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It is always interesting to me to think about the things we try to instill on our children through our parenting. Where does it come from? Where do we find the inspiration to just keep moving forward? How do we decide what our technique of the moment will be? Most likely, we take into account all the generations of parenting we have witnessed.

We all get overwhelmed

There comes those nights where everyone is overwhelmed. Where everyone seems to just need a recharge. The kids feel overwhelmed and the parents feel overworked. It is almost like everyone is just over it. The pressures of life start to get to you in ways you can’t really even put into words. The family gets a little snappy with each other. Sarcasm is rolling at full tilt. 

Fortunately, we are blessed with some amazing children. They are so well behaved and so good natured. We never really have to deal with huge issues. The kids seem to get along well with their peers. They don’t bully but instead seem to rise up over the bully’s and make them insignificant in their world. They seek to educate and amuse those around them. But, we all get fed up with the world around us at times.As a parent, you just seem to know when the whole family needs to just chill. 

Kids put a lot of stress on themselves

Our kids (and I bet many others) put a huge amount of stress on themselves. They strive for perfection at every turn. None of them can stand to defy us, they don’t want to disappoint anyone. They truly seem to be in touch with everything around them and seem to just want peace and harmony at all times. They seem to have a deep desire to get it right, all the time. But, as kids often do, they don’t get it right perfectly. They need to be redirected or inspired to go in a different direction. And, at the same time, they need to be reassured that it is okay; it is alright that they didn’t get it right. They need to be loved through the issues. They need to feel supported in their learning and in their growth. 

Reality Based Parenting

We as parents have a responsibility to educate them. Brian and I tend to be reality based parents. We don’t hold back much in our teachings. Personally, I tend to talk about my own past a lot, mainly to show my kids they are not alone. I tend to talk with my kids about how we are growing together. I can relate to them because I am learning along side them. We are both growing and becoming better people every single day.  When I tell them I am learning to be mother just as they are learning to be men and I tell them I am not perfect but they accept me in my flaws, they seem to get it. They seem to relate to and appreciate their imperfections. 

As we are talking about our ups and downs and highs and lows, as we are discussing the pressures that exist and the expectations that are on us. I can’t help but think about my parents and their parents and all the other generations before me. I know what my mother was like as a parent but I have a small idea of how my grandmother was. Certainly, I have no real idea what her mother was like and I have not a clue what her mother’s mother’s father was like. But, I can still appreciate the generations of parenting in my lineage.

Change what you want

I do however, know there are things my mother and father did that I don’t want to repeat. Also, I know there are things that will not continue on with my parenting. I have even come to appreciate most of their lessons and their teachings and I find myself using them as lessons with my own children.

Sometimes, I imagine that my own mother had these same thoughts when she was young with two boys and a baby girl. I am sure she had moments of clarity in her parenting when she saw her mother in herself and she either chose to change it or she chose to try and perfect it.

My grandmother, with her twin daughters, must have had moments much like this. In fact, with each generation, these parenting traits are either passed down and made better or crippled and eliminated.  We all can take time to understand the generations of parenting, if we want to.

Talk to your kids

I love to talk to my kids about how one day, they to will be faced with this. They will get to look back on their mom and dad and decide what they want to keep going as parents. They will decide what they get to use as lessons and they also will get to decide what they didn’t enjoy about our parenting and they will have the option to never do those things. The honest and raw conversation has been eye opening, both as a parent and as a child. 

I always walk away from these epic family talks with a sense of wonder, a sense of being and a sense of joy. I can always see a new light on my kids faces as we say goodnight. It is truly amazing to think of where these conversations take the kids. They know they are not alone, that their parents are imperfect and they have a real taste of reality to bring them back to where we are in life.  I hope when they think of the generations of parenting they have a more realistic viewpoint then I used to.

When thinking about where our family is on the grand scale of our gigantic family tree, I think we would make all the generations before us proud and I feel confident the generations that have yet to come will learn many lessons from us. I also know for certain, there will be things our children won’t want to pass down. There will be things we have done that will end with us.We are just one set of parents among many generations and all we can do is put our best foot forward. 

What have you changed in your own family? Do you think about the generations of parenting in your own life?

If you like this post, you may also enjoy our post about How to Beat the Rinse and Repeat Blues.

The Pew Reasearch Center has some interesting statistics on their page – Parenting styles across generations.