What does “family” mean? What is a relationship with a mom like? We all have two definitions or perceptions of these things. The first is what we feel is “normal” or “ideal” from what we watch on TV (well, before the ‘reality TV’ craze). The other definition is what you personally grew up with. It’s so interesting how, in the clip below, Bethenny Frankel (of Bravo’s “Bethenney Ever After“) admits that she didn’t realize how negative her childhood was until now, when has a child of her own and can understand what is possible. Growing up as a child, that was her reality and it was somewhat okay at that time.
We all grew up in a certain way driven by how our parents raised us. It has a huge impact! My dad was a psychiatrist, so you can imagine how over protective he could be after hearing countless stories of how a soul or self-image could be damaged. I was never allowed to go to sleepovers because he was afraid that a neighbor could sexually abuse us. He wouldn’t let us get one of the artist-drawn portraits at the carnivals, where they exaggerate facial features for a comical effect because he thought it would make us self-conscious about our slitty eyes or overblown noses. Everything was taken so seriously sometimes and I just wanted to bust out and enjoy!
Well, as a parent of a 4-year-old daughter and a 16-month-old son, it’s now my choice. I can take what I appreciated from my childhood, but make a choice of how I want to parent.
I have a lot of friends who had Tiger Moms (hey, I’m Asian after all). It’s very interesting to see how they now approach being moms themselves. Some rebel and completely want their kids to get “F’s” in class and just enjoy life. Others are turning into their Tiger Moms with 3-year-old violin prodigies. The interesting thing is that they both feel like that is their way of showing love. We do what we know. We know what we grew up with. But, it’s a CHOICE.
Do you feel like your childhood shapes the way you parent? Did you choose to emulate what you grew up with or intentionally go against it? Are you your mom or dad?