This post does not apply to everyone.
This is not a post for parents who came from loving homes. Who had firm, but flexible limits set for them. Who did not experience a parent with chemical dependency, mental illness, chronic illness or a host of many other problems that would affect their parent's ability to raise them.
This message is for those parents who are now adults that came from families where a parent was absent or emotionally detached or abusive or cruel or did not provide the level of care a child needed to grow up healthy.
I am writing to those parents to offer a word of encouragement. Even though you may have been significantly impacted by inadequate parenting, it does not have to define how you parent today. You likely face many challenges. You don't have a good model to work from. You are likely very aware of what you shouldn't do as a parent but aren't always so clear about what you need to do as a parent. You may feel like you lack a road map on how to best manage your child's behavior.
Know that change is possible. You will likely need the support of others to help in this process. That could range from friends who are modeling good parenting practices to the help of a professional who can help grow those skills within you.
Take the long term view with this. You will likely go through struggle and pain as you try to parent differently than you were raised. There is something courageous though about a parent who makes a conscious decision to parent better than the way they were raised. This decision often leads to the willpower to parent consciously instead of parenting much like their parents had done.
Keep in mind your child in this process. You are helping to change what might be generational patterns of ineffective parenting. It is important that you give yourself grace in this process because you will make mistakes. You will catch yourself acting like your parents. The key is to be aware of this and make a conscious decision to shift what you are doing to something that is more helpful. Doing this will help set the stage for your child being much more effective in their parenting because you will be helping to draw up a road map that will be easier to follow the one you had.Their journey as a parent will be eased by the role modeling you provided
Will it be hard? Sure it will. When that happens, push forward and remember the legacy your are leaving your family. Your grandchildren will thank you for it.