asia is very close to the model we were hoping to provide.  So many "natural" things, even breast feeding, are easier for those who were raised in cultures where everyone is parenting around them in a multi generational setting.  Our current generation in North America spends so much time in age separate activities, that many adults have spent little time around children (outside of ones their own age at school) and more importantly, mothers with their small children.  We also haven't spent much time around the sick or the dying unless we work in care giving fields.  And families are very nuclear, so their isn't that extended family support.  That's why many North Americans have to learn how to find their own support networks and parenting examples, because it's not part of their culture.  And I think this type of "education" can do more than books or parenting classes.  It's experiential learning at it's best.


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#33 of 33 Old 09-20-2011, 09:16 PM
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Originally Posted by FarmerBeth View Post

We also haven't spent much time around the sick or the dying unless we work in care giving fields.  And families are very nuclear, so their isn't that extended family support.  That's why many North Americans have to learn how to find their own support networks and parenting examples, because it's not part of their culture.  And I think this type of "education" can do more than books or parenting classes.  It's experiential learning at it's best.


you are absolutely right FarmerBeth. Its interesting because of my background i can understand dual perspectives. rather can even 'see' the perspective that non extended family backgrounds can see. like for eg (if you can have the choice) i have seen hispanics refuse to travel to another city for a higher paying job coz their parents are old and ill and will not be able to socially adjust to the move. i see the hispanic doesnt even take time to think. he wont even consider it and says an outright no when the boss asks him. and yet his boss a Northern American man cant understand why his employee wont jump at the chance of a higher paying job and just send money to his parents.


as i travel around the US i see just how really segregated we are here - esp. where age is considered. it is really sad.


and yes i shake my head. i mean teh whole point of work and money IS so you can take care of your family. one of my friends from intel got leave to take care of his dying dad. he came home. his dad died within a week and he wasnt allowed leave of any kind to go back home for the rituals which is a HUUUGE deal in the culture i was raised in.  


every. single. child... every. single. child. that stands out as really unique compared to the other kids here in north america - has had a different life experience than others. they have either spent some years living abroad, or helped take care of old grandparents, or even done a lot of volunteer work since a child. every child who has been outstanding (from my perspective) (which includes college students asking v. thoughtful questions or disagreeing with the proff) have lead some sort of nontraditional life as a child. i recall this afghani teen immigrant on NPR talking about his life in the US and how he was a typical american teen till 9/11 happened. he had thought he'd do the usual route. but since 9/11 and his family's action he is now i think owner of a NGO helping afghanis as a social cause instead of getting a regular job and earning money as he was planning to do. 


i am a student here and one of my proffs has taken me under his wings coz of my perspective and my boldness to express them. he mentors me coz he wants me to contribute to the academic think tank that needs different perspectives. it is THAT important to him. one of my heroes says it best " It means that a young kid from the Andes who's raised to believe that that mountain is an Apu spirit that will direct his or her destiny will be a profoundly different human being and have a different relationship to that resource or that place than a young kid from Montana raised to believe that a mountain is a pile of rock ready to be mined. Whether it's the abode of a spirit or a pile of ore is irrelevant. What's interesting is the metaphor that defines the relationship between the individual and the natural world. I was raised in the forests of British Columbia to believe those forests existed to be cut. That made me a different human being than my friends among the Kwagiulth who believe that those forests were the abode of Huxwhukw and the Crooked Beak of Heaven and the cannibal spirits that dwelled at the north end of the world, spirits they would have to engage during their Hamatsa initiation." Wade Davis

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