I don’t want my children to grow up like me

This post is the result of many different inspirations.

It is inspired in part by Agent Spitback’s heart rending post on bullying and random acts of kindness.  This in turn links to DIY Daddy’s unexpectedly soul searching questions for his Brilliant Dad’s feature on fatherhood.  It also comes from Man Vs Pink’s post on the lonely dad in the corner and Sour Girl Ohio’s poem No Rewind.

I don’t want my children to grow up like me / It’s too soul destroying / It’s a mocking disease / A wasting disease

This at first look seems like a negative sentiment but it’s not.  There is hope here.

DIY Daddy asked me for a contribution to his Brilliant Dad’s feature and sent me a list of questions to answer.  What I hadn’t expected it would be the simplest of questions that would set off a whole chain of thought.

I’m not going to pre-empt that post but it was in a similar vein to the issues raised by Agent Spitback’s post on bullying and my own on trigger warnings.  Despite my best efforts the past is never far away.  It’s only a single word or gesture away.  You can see it in the blog comments where posters share their own long passed experiences of bullying.  The violence, name calling, exclusions and petty indignities are rarely forgotten and can be recalled in a heartbeat.

And then it’s all replayed in the next generation either as the perpetrator, the victim or the witness.

I don’t want my children to grow up like me as I was then.  There are lots of things I have done and do now that I am proud of but there is much I am not and would not want my children to model their behaviour on those bits.

Watching my children grow up I realise how difficult that is.  They are always watching and listening to the words, we say, the way we say them and how we behave.  We see this when they mimic our unconscious catchphrases, subtle face expressions and in how they handle anger, frustration and sadness and how they reflect our own back at us.

Most parents want their children to be happy but there’s more than that.  It’s about letting them know that it’s OK to feel sad and they can be angry.  The important thing is teaching them how to handle those feelings.  I can’t expect them to be in control of their emotions if I can’t control my own.  This was brought home to me when my toddler son used the same technique that I use to calm him from his tantrums on me when I lost my temper.

I also see how my children learn how to socialise by watching me.  I’ve seen my daughter miss that tiny window of friend making opportunity because she spent too long watching from afar and studying people before she made tentative steps to play with them or talk to them.  This is why I now do what does not come naturally to me.  I push myself to talk to the mums at playgroup rather than withdraw and become the lonely dad in the corner.

They make me better because I see how they copy me and if they are going to do that I need to be the best I can be so that they can copy the best bits and learn coping strategies and develop the resilience to handle the times when it doesn’t go to plan.  I want to take opportunities so that rather than begging them to learn from my mistakes I can show them something worth learning from.

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

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19 Comments Add yours

  1. It’s such a great responsibility, raising children. We want them to have our best bits but not our flaws and we can’t underestimate how much our behaviour influences them. I see it as a teacher so much too. I think all we can do is be aware and do our best. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ShoeboxofM says:

      Thanks for the comment. It’s spooky when they start replaying your pet phrases back to you!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. life as mum says:

    I think we all want our children to grow up a bit differently to us. Many of us a proud and not proud with certain things we have done – nobody’s perfect as they say! A great honest post!
    Thanks for linking up with #justanotherlinky

    Liked by 1 person

  3. sourgirlohio says:

    Thank you for the mention, first of all 🙂

    Interesting how much they get from us. I am wholeheartedly relieved that my daughter is much more naturally social than I am. Maybe awkwardness jumps generations. I have anxiety problems, and sadly my daughter is well aware that I panic sometimes for no reason at all. At some point, it becomes impossible to hide all of our problems from them, no matter how hard we try.

    Interesting topic, my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ShoeboxofM says:

      I hope it does skip generations! I want to get them as bullet proof as possible for when they hit their teens and they’ll have a whole world of messy emotions to deal with.

      Like

  4. I found this to be a really positive post as it shows how much you want to be an outstanding role model for your children. My little ones are just starting to mirror and display our habits and behaviours as they get older, and it makes me half proud and half terrified at the sheer responsibility we have to shape and develop these amazing little humans. Thanks for sharing such an honest post.

    #justanotherlinky

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ShoeboxofM says:

      It is very scary. It’s when my daughter and son play out a parent child scene it gets really freaky. Especially when he does as he’s told which he doesn’t always do with us!

      Thanks for commenting!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Such an honest post. It’s my great wish that my daughter won’t struggle with shyness the way I did. x #justanotherlinky

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ShoeboxofM says:

      It really struck me when I had watched my daughter spend ages circling a group of kids she was clearly desperate to play with. By the time she approached them to join in they were getting ready to leave.

      Thanks for commenting and sharing your fears here too.

      Like

  6. Great post. It’s such a huge responsibility bringing up children. Thanks for linking up to #justanotherlinky xx

    Liked by 1 person

  7. A really lovely post. I agree that I wouldn’t want my little boy to grow up like me. I try and do everything I can to ensure that doesn’t happen which also pushes some of my boundaries and definitely tests my limits. This is obviously a positive step and great that we all are doing what is best for our children #justanotherlinky

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ShoeboxofM says:

      Thanks for commenting. I hadn’t really thought about this before becoming a parent. I was more scared of the prospect of teaching bad habits that it hadn’t occurred to me I could and should change them!

      Even with pushing boundaries the boundaries are still there, it’s just trying to take the edge off.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Sophie says:

    My experience is similar and I find myself checking the way I behave and second guessing all the time.
    It’s demoralising and tiring but it’s necessary, sadly. I think you’re doing an amazing job. As long as you’ve self awareness, you’re one step ahead.
    Sophie x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ShoeboxofM says:

      Thanks for commenting and the words of support. It’s a tricky balance between second guessing and paralysing analysis and I’m still trying to find it!

      Like

  9. Absolutely! Children learn by modelling and that is something I have learnt along the parenting journey as well. And I remembered the day my children also asked me the same questions I usually ask them when I was going through a bad experience. I was thinking they are watching me and learning from me. I have to walk the talk, even though it was scary and so so so difficult and it was so much easier to take the other route. What a thought provoking and well written post! Thanks for the mention too.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Mrs Tubbs says:

    This is a hard one. Children pick up some behaviours from their parents, but they also come with some things that uniquely them. The Tubblet is more sociable than I am, loves sport, is good at Lego etc. It’s hard though. As a parent you don’t want them to face some of the issues you faced growing up. But you need to let them find their own way and make their own mistakes. If you figure that one out, let me know 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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