What happens when parents malfunction? A total chain reaction equal to that of one atomic bomb set off by another, but at a much slower pace. If you think about the dynamics here, along with the repercussions you can surmise that one is only as good or bad as those by which they were or were not raised. There are rare instances of individuals who swear they will not be the kind of parent(s) that they were raised by and, occasionally that is the case. You CAN be the one to break the mold, but more times than not this will entail you fighting your very soul to change yourself enough that you can accomplish this feat. It didn't start with you, but it can end with you.
I was determined to raise my son in a healthy environment and I feel I was able to just that. I did most things opposite of the way my parents did. I didn't drink large amounts of alcohol every day and night. I didn't come home at late hours and ask my son to fend for himself for meals. I didn't smoke. I didn't fight in front of my son. I did praise him when he did well so that he could possess immense self-confidence. I didn't silence him. I told him it was great to cry when he wanted to so he could release stress. I made myself available any time he wanted to talk. I listened. I displayed his drawings with pride. I didn't ignore him. I told him I loved him so many times a day that he could never have doubted the fact. I taught him to be a leader, not a follower. I hugged him so much that he never lacked human contact. I didn't hide things from him--he asked a question, he received an honest and straight-forward answer. Are there things from my upbringing that managed to slip through the cracks and onto my son? Most definitely, much to my chagrin. When stress was tough on me and he needed correcting, I tongue-lashed him, sometimes on and on for hours. Did this crush his self-esteem? I have to believe that it did to a point. I spanked him (only on the butt) when he was really out of line (which wasn't often) and I slapped his face the few times he mouthed off to me in a very disrespectful way.
I have to say with regards to raising my son, I feel, especially as a single parent his entire life, that he turned out really well and has a unique point of view and the aged wisdom of an old soul. I'm so proud of him. However, there are times, more-so lately, that I am noticing a void in his emotional armory, something I neglected to pass onto him that is so vital in today's world--coping skills. Wow, how did that happen?
Despite the hurdles I managed to limp over during my own childhood, it comes as no surprise that I brought no coping skills with me to adulthood. Why? The obvious answer is that I wasn't taught any. If I cried my father would say, "Stop that," or "Go to your room until you can stop that shit. I don't want to hear it." If I had a problem and needed someone to talk to about it I was told by one or both parents, "Well, we'll talk about it later," and of course later never came. When I was scared and unsure of myself my father used to say things like, "Suck it up," or "Just do it." REALLY? I have forgiven my father over the years, long after he died, because I knew he was raised by some messed up people, who were raised by messed up people, who were also raised by messed up people who were raised by messed up people. I traced my family tree on both sides and my father's family tree was riddled with blight and root rot. It's a wonder to me as to how this diseased tree didn't completely die off generations ago.
If you have children now or will be having children in the future and if you know you were raised in an unhealthy emotional and/or physical manner... I urge you to seek counseling if you can afford it. If you cannot afford it there are help groups for whatever your problem may be, i.e. alcoholism, drug use, anger, physical abuse, sexual abuse, and the list goes on. Remember, the fact that you were raised with parents who malfunctioned, will most certainly mean that you will raise your children in the same manner if you don't make a conscious effort every day to change that. Don't be part of the atomic bomb. You CAN break the cycle, raise healthy children and heal yourself in the process.