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December 27, 2021

My Parents Messed Up, and I Wanna Do Better

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.

Growing up, we tend to idealize our parents. They are our heroes, the ones we admire and aspire to be like when we’re all grown up. But as we get older, we begin to realize that our parents have flaws, too. They aren’t some perfect beings that always do or say the right thing. They don’t have any superpowers, and they definitely don’t know the right answer to everything. Of course, this is something we don’t notice when we’re still youngsters. To us, they’re the epitome of everything that’s right, and nothing could convince us otherwise.

The thing is, our parents – like every other human being who’s walked the earth – make mistakes from time to time. And it’s not like they want to make these mistakes on purpose. But sometimes, their parenting instincts don’t exactly lead them to making the right decisions. This is when problems start to arise.

Like many of us, I too, would like to turn back time and change particular things that my parents said or did. But since I can’t really do that, I figured I’d share a couple of things I’m not going to do as I prepare to take on the role of a mother.

The burden of unrealistic expectations

Many parents fall into the trap of raising a child they’ve always wanted. At least this was the case with my parents. Growing up, I felt the constant pressure to live up to my parents’ expectations. That’s not to say that having ambitions and goals in life is a bad thing. In fact, they’re necessary as they give us direction and a sense of purpose in life.

The thing is, my parents’ goals weren’t my goals. This has led to the overwhelming feeling that I was never good enough, nor was anything that I did. And truth be told, that pressure never really disappeared. Even today I still find myself criticizing myself and overthinking my every move, and it’s definitely not something I want to burden my own child with.

The perfection paralysis

With pressure to be the child that my parents always wanted came the need for perfection. The high aspirations they had for me turned me into someone who’d get anxious just at the thought of failing. This immobilizing anxiety and fear developed into the perfection paralysis, something I struggle with even today.

Fortunately, I’ve managed to take control of this overwhelming need for perfection. And I’m not going to lie – it did take me some time until I realized how important it is to make room for in our lives. I have found freedom through failure, and intend to help my future child do the same.

Underestimating potential problems

Not all problems are created equal. While some things can be brushed off, others require parents’ attention and should not be taken lightly. However, my parents often couldn’t tell what is or isn’t a problem. They’d either overestimate a small problem or underestimate what happened to be a more serious issue. The only thing worse than this is not trying to fix a particular problem, especially if there are steps you could take to prevent certain things from happening.

As a soon-to-be parent, I realize that addressing problems is just as important as knowing how to distinguish them. Whether that means exploring different Stem Cell Storage options to ensure my future child’s health or working with particular health professionals to help fix the issue at hand, taking actionable steps is a must. Learning how to identify challenges and successfully overcome them is an inevitable part of parenting. Both are equally important, and I want my child to understand that as well.

Absence of rules and boundaries

When I was younger, I always aspired to be the parent that lets their children do whatever they wanted. I thought if I did that, they’d see me as a friend instead of a grumpy parent who’s always nagging them and telling them what they can and can’t do. But as I grew older, I realized how important having rules and limits in place is. After all, children aren’t adults, so why would we treat them as if they were?

Not only does setting boundaries create the predictability all children crave, but it also teaches them how to stay safe. Sometimes, that’ll involve creating certain rules and limiting choices. Other times, it’ll mean coming up with particular schedules and sticking to a specific routine. Whatever it is, having particular boundaries in place will help a child navigate their days more easily. They’ll know what to expect, and we – the parents – will be setting a healthy foundation for the future.

Wrapping up

As much as we try to avoid them, mistakes are bound to happen at one point or another. I can’t really change the fact that my parents messed up. What I can do, though, is decide I want to do better and learn from their mistakes. After all, they are there to help us grow. And as long as we treat them as valuable lessons to learn from, there’s always a possibility for growth.

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