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It’s a Choice

June 27th, 2011 by Jessica Kim Founder and CEO, BabbaCo

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?

Last comment: Jul 7th 2011 3 Comments
  • Helen O. says:

    Great post and clip! I have a two kids (4 and 1) and I definitely see myself acting as each of parents (in varying ways) as parenthood progress for me. It’s an interesting thought and definitely true that your upbringing sculpts the person (And parent) you become, but its not always realized until later in life. Looking forward to future topics…

  • Parker says:

    This is interesting, mainly becuase all parants are different. I’m not a parant yet but I Have watched over my nieces and nephews. @ Racheal: I think your kids are at a pitvtal moment at there ages,and your five year old reminds me of me when iw as his age. I can tell you he has a strong gift to become the next van gaough someday, But not to apply presure. Since they are still very young I think you can probley enforce a “time rule” saying that the kids can watch about an hour of tv like sesme street. then they should get into the habbit of reading books. I agree with you that books should be a number one priorty that in this age of machines, peopele seem pretty much less focus on lots of things, like imagiton for example. The only place & time i see imagation at its best is when i take the kids to school once in a while,and when i do my animation and art with some friends. or when i see a few pixar films,other then that, the world seems pretty bland and peopel seem more plug in. I can say that two thigns a child does is A) imatate EVERYTHING their parants do at a young age and B) Feel nelglected when there parants don;t pay attention to them and are bussy on the phone. you are also rigtht that freedom is good with proper guidence. My mother is very balance, shes strict on me when she needs to be (which is rare) but also can be lax. I think it also depends on your own style becuase remember “parenthood is an adventure in the makings filed with lies up’s & downs. It was really makes the world go around.”

  • Rachel says:

    Interesting post. This triggered a lot of different thoughts as I struggle with breaking the mold my parents raised me in. When I was younger they allowed me to be my own person and I turned out to be “normal”. However, there are certain things that I wish I worked harder at and could’ve used more guidance from my parents. In turn, I am trying to guide my kids to be more intentional about reading and really help them sharpen their natural talents. My five year old boy likes to draw a lot and I have to admit his drawings are beyond average. He doesn’t require me to tell him how to draw something, he just draws and after time I begin to see vast improvements month after month. I’d love for him to use this skill to his advantage one day. As for my other son who is 7, he showed a lot of interest in a toy piano at a very early age. This led us to sign him up for piano lessons and he actually looks forward to each lesson! We know he’s a long way from being a prodigy, but we think it’s important for us to continue nurturing his drive for as long as he enjoys it. Of course there are days that both boys show no interest in drawing or piano, but no matter what, they always come full circle within a matter of hours. Reading on the other hand is not their priority and we would like to see them pick up books without our direction, however, this is where I have to be more pro-active and take them to the library or build our book collection at home and read together with them as an activity. Freedom is good, but with proper guidance, I do think it could be great.