Do you parent the way you do because of or in spite of the way you were raised? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 20 Old 02-21-2003, 11:22 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm thinking about this b/c I just started therapy for some post partum depression/ major adjustment to motherhood issues, and I've realized how differently I am raising my ds (6mos) than my mom raised me... bfing and gentle discipline (when the time comes) being major areas of difference.

The gentle discipline is a big one... I feared my mother when I was young; her reaction to bad grades/misbehaving was generally a slap across the face, hair pulling, arm twisting, "stupid" etc. I see now how controlling she was, and I really worry that I will do the same with ds. There are days when every fiber of my body wants to control him, get him to operate on my schedule & needs; thankfully I can recognize my buttons and am able to fight this unhealthy impulse.

Are there other mamas with similar situations, i.e. you are raising your babes using AP philosophy in spite of the fact that you were not raised the same way?

Or are there mamas who were raised AP and will pass on that gift to their babes, too?
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#2 of 20 Old 02-21-2003, 11:58 PM
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I'm not sure I can answer either way. My mother did not cosleep, though I do remember being allowed to sleep with her when I was sick. She didn't BF b/c we were adopted (and when I asked her she said she would have if we were born to her), she does claim she CIO'd us and that we were "sleeping through the night" at 6 weeks old, but you should see her run to DD if she cries, lol. So....while she didn't really parent the way we do, I don't feel that I am doing it "in spite of" her...we just parent differently.

How's that for a non-answer? lol

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#3 of 20 Old 02-22-2003, 12:59 AM
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My mom and I are both probably at the same "level" on the AP spectrum, but in very different ways. I wore him when he was little, we co-sleep, I still EB my 2.5 year old, use gentle discipline, feed him organic foods. My mom did not breastfeed me at all (though she did the two that were born after me!) and did not co-sleep. But, she did practice gentle discipline, made all of our food, and spent every last waking second with her children, giving us her very direct attention, playing with us on the floor, taking us to the park and zoo, etc. She claims this is why she did not co-sleep-- because she needed at least a little time to herself. My mom and I have different circumstances: I am employed full time outside the home, and my mom was a full time mom at home. So, I think part of that has led to different decisions. For example, perhaps if I played as intensely with my son for 12 hours a day as my mom did with us, I'd feel the way she did about the co sleeping. I don't know, but I do know I was provided with a very caring and gentle upbringing, so I feel that has helped me be the nurturing mom I am.
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#4 of 20 Old 02-22-2003, 01:12 AM
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Sometimes I yell at my kids and I think that I am just like my mom, who seemed very tired and frustrated for much of my childhood (probably because she was). Then I apologize for acting that way and tell my children that even a mommy shouldn't act like that and that I love them to bits and that I need a hug and then I explain what I meant when I was doing that crazy yelling thing. Then I know I am not like my parents because they could never have admitted a mistake like that to a child. So, I am the same and I am different. My daughter has the gift of AP, though, and she is only eight. Sometimes I cannot wait to see her as a mother. She will be amazing.
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#5 of 20 Old 02-22-2003, 02:57 AM
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I'm parenting this way because one it feels right and natural to do so. I think my mother essentially denied every instinct she had to go along with the crowd. Even when I had severe post partum depression I was still listening to my inner voice. I see a lot of women denying that, denying their feelings for their babies and allowing things to take place they dont feel comfortable with.

I make a choice to use a more positive and gentle way to discipline based on the fact my parents didnt parent this way. I have some bitter memories and anger due to that. More so about my mother than father. Though as a teen I thought Dad was the worst in this area.
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#6 of 20 Old 02-22-2003, 03:20 AM
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I am raising ds and dd AP, which is in complete opposition with how I was raised.

I do worry (and I know this is ridiculous), that despite my efforts, my kids will grow up as I did, feeling insecure and unloved. I feel so inadequate sometimes, like my love isn't worth anything.

When I feel like this, I just try to focus on the kids. I see them happy, feeling loved, and with good self esteem, it helps me feel like it's going to be okay.

The greatest joy of my life is waking up to see my kids in bed with dh and I, all safe and warm and peaceful.
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#7 of 20 Old 02-22-2003, 10:09 AM
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I'm parenting this way in spite of the way that i was raised. It is so difficult sometimes to stay conscious of every action and word.

My parents were controlling, manipulative, deceptive, emotionally neglectful and physically abusive. That's a really hard legacy to overcome and i find myself needing to be extra gentle with myself in order to be gentle with my son. It's almost like i'm nurturing my own inner child by being a caring, gentle, loving parent to my son.

Anyways, i guess my point is that this way of parenting isnt just beneficial for the kids, it's a growing process for the parent too.
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#8 of 20 Old 02-22-2003, 11:02 AM
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Coming from a disfonctional family, I raise my kids in spite of what I've gone through.

I think my mother would have been AP if she haven't been so sick... but my father is really mainstream : (I have to say he's improving lately, opening his eyes to other ways of doing... and at least, he now respect what we do )

I'm wondering what our kids will say about their parenting later...

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#9 of 20 Old 02-22-2003, 11:46 AM
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I was raised in a very non-AP household, to say the least. Mom controlled me and would withdraw her love as a form of punishment, dad screamed at me and beat me. CPS was involved with both of them at different times.

So then I had my dd and found AP. I knew from childhood what I would *not* do, but AP helped me to know what I *would* do. I come here for support and to learn. I sometimes lurk to get ideas from other moms. If if wasn't for this on-line community I would sometimes be lost. My dh supports me though, and we have lots of good parenting books to give us ideas.

My dd will pass on the AP gift I'm sure. I can tell by the way she treats animals and her dolls and us. I am not a very touchy person. I get uncomfortable with someone touching my arm in conversation, because I was only touched in a negative way if I was touched at all. My dd loves to touch to communicate. She will often come and sit next to me on the couch and hold my hand-- and she's only 26 mos. old. It makes my heart glad to know I've broken the cycle.

And you can too. It's tough, but you can do it. Lean on us for support when you need to. You are not alone. I know your first instinct sometimes is to parent the way you were parented, but then you are teaching yourself to be connected with your baby through AP. You are healing your family through your parenting.


7yo: "Mom,I know which man is on a quarter and which on is on a nickel. They both have ponytails, but one man has a collar and the other man is naked. The naked man was our first president."
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#10 of 20 Old 02-22-2003, 12:29 PM
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My answer is short....

I have no regrets or things I don't like about the way I was raised. My parents did what they felt was right for us. I do I feel is right for my family. It jut happens to not be the same as what they did.

In all honesty...I was spanked and such and I have no permanent scarring from it. My parents weren't abusive cause they spanked. They were fun and outgoing. I had the parents that everyone was jealous of And thats what I want. I want ds to grow up wanting us to do things as a family. I want to be parents that are parents but "cool parents"! Does that make sense?

Single Mom to 2 amazing little men. T(7) and B(5)
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#11 of 20 Old 02-22-2003, 01:22 PM
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"Take it if you need it or leave it if you dare"

I have learned from my parents mistakes & parent completely different than I was raised.. Having not been breastfed, (anyone elses mom uncomfortable w/ the sight of their daughter bf their granddaughter?) emotionally abused, 2 parents at work, growing up on processed food & soda & materialism, just a few examples of why I parent the way I do. From kindergarten on I was responsible for getting myself up for school & making my own breakfast & getting on the bus. I never ate a decent breakfast & was always late for school. I longed for a mother who was there & 2 parents who were happily married & longed for a family that was close. I overstepped many boundries because there was no emotional support. My parents worked very hard for material wealth so everything looked good on the outside. But the picture they had painted didn't represent the inside..

Growing up, my family was about as dysfunctional as they come. We didn't eat meals together, we didn't enjoy eachothers company & my parents instilled a sense of fear in my sister & I therefore we weren't able to go to them for support. I feel like I raised myself & was never really able to experience being a kid & enjoyed time spent w/ my friends families who were close.

Papa & I fell into ap w/o the knowledge that it existed. We began our parenting journey by wanting a natural childbirth, using cloth diapers, bf, cosleeping, babywearing, organic food etc. because it was the way neither of us were raised & we both wanted to be the parents ours weren't.

We raise our kids w/ respect, lots of hugs & kisses, & lots of "I love yous" & allowing our kids to express their feelings, something I never experienced.. When I'm negative w/ my kids, I see my parents coming out & try to snap out of it. It takes alot concious effort to parent the way we believe we should when we didn't grow up w/ the beliefs we now carry. I feel I can always improve my parenting skills & am always looking for positive ways of communicating with our kids.

I grew up w/ no emotional & spiritual guidance & that continued into adulthood. I wish I had a mother who would have been there for me when I was pregnant, when we birthed at home. Iwish I had a mother who was there to care for our family after giving birth. I wish I had a mother who had advice about bf'ing. I wish..............

I'm blessed I turned out the way I did "despite" my upbringing.. For me, it's taking the negative & turning it into a positive. :*)
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#12 of 20 Old 02-22-2003, 01:43 PM
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I am not really sure how to answer. I grew up in a very loving and secure home. I never felt fear of either of my parents although I was occassionally (very few times) spanked for bad behavior - I mean just a swat on the butt. My mom did not bf or co-sleep, she is fine with me doing so and ds sleeps with her when we go for a visit, because she said bf was not encouraged and she just never really considered co-sleeping. I was not left to CIO and was cloth diapered. I guess my decisions to parent the way I do just stem from following my instincts not as a reaction to what or how my parents did anything. That said, I must have learned something good from my folks since I feel like I could not have gotten better parents if I had chosen them myself - they loved and respected me unconditionally as child (and they still do) and I think that is the basis for the way I want to bring up my child.
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#13 of 20 Old 02-22-2003, 02:00 PM
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#14 of 20 Old 02-23-2003, 12:00 AM
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It's really interesting to read everyone's responses to this thread. It seems like most of the AP moms parent their way in spite of their parents. Interesting! Traci, your response was kind of like mine.
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#15 of 20 Old 02-23-2003, 12:19 AM
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like aster, i'm parenting in ways that are healing to me as well as healthful to my kids. i parent mostly in spite of how i was raised, even though i was not in a particularly horrible household. either i was a super sensitive child or i'm having past-life spillovers, b/c i carry a great deal of emotional reactivity about how children are treated. i'm still working my way through all of it. my folks are supportive of how we parent and that is also healing to me.
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#16 of 20 Old 02-23-2003, 12:41 AM
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Interesting question. I grew up with five siblings, four brothers and a sister. My four brothers all have some really tough issues- a brohter who is adurg/alcohol addict and has been in and out of prison, a brother that got married beofre he graduated HS to spite my parents, a brother with some severe emotional problems and a brother with a learning disability. My sister and I were in the middle of the four, and tried really hard to be the good kids. We were all b/f to one degree or another, although I remember feeding my littlest brohter bottles of formula. We were not allowed in our parents' bed- no matter what. In fact, I remember several times no being able to sleep for hours and going to my parents for comfort and being ridiculed by mom for being up when I was supposed to be in bed. We were spanked occasionally for bad behavior, and she was definitely a cd fan, although I hated changing my brothers! The thing I have the hardest time dealing with from my childhood that i'm trying my hardest to remedy with my dd is emotional validation- trying to make sure that my daughter knows that she matters and that her feelings are real, whether they are good or bad. And I want to make sure that none of my children (how ever many there will be) never feel like they are "lost" in a family because of the problems of their siblings.

My mom is outwardly supportive of the AP stuff we do, although I don't think that she believes in it. She thought I was crazy for nursing dd while I was pg (she has since weaned herself) and tells me I need to let dd CIO so that we can get some sleep. And I know that she has made comments to SIL about how we are always holding her and rock her to sleep at night, etc. She is very big on "no's". I guess for me, I am parenting dd the way that I wish I would have been parented.

Wow. Didn't mean to make that turn into a huge therapy session. I think my parents did the best they could with what they had- now I'm taking what they did and making it better.

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#17 of 20 Old 02-23-2003, 01:16 AM
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I parent the way I do IN SPITE OF the way I was raised.

I know that I slept in a crib and was bottle fed. (1966). My mother was very tough on me and I still remember the day (at 3 yrs of age) when my pacifier was taken from me. I knew very early on that mother was "the boss" and it was her way and her way only. I was never allowed to experiment or try things out. I remember I loved play-dough but rarely got to enjoy it too much, because she was worried about the mess. Playing outside was always stressful, due to my worrying about getting my clothes dirty. I remember saying to myself that I would never do that to my babies. I did learn to read before Kindergarten because my parents were avid readers and I begged to learn...that was good. I had a stay-at-home mom which was good as well....except that she never had a positive word to say to me. It should have been my dad who stayed home. I can honestly say that through all my years (she passed away 10 years ago) she never said a positive word to me. I do not ever recall hearing that I did something right...only a constant barrage of what I did wrong and how to do it better next time. k-2 I did well do to strong reading. My mother seemed to get harder on me the older I became and from grade 3 on self-esteem dwindled to almost nothing. Slaps were common place.

I will never do this to my darling child (and hopefully future children). I totally am into the AP lifestyle and hope to raise my angel to be secure, empathetic, and know that he is loved tremendously. He will have a lot of praise and his strengths will be celebrated. When I look at his little face I can not imagine putting him through what my mother put me could she do that to a little growing person who wanted nothing more than love? My peanut will not want for love, attention, and many experiences to develop his full potential. He will not have to worry about getting dirty etc., or the possibility of any slaps (never ever).

So....I parent IN SPITE of how I was parented by my mother. I might mention my father was very loving, quiet, gentle, and kind. My mother ruled the roost though and he could do little to protect me from her sharp tongue and quick hand.
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#18 of 20 Old 02-23-2003, 01:47 AM
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I would have to say that I parent the way I do b/c of how I was parented but not out of spite -per-say- just b/c of what I have educated myself on and how I have turned out and things that I know have harmed me emotionally from growing up in the type of home I did.
I was not raised in an AP home. It was mainstream to the fullest
CIO-formula fed -smacked-name calling-mind bender games and sreaming and yelling so loud the neighbors could hear....
I remember once holding on to the step rails of a sitter my mother was dragging me to b/c she was going to work and screaming for her not to leave me and remember her prying my hands off the rails saying dragging me to the babysitters door and pushing me in and then running back down the steps to her car. It is so vivid in my mind and I was only 4.
I do not want my son to live the life I lived.
I will do everything to make myself aware of my actions and responsiveness to my son at all levels.
AP just could you want to parent any other way?
So maybe I do parent this way out of spite....

good thread...

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#19 of 20 Old 02-23-2003, 06:20 PM
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I've been reading everyone's responses and I would have to say that I parent the way I do because of my parents - even though I do thing a little differently. My parents were very AP. They did spank, but it was very rare. I really only remember being spanked once. I slept in a crib, but it was in their room until I was four. My mom breastfed me for six weeks. She would have done it longer, but I was ill and required a nine day hospital stay at six weeks old. The hospital didn't allow her to nurse me, and that coupled with the stress of my almost dying did a number on her milk supply. My mom stayed at home with me except for rare occasions when she worked for a couple of months to bring in some income, so she could stay at home again. My parents have always been very touchy-feely. They were the parents that during high school everyone at my school (even kids I wasn't close to) called Mom and Dad and kids turned to. I feel very lucky to have been raised by my parents. I do some things differently - My 3 1/2 year old just weaned four weeks ago, she and ds still sleep with us, we are committed to not spanking - I parent very much like they do. I've always said that if I can be as good a parent as mine, I will have succeeded.
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#20 of 20 Old 02-24-2003, 07:13 PM
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It's sad that so many people had such horrible childhoods! I feel very very lucky to have had the parents I do and the parenting I did. While they did make some mistakes (esp. in my teen years) that have had lasting repercussions, those are far outweighed by the things they did well.

I was breastfed until I lost interest around 20 months, cloth diapered, mostly gentle-disciplined, read a nightly bedtime story until I was 14, fed a healthy diet, allowed all kinds of creative play, encouraged in my individual interests, and surrounded by love and respect. I was treated as a full-fledged person and family member from the beginning. My parents talked with me about all kinds of subjects, so I knew they were interesting and wise people and worth hanging around. They taught me, by example, to be a rational and kind person, to value resources and use them wisely, and to be skeptical about popular culture.

As we prepare to become parents and think about how children ought to be treated, I find that I keep using my parents as examples. This is the latest anecdote that came up:
Mom used to buy my brother and me each a bottle of juice if we had behaved well in the grocery. She didn't say as we went in, "If you're good, I'll buy you a juice bottle"; she didn't mention it until the end of the shopping when we were standing in front of the juice, unless we were misbehaving, in which case she said in a sad voice, "Gosh, when you do that, I don't feel like doing nice things for you, like buying you special juice."
The juice bottles were glass. After we got home, she would wash them and use them for juice in my school lunch. A lot of people wouldn't dream of giving a six-year-old a glass bottle--she'll break it and get hurt, right? Well...once I dropped my lunchbox on my way out to the carpool. I opened it and saw the cracked bottle and the soggy sandwich and was just about to start crying when my mom came out of the house, took the lunchbox, handed me some money, and said cheerfully, "Today you can try the cafeteria lunch!" This happened ONCE. The next day there was another glass bottle in my lunchbox, and that was fine.

My parents are definitely more Continuum Concept than Total Mothering, which is great IMO. I got all the caretaking I really needed, but I also got a sense of capability and responsibility from an early age, and that's been immeasurably useful. I also saw my parents as real people with their own needs and interests, not as servants whose primary focus was on me.

Some of the details of my parenting will be different, but the basic philosophies will come directly from my parents, or more accurately from my family: My parents learned most of their parenting from my grandparents, and most of my aunts and uncles are similar. Extended family always lived far away, but when we got together they also treated me as a respected person and set good examples of how to treat younger kids. MrBecca's family is similar, so when he and I talk about how to do things, not only do we almost always agree, but usually we both feel that our way is the obvious way!

It must be so different if you weren't raised this way. You may be just as able to see what's the right thing to do with your kids, but as you do it, it must feel more like repairing the continuum than like moving naturally along. When I'm with kids, doing something I remember adults doing with me, there's a warm sweet sense of having come full circle. If you never got to be the kid in that circle, it must be a very different experience. It's hard to reject the ways you were taught (even if they were horribly wrong) just because they were the only ways you knew when you were at your most impressionable, so at some deep level they seem right. I'm so impressed by the parents I see here who are working on healing from that and doing right by their own kids. I've got it so easy by comparison! Strength and blessings to all of you!

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