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?
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.
Jayne, sewing up a storm mama to ds1 9/03, ds2 2/09, and 2 sweet furbabies.
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.
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!
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).
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!