Sunday, September 11, 2011

Making Changes

I've just finished reading the September/October issue of MomSense magazine and a great article called "Changing Directions" by Sharon A. Hersh (  She writes all about how to parent differently than you were raised.  She says:
"Researchers have discovered that the single most important predictor of how we will parent is how we were parented as a child.  It's as if we have a GPS programmed in our brains that directs us in our parenting.  This can be a blessing if we learned to respond with patience and encouragement.  But it can be a curse if our internal programming directs us to yell and to criticize."
Her article is very encouraging, with helpful suggestions to those who wish to parent differently than they may have been.  One of the lovely things is that is it not one of those "bash your parents" articles, either.  Rather, it is asking us to take a long, hard look at our own parenting and make changes if needed.

I have seen first hand that this CAN be done.  The examples I have seen in my family's history lead me to believe that I can change and be the kind of mommy I choose to be.  For example:
  • My Grammy's mother was a bitter, controlling woman.  She used guilt to attempt to get her children to do what she wanted them to do.  She didn't even go to her daughter's weddings because "they were leaving her".  Grammy didn't like that side of her mother's personality and decided not to emulate it.  As a result, my Grammy was a positive person who never tried to control her family, just guide them, if they needed help. 
  • Momma Bear's mom (my Mimi) is a complainer.  If you call Mimi, pull up a chair, because she's going to tell you all about her ailments for a LONG time, in a most dramatic fashion.  And if you call her, she's going to tell you who all hasn't been calling her lately (funny phone she has, only takes incoming calls, apparently she can't call out....).  Momma Bear has some crap stuff in her life that would be complain-worthy, but she doesn't gripe.  She does what has to be done and goes on.
  • Big Poppa's mom (Engineer's Mammaw) tried to be controlling.  From her nursing home, she attempted to boss around her entire family.  The Engineer and I went to see her a few days after returning from our honeymoon and took her a chocolate pie.  Her response was "Now you can come back every week and bring more pie".  Her domineering attitude guaranteed her few visitors.  Big Poppa lets his family do what they want.  He has plenty of advice, to be sure, but bossing isn't his style.
All of this gives me hope.  When I look back at a day where I lost my temper too quick, raised my voice too often, threatened instead of taught and spanked instead of using a time out, I remember.  I remember those before me who fought to be different, and I know that someday, I will be too.

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