Parenting Truths 13: The past is your ally

All of us had childhoods. Those of us who were lucky want to replicate a lot of what the people who took care of us did, or build on it. Others who weren't so lucky want to do everything differently. Most people want to do something in between what happened to us.

This means that the past is our biggest help, because it's our biggest teacher. You know what happens when you treat a child the way you were treated under the conditions you were raised in--you're the outcome of that treatment. (If you have any siblings who were treated the same way, they're the outcome of that treatment, too.) If you account for the differences between your childhood situation and your children's situation, you can predict what will happen to your children if you treat them the same way you were treated. And you can adjust your parenting from that to get the results that you want tot get.

The past can hurt and be hard to confront. But it's the best information you have about how children grow and develop, so it's worth putting in the time and analysis and friction to consider carefully how you were raised and how that affected you.

You can choose any future you want. But only if you look at the past with clear eyes and learn the lessons it teaches you. You and your kids are worth it.