Do your Parents Meet the Ideal Standard?

This post was written by Rhonda Wasserman

Original content by Ashley Berges

How we think about our parents is influenced by how we are raised, and our parental programming. 

Society has an unwritten definition of what a parent should be. A mother should be doting, and available to take the children whenever and where ever they need to go. A father should be there for his children, always encouraging them in whatever way possible. 

What happens if we did not get this from our parents? What if we are still not getting this from our parents? 

It is very challenging when a parent, who is supposed to be your number one advocate, is not supporting you. Often, they can be just the opposite, talking behind your back and putting you down.

We need to separate the parent definition from who our parents are. Take a step back and instead of calling them mom or dad, in our minds, we must begin to see them as individuals, not as our parents. We should try using their first name. Change their names in your phone from mom and dad to their first name. This will allow you to start seeing them as individuals. Consequently, this can be very helpful because when we are dealing with a challenging parent and they are saying hurtful things, we can separate what we think they should be and the idea that they are individuals. 

Understanding what the definition of parenting is and how to let go of it from our programming is a critical first step. We must see our parents as individuals with good, bad, and indifferences. It is important to understand that they have their way of doing things based on the way that they were raised as children. Overall, most of us have never dealt with our programming, we just continue the cycle and pass it on to the next generation. 

It is time to see our parents as individuals who can do whatever they want. What our parents do, does not relate to our values.

Many of us have had excellent parental experiences. Those of us who did not have a positive upbringing may realize that this does apply to us. Therefore, as adults we need to try and see this upbringing for what it was. We must learn to communicate with our parents for whom they are, not who we want them to be. 

Some of us put our parents on a pedestal, holding them to a high level. We want them to do all the “things” a parent should do. Unfortunately, not all parents are capable or want to do what we want them to. As a result, this can be heartbreaking because when you believe a parent should be acting one way and they are doing something else it can be very challenging and hurtful. At times it may be interpreted as you not being a good enough child and they do not care enough about you for them to do things for you. These thoughts are based on the programming of what we think a parent should be based on society’s definition. 

We need to go back into our programming from when we were raised and look at the parental dynamics. Did you have a mother who was absent, always busy? Was your mother overbearing? How did this dynamic make you feel about mothers in general? How about your father? Was your father home? Did he leave your mother to raise you? Was your father always at work? How did that leave you feeling about the father’s role in families? 

The programming we have grown up with goes into our thought processes as adults. This affects how we see things when considering getting married or having children. It may cause us to fear and worry that we may become our parents. Therefore, we must understand parental programming. When we start seeing the programming, we can realize that not all men and women are going to be like our parents, and we can acknowledge some of our programming. 

Start putting some emotional distance in the fact that we don’t have to identify our parents as mom and dad. They can be defined as individuals. Be able to see this individuality when they have done and do things, it is not directly reflective of our values.  

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