This might be more meaningful if you’re a parent, but I’m going to try to frame it for those who aren’t parents as well.
I truly do hear my mother come out of my mouth, sometimes several times a day. In addition to things I say, there are standards I set and methods I use that are the same as standards and methods she used. There are also those that differ from those she used.
Some things stem from a personality difference between myself and my mom, such as the fact that I try to keep a very structured day. I find without a schedule (which I also keep flexible, in the interest of balance), I tend to feel chaotic and disorganized; and I seem to be slightly OCD about having organization.
Some things come from the fact that my kids have very different needs than my brothers and I had. They need the structure that a well-planned day affords. They also require much more defined, black and white expectations and guidelines, to the point that they force me to set “rules” (I kind of hate that word) for the tiniest things at times, when I’d much rather they exercise common sense and allow me to give them more freedom. (For the record, when I have to rein them in for a time, we come back later on and try giving them the privilege(s) back – sometimes again and again – with the hope that they will learn from the previous lack of sensibility and exercise their freedoms more judiciously.)
A lot of differences are born of knowledge. We know a lot more about a lot more than we did when I was a kid. We didn’t hear much about “organic” and “non-GMO” when I was a kid – though we did get raw milk from some farmer friends of ours for awhile (I hated it). My mom DID make sure we ate healthy foods; she cooked every day, and we always had proteins, fruits, vegetables, and complex carbohydrates, with very few sweets – the ones we did have were almost always homemade – and hardly any junk food or soda. We almost never ate out; when we did it was a great treat. This is an area where sameness and differences go hand in hand; because of the example my mom set, I find it important to feed my children healthy meals. The difference is I buy as much organic produce as I can, we avoid GMOs like the plague, and several of my children (and myself) are gluten free to address non-celiac health issues.
There wasn’t much in the way of “awareness” in my childhood; you knew a lot about something if it personally touched your life or the life of someone close to you, but otherwise, “out of sight out of mind” was a lot more prevalent than it is now (in my opinion). For example, I have two adopted cousins, and I babysat for a foster family who was part of our church and school; but autism and juvenile diabetes and Trisomy 13 didn’t hold much meaning for me. I knew there were teens “out there somewhere” who used drugs, but I wasn’t going to, so I didn’t really care. Now, with all the knowledge and awareness, I seek to educate my children to be more open-minded and aware of what is going on in the world. I also strive to view my children with an open mind and the knowledge that their needs may (and do) vary greatly, both from each other and from their peers.
Sometimes, I just don’t agree with the way my parents handled things. That’s not to say I think they were bad parents; they were far from it. It’s just to acknowledge that no one – myself especially – is perfect, and that we can make the most of the past by learning from it and changing things for the better.
And the things I do the same? I recognize the value in my mom’s decisions and the outcomes of those decisions. I also greatly appreciate that I have some experience to fall back on when I find myself in a parenting situation that I have never been in before, or a situation where I have tried so many different things and none of them have worked. Sometimes I think I’m at a complete impasse, and it dawns on me that I didn’t try my mom’s approach yet. And when you have Little People with all sorts of backgrounds and histories coming through your home, sometimes at unexpected times, you are grateful to have as much experience as you can in your corner, even if it’s someone else’s experience.
So what do you do that your parents did?
What do you do differently from what your parents did?
- If you’re a parent, what do you do as a parent that your parents did when you were a kid?
- What do you intentionally not do because it was something they did, for whatever reason?
- If you’re not a parent, what mannerisms or habits do you do/not do that they do/did?