Becoming Mindful About How My Childhood Experiences Have Affected My Parenting

Being a parent is one of the hardest and most meaningful jobs there is. As soon as I became a mother, I knew it was my calling. This is what I was meant to do. There is nothing I like better than being a wife and mother.

I’ve been a mother for twenty one years now, and overall I believe I have done a good job. Of course I have made mistakes. Of course there are things I would do do differently than I did two decades ago. There is a lot of learning that goes along with parenting. I’m grateful that the Lord has been patient with me, and has taught me along the way.

Recently, I’ve felt the need to re-access my parenting style. I’ve done some soul searching. I’ve decided that my dream is that when my children think of me, the first words that come to their minds would be sweet, kind, and encouraging. I would like to say that I’ve always been these things, but I haven’t. Now, I do believe that I have stood up for truth and goodness as much as I’ve possibly could. But my presentation hasn’t always been “sweet.”

I’ve become convicted by the example of Christ. When the Father was reviled, He sent His Son to die for us. This is what I should be doing. I should put my own self aside, and be a picture of the fruits of the Spirit for my children. I usually act this way, but I want to be this way at all times. In every situation. And friends, this can be hard!

Related: When Contentment Feels Illusive as a Mother

While doing some soul searching, I believe I might have reached the root of my problem. My childhood was less than ideal. By the time I reached middle school, I determined that I wanted to behave differently than my parents did. I thought I had mastered this a long time ago, but I’ve now realized that subconsciencly, I picked up some habits that I don’t want to continue in.

I’ve lived all of my adult life believing that my personality traits that I didn’t love were just “me,” and couldn’t be changed. I now believe differently.

The Connected Parent by Karyn Purvis and Lisa Qualls helped me to realize that there is hope. I purchased this book to find ways to better connect with my children, and it hasn’t been quite what I expected. It has definitely been a good read, but it is more geared towards adoptive families.

The authors state that in order to become better parents, we need to heal from our own childhoods.

Here is a simplified example that resonates with many parents with whom I’ve worked: After reflecting on your history, perhaps you’ve realized that giving nurturing care is difficult for you. As you explore your past, maybe you realize that even though your parents were wonderful people, they struggled to be nurturing when you needed it. As a result, you may find it difficult to give nurturing care beyond instrumental care when your child is hurt or upset. Big displays of emotion may feel uncomfortable for you because your needs were not met as a child. Furthermore, situations in which you feel that your emotions are dismissed are very difficult for you. Parents with this experience often find that disrespect from their children is a huge trigger because it makes them feel dismissed, just as they did when they were young children in need of nurturing care. This is just one example of how our childhood experiences impact our relationships as adults. It’s important to become mindful of these experiences so we can change the same trajectory for our children.” p. 55

My husband and I have both had to heal from our childhoods, and I don’t want my children to have to heal from theirs.

I have ordered more books, and have asked the Lord to help me be mindful of my past experiences. I want to learn how to heal any past hurts that I’ve internalized. Disrespect is a trigger for me, and I’ve realized now that it is because of how often I felt dismissed as a child.

Related: Learning to Listen as a Mother

And I want to be better than that for my family. No matter what experience I face, I want to give my family a gentle and quiet spirit.

I hope that you are encouraged that we can heal from our childhoods. As I learn more, I hope to share some of my findings with you. The Lord is always here to guide and direct us, too. I honestly believe that He has led me to this discovery about myself.

Thank you so much for stopping by my blog, today. I hope you have a lovely day!

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