Imagine when you’re born, you automatically had the necessary skills to be an amazing parent with a short learning curve. Things like feeding your baby, changing diapers, teaching them to talk and ride a bike. Badda bing, badda boom, you’re off to the races!
You weren’t taught, you learned.
From the time you were born, you’ve been absorbing what’s ‘normal’ in parent/child relationships, even when you didn’t agree. You were a blank slate with nothing to compare to so it ALL registered as ‘normal’. Everything your parents did, how they treated you and each other, which they learned from their parents.
Learning passed down for generations is a positive thing from cultural traditions and family norms (quirks!) that make who you are and where you came from special and unique. Until it’s not.
‘When you know better, you do better.’ – Maya Angelou
Your parents aren’t bad or evil. They were did the best they could with what they learned. Thanks to decades of relationship and psychology study, we know that previous parenting methods using fear, shame, manipulation, coercion, threats, and ultimatums to create higher levels of control, compliance and behaviour modification can have long term negative impact including varying levels of emotional trauma.
Why does parenting your teen feel so hard then?
There’s still no training for the hardest job in the world so we’re left to repeat what we learned. Not because you’re not intelligent or don’t want to change, because your brain is wired to repeat what you learned when you were young. Just like pressing play on your favorite VHS, your brain rein acts words and behaviour patterns from your unconscious mind without skipping a beat.
Your teen is growing up at a very different time in the world than when you were a teen making the gap between what you learned and what they need feel even bigger.
How do you change then?
Uncovering generational and parenting beliefs is the first module in my Empowered Parent Mastermind Program and it’s always very insightful! Courageous parents go through a series or questions to bring their unconscious learning of ‘normal’ out on paper and create their own assessment of what’s working and what’s not.
Sometimes, that’s the big A-HA and shift begins and other times, there’s healing required. I’m here to tell you it’s possible without blaming or berating your parents, waiting for them to ‘take responsibility’ for their actions or deliver some life changing apology.
It’s not fast, nor is it for the faint of heart. Uncovering my monsters, seeing how they’ve been trying to keep me safe for years, then thanking them to begin releasing them has been hard and humbling. It’s also been the process that’s deepened my compassion for myself and others, allowing for more connection than I thought possible.
Here’s some signs you may be carrying emotional trauma
- People pleasing and constantly trying to earn approval
- Abandoning yourself (Values, beliefs, desires) to feel loved
- Difficulty setting boundaries or saying no
- Allowing yourself to be treated poorly and believing ‘that’s just how relationships are’
- Hypervigilance, being overly critical or judgemental
- Denying your feelings to put on a smile until you blow, often without warning, and feeling guilty after
- Perfectionism and procrastination cycles
- Lack of emotional regulation when you feel out of control
- Unrealistic expectations and difficulty forgiving (holding grudges)
It all starts with curiosity to create awareness and it’s the first step in changing your relationship with your teen. You don’t have to do this alone.
Join me for a LIVE Q&A in my private parenting community on Facebook for answers to your specific questions and challenges, so you experience meaningful changes faster!