Are parenting styles hereditary?
AnswerIn looking at the way my clients were raised, and then exploring the way their parents were raised by the previous generation, it is often apparent that parenting is hereditary. Tragically, many people repeat destructive patterns of their childhood with their own children, acting out of suppressed feelings.
Some parenting is primitive and harsh. Children may be treated in the same brutal way as the parents were. The punitive treatment may be unconscious; it is all that is known.
Parents do not always question why a child is behaving in a particular way. They react to behaviour that feels intolerable. Some of the values and ways of treating children have been passed down through the generations, often unconsciously. It is for this reason I like to work with young people before they have children so they can avoid repeating old patterns.
An adolescent who grows up without a supportive adult in her life may find it hard to have a sense of her own worth. In my experience, the supportive adult doesn't have to be a parent (although that of course is preferable). One relative or adult who is able to offer unconditional love and support can be enough. Some people's lives are changed by the attention and care offered by a sensitive teacher.
Those who are unfortunate in having no one who can offer this degree of care can turn their lives around if they seek counselling, preferably before marrying unwisely and perpetuating the cycle. Sometimes a counsellor's role is to be a 'parent' to a client.
Through committing to counselling, clients can understand the past, integrate their experience and make positive choices.
Search result for 'parenting' in The Longest Journey finding the true self
Chapter 1: Childhood Revisited
"...While many people grow up having had their emotional needs met by good parenting, even in the best of families things can go wrong. Normal life stresses including illness, unemployment, divorce and death can affect the stability of a family and place a child under stress. On occasion, even with the best intentions, parents fail to meet a child’s needs. At other times, ..."
"...Some parents work hard to preserve an outward appearance of good, loving parenting but behave differently behind closed doors, as Jo described: ‘My mother was always nice in front of other people and I started to dislike her. When I was a teenager she tried to get close to me and encouraged me to confide in her but I couldn’t. I have ..."
"...greatly. Jo said she had begun to discuss with her mother the sadness of her early years. At times she found herself becoming irritable and annoyed with her son, but she was able to recognise it as an old pathway and not the one she wanted for her own parenting. She had another role model firmly in mind. ..."
"...for every child. Each one has to focus his or her energy on surviving on a daily basis. In the pages of this book are the stories of two pairs of sisters, clients I saw at different times. Their stories differ greatly. No two children experience exactly the same parenting. ..."135.
"... ‘I was never parented by anyone. I had to take care of myself throughout my childhood, as well as my two sisters’. - parenting is hereditary - In exploring the way my clients’ parents were raised by the previous generation, often what is apparent is that they too were ..."
"...In exploring the way my clients’ parents were raised by the previous generation, often what is apparent is that they too were deprived of love and security growing up. Tragically, many repeat the same destructive patterns with their own children, acting out of suppressed feelings. Some parenting is primitive and harsh. Children may be treated in the same brutal way as the parents were. The punitive treatment may be unconscious; it is all that is known. I have spoken to a number of parents who cannot recall beating their children while the children, now adult, remember ..."
"...Many parents fall into parenting in the same way that they were parented, often unconsciously, which is why it is so important to address childhood wounding before repeating the pattern with the next generation. As a parent it is horrifying to hear yourself sounding exactly like your mother or father did when you were ..."164.
"... to improve the quality of their children’s lives. Thankfully many men and women find parenting an immensely enjoyable and rewarding experience. They are fortunate, as are their children and their children’s children. If parents fail to offer unconditional love and support, does ..."
"...available before embarking on becoming a parent and no test to determine suitability for bringing children into the world. It is hard to know, before experiencing it, whether you are really suited to having children. Perhaps child welfare payments should be awarded only after both parents have completed sound parenting training. ..."
"...Children who are blessed with good parenting and a trauma free childhood are likely to become confident adults, with a strong sense of self and the ability to deal with difficult situations in an effective manner. They are unlikely to seek (or to need) long term counselling. I can recall a number of clients over the ..."
"...Sexual abuse is an uncomfortable topic to write about; in our society it is still a taboo subject, rarely discussed. It is rarely addressed, even in books on parenting. And even in books on shame. To fail to mention the sexual abuse of children, (which includes a number of my clients) would be cowardly, however, and would distort the picture of what it means to be a child in our society. ..."
Chapter 3: The girl becomes a woman
"...women, the damage to their self-esteem occurred in early adolescence. Family trauma such as death or divorce had a big impact and the young girl believed she had to deal with her distress alone. In most cases, her feelings and response to the trauma were ignored. In their families, parenting styles differed, but in nearly every case my client had been denied the opportunity to get the help she needed and to express her feelings, particularly if these were perceived as negative. Clearly most of the parents were not comfortable with their own emotions and chose to ignore them, ..."
"...In reflecting on the eight women, it is apparent that what they shared was not only the lack of confidence and self-esteem as a result of their early experience of inadequate parenting. They also shared a strong belief that there was a different path open to them if only they could discover what it was. They were hopeful that counselling could offer a new way of being in the world. They wanted to know and to like themselves and to be ..."
"...had to start a new life far from home. In some cases the parents were unable to adjust to a different culture and chose to preserve the values of the one they had left. No doubt in their country of origin society has changed and relaxed over time and parenting styles have softened. For the children growing up in Australia, it was difficult to reconcile the two cultures, often feeling they fitted in to neither. How do you find a place for yourself with no role model? To get on in this country, the younger generation needed to embrace ..."
"...is resilient and will get over the painful experience in time. One often hears the words ‘Children are resilient’. I believe the truth is that children are good at concealing their feelings and appearing as though they are fine. Adults often choose to cover over the wound of poor parenting and pretend to the world that all is well and their child is being parented adequately. But the emotional upset of neglect or abuse does not go away; it is stored in the body and in the child’s unconscious. In adulthood it is this suppressed pain, experienced as anxiety ..."
"...to other, newly discovered areas of exploration. While I’m still a slightly anxious person, it’s nothing like the debilitating affliction I suffered for all those years. I can now see where the anxiety comes from and the reasons behind it: loss, abandonment and a lack of nurturing and proper parenting. Counselling has made me feel so much more comfortable with these things. I can now think about my mother’s death without feeling a deep sense of shame and hurt.’ ..."
Chapter 4: The boy becomes a man
"...Michael is one of those young people who simply needed some positive guidance, as he had been denied solid parenting in his teens. It would obviously have been quite easy for Michael to follow the fathering model of his family and to deprive his own son of a father. Fortunately for Michael and his son, a new pattern has been laid down. Men also return and stay to be ..."
"...If one considers the diverse history of two people attempting to make a life together under one roof, the statistics around failed marriages are hardly surprising. Often the partners have emerged from different parenting styles, and possibly diverse cultures, as illustrated in previous chapters. A couple may have very different expectations in terms of what they hope for in a relationship or marriage. What does ‘a happy marriage’ actually mean to each one? Clearly the clients whose lives are discussed in the previous ..."
Chapter 9: Join the living and let your dead go
"...by clients as a hollow feeling in their chest. Following the death of a parent, a child inevitably looks to the other parent for reassurance. Several clients described the way their surviving parent succumbed to alcohol or drugs to deal with grief and as a result were incapable of parenting their children. A number of men and women I have worked with, whose mother or father died when they were teenagers, were offered no help at all. Family and friends avoided speaking of their parent in front of them. ..."