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 Post subject: Re: Stuff you promise yourself you'll never do to your kids
PostPosted: Thu Dec 22, 2011 4:20 am 
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Remembers When Veganism Was Cool
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Reading this thread has made me belatedly realise how good my parents were when we were growing up, and how much my siblings and I took it all for granted.

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 Post subject: Re: Stuff you promise yourself you'll never do to your kids
PostPosted: Thu Dec 22, 2011 8:50 am 
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As a parent, this thread doesn't depress me at all. It HAS made me think a lot (both about my own upbringing and that of other people) and has also made me reflect on how I'm doing a pretty okay job so far. Of course, my kid is only 2. It will be years before we learn how we have screwed him up!

The thing about substance abuse and eating disorders is this: you can be in treatment, make great strides, and have a relapse. Both my parents were in treatment for substance abuse before I was born, and several more times since. They have both made progress and had relapses on multiple fronts. I don't blame them for that, that's kind of the nature of addiction. (EDs are similar except in some ways, they're even more insidious-- because as long as your ED doesn't get past a certain point/you hide it well enough, it can be pretty socially acceptable and you can feel very little pressure to GET treatment.)

Honestly, there's all sorts of shiitake I could be mad at my parents for, or that I could feel sorry for myself over, but I'm not mad and I don't feel sorry for myself. While I don't want to put my kid through the same stuff, the experiences I went through growing up made me who I am. I have traits I absolutely wouldn't have if my parents hadn't struggled with things like addiction, and for the most part, they're GOOD traits that I wouldn't trade. And that I wouldn't be sorry to see develop in my kid, just preferrably through some different route.

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 Post subject: Re: Stuff you promise yourself you'll never do to your kids
PostPosted: Thu Dec 22, 2011 9:32 am 
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I agree about not going in the opposite direction on the clean your plate thing (and everything else, really). I don't want to be completely permissive, because supposedly that can make your kid a picky eater. I remember years ago, babysitting my nieces (twins) at 3 and they would insist they wanted hot dogs, so I'd make them hot dogs and then they'd insist no they wanted chicken nuggets, then if I gave them that they'd want waffles, etc. It was just a game. I think if you give in too much to that sort of thing, it would be bad. So like Sofrito, my plan is to offer a variety of healthy foods, of course hopefully things he likes but if he doesn't eat something I make occasionally, I'm not going to bend over backwards and make a million things or give him unhealthy food.

But with him also being skinny, I can totally understand where you're coming from sofrito! Luckily so far he has been eating a lot but if he didn't, I'm sure it would be hard. The thing is, although my memory of it is fuzzy, I'm pretty sure I still didn't clean my plate. I had to sit at the table until I finished it, but I remember sitting at the damn table for what seemed like hours. I think eventually my mom would just have to throw stuff out because I'd sit there forever and just not eat it.

I'm pretty sure my dad was like that because a. he grew up very poor and b. he was in the military. He was always saying how he had to eat whatever was there or nothing. It drove him crazy I was picky. The funny thing is, it probably was because I was destined to be vegan but didn't know it. Even then, I hated meat, and we were a total meat and potatoes family. So sometimes I think things are just inborn.

Mars wrote:
As for what I am conflicted about, it's that I look at personality traits of mine that I don't like, and I try to think of what my parents could have done to cause them, and I'm not sure there was anything they did really. Like I think about how could my child avoid this momentous apathy and procrastination and laziness that I have.


I am a terrible procrastinator and relatively lazy, but my parents are pretty much the polar opposite. My mom never sits down. It drives me up a wall when we hang out even today, because she never sits down or shuts up for 5 seconds. My father is like a robot - his house, car, boat everything is 100% spotless, everything is organized, he gets up early every day, never missed work, etc etc etc. So I've thought about this too, how did I get this way? Interestingly, my brother is lazy like me. I guess it could be that we rebelled, or sometimes I think it may be something social about our generation. But most of all I think for myself, it may just be constitutional. I'm always tired. I never have energy like my mom, so it makes sense I'm not up from dawn till midnight doing chores.

So the point of this super long post is just that although our parents certainly do have huge influences on us, there are also always parts of our personality we can't blame on them. Everything isn't their fault. There is always biology/nature and even social influences at work too.

There was definitely a time in my angsty teenage years that I was super angry at my parents for all of this stuff. But as I matured and started trying to make a life of my own, I saw how hard it is and kind of got some perspective on all of the things they did do right, and learned to appreciate them in a whole new way. Parenting is hard, life is hard, and everyone is forked up somehow. I see now how many sacrifices they made for me, and that they were just doing the best they could. There were also lots of fun times. And it could have been a lot worse - for example, my father was beaten a lot by his father. He never hit me or my brother. He was always a big proponent of taking control of your own destiny and changing, now I know why, because he was able to make his life a lot better than how he grew up. So, I think that's a positive way of thinking about all of this - it is possible to change and improve.

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 Post subject: Re: Stuff you promise yourself you'll never do to your kids
PostPosted: Thu Dec 22, 2011 9:47 am 
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I'm terrified of having kids because I feel like on some level I might accidentally do some things to my kids that my parents did to me. I know that I'm mindful of the abuse I endured and have worked very hard to undo that damage, but on some level I fear that I may pass that legacy of hurt on.

The environment I grew up in was very unsafe, chaotic. Needless to say, I'm an adult who struggles big time with anxiety because I was never given the feeling that the world was generally okay and safe. My whole world was scary.

So, I struggle with the idea of having kids. I'd only ever want them to feel so loved, so respected and nurtured.

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 Post subject: Re: Stuff you promise yourself you'll never do to your kids
PostPosted: Thu Dec 22, 2011 12:58 pm 
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I'm expecting my first, so I've been thinking a lot about this. I was the third child, and by the time I came around, my parents really had just kind of had enough of certain parental tasks. Both of them complained and complained and complained about having to give me rides places, even when I was not old enough to drive, or when I really had no other way of getting where I needed to go. I understand that it's annoying, but they made me feel so bad about being involved in school activities and such, because of their constant complaining about the rides. I don't want my kid to feel that way. I used to have to beg rides off of other parents fairly regularly, which I found hugely embarrassing.

My dad was generally a good parent who had a pretty good understanding of children, while my mom had ridiculous expectations. When it came close to your birthday, she would take you shopping, basically force you to get some boring item like socks, and then while walking out of the store, say, "Happy Birthday." That is one I definitely will not repeat.


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 Post subject: Re: Stuff you promise yourself you'll never do to your kids
PostPosted: Thu Dec 22, 2011 2:56 pm 
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Drunk Dialed Ian MacKaye
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This is a funny thread to me, because I don't even know if I want kids. But I did start going to therapy because I knew I had to, if I am ever going to have kids because my childhood was really messed up in many ways.

My number one priority would definitely be to not give my kids a bad relationship with food. My mom was always on a diet when I was a kid, because she gained so much weight from quitting smoking and being pregnant with my younger sister.
I hope I will never call any foods good or bad. Food is food, and we should eat it because it makes us happy, it makes our bodies work and because it tastes good. And that's it. I don't want my kids to have a messed up relationship with food like I had.

Another very very important thing for me is that my hypothetical kids will never be around adults who are alcoholics or substance abusers.

I will not tell my kids about financial worries, or other adult problems. I have had so much anxiety throughout my life because of my mom being such a worrier.

I will not lie to my kids. I will try to never promise them things I can't keep. I will take responsibility of situations because I am the adult and that's my job.

And I will never make my kids think that the most important thing is them being smart. I was always the best student in my class, and feeling like I had to achieve so much academically was definitely one of the things that kickstarted my self esteem issues, my eating disorder, my anxiety and made me drop out of school just to get away from the pressure. I remember smoking weed and drinking at school to make it through. And I still have a really hard time when I am not the best at everything, after 3 years of intense therapy. My kids will NEVER be paced to be super overachievers. My roommate was also a kid who was forced to do her best always, in order to get love from her parents, and it made her intolerable in a lot of ways. All of her truly ugly sides come from that.


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 Post subject: Re: Stuff you promise yourself you'll never do to your kids
PostPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2012 12:03 am 
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paprikapapaya wrote:
I'm terrified of having kids because I feel like on some level I might accidentally do some things to my kids that my parents did to me.


I think you'd make such a great parent, and you are such a loving and kind woman in such a happy relationship that you would be able to find a way to give your kids love and stability and not repeat errors. All we can do is be mindful and try - I feel like so much hurt came because our parents didnt think about what they were doing.

I am not going to badmouth my spouse to my kid or try and turn her against him. Both my partner and I had one parent that came to us and shared their emotional issues with the other spouse, or told us that life would be better without the other parent etc. Its really shitty.

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 Post subject: Re: Stuff you promise yourself you'll never do to your kids
PostPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2012 4:56 am 
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Tofulish wrote:
I am not going to badmouth my spouse to my kid or try and turn her against him. Both my partner and I had one parent that came to us and shared their emotional issues with the other spouse, or told us that life would be better without the other parent etc. Its really shitty.

OMG, I hated it when my mom talked shiitake on my dad. She did it in front of him, but I liked my dad more than I liked her and it always upset me. My dad never shiitake-talked her (or anyone, practically). Mr. Crabby and I talk shiitake on each other, but in a funny wind-up way. Not in a bisque-y, venting way. (Mr. Crabby's dad is always making fun of MIL and while I dislike MIL, MIL is also too spineless around him to tell him to can it and when I told him to knock it off already, she told me not to bother. He's often funny when he makes fun of her, but he takes it too far sometimes (considering she just sits there and takes it -- I wish she were like that with us instead of naggy and rude!).)

paprikapapaya wrote:
I'm terrified of having kids because I feel like on some level I might accidentally do some things to my kids that my parents did to me.

In my experience, people who worry about not screwing up their kids the way their parents did don't screw up their kids the way their parents did. I'm sure you'll be fine because you care so much!

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 Post subject: Re: Stuff you promise yourself you'll never do to your kids
PostPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2012 5:09 pm 
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My parents always provided for me, gave me lots of love and supported what I wanted to do. Yet, my father had a rough childhood and because of that had really low self-esteem and self-worth. I always felt like my needs weren't as important as his because he was so fragile emotionally and took everything personally. Like if I was doing bad in school it wasn't like, "What can we do to help you do better?" rather it was "Don't tell your father" or "We're really hurt and disappointed" (Yet nothing was done to address what I was going through) It was as if me doing bad in school was more of evidence that he was a piece of shiitake human being. I also now have self-worth issues that I don't ever want to pass that on to my (nonresistant) children. If I decide to have children I would do everything in my power to not put my issues on them. I want them to develop their own psychologically scarring issues on their own.


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 Post subject: Re: Stuff you promise yourself you'll never do to your kids
PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2012 3:31 pm 
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A friend of mine points out that I have been apologizing for Leela everytime she acts like a baby - ie screams, pulls hair, grabs glasses etc. And its so interesting, because it is really setting unfairly high expectations on Leela and it becomes stressful for me and I don't really enjoy going out as much. If she makes any noise, I'd apologize to everyone around us.

My mom refused to take us to church until we were 6 because she refused to take children out who were badly behaved - there are so many concerts and plays she never took us to because she didn't want to be the person with the loud rotten kids. And the thing is that we were really well behaved and quiet little girls, but she just wasn't going to risk any embarrassment, so she treated us like we were soccer hooligans rather than children.

I've been working on just accepting that Leela is a baby (and a really sweet and easy baby at that) and not someone I have to apologize for. She can yell and squeak and pull hair and if anyone wants to give her back, I'm right there. And I'm going to try not to get stressed and anxious about anything she does that isn't perfect.

On yesterday's train ride home, Leela was exhausted and it was past her bed time and she fussed a tiny tiny bit. The people next to me made these sour puss faces at me, and normally I would have apologized, but really, their conversation was far more annoying than my moppet. Seriously, she wasn't even crying, just making loud moans and groans, like she was complaining.

It is interesting, because I was just acting like my mom without even noticing.

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 Post subject: Re: Stuff you promise yourself you'll never do to your kids
PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2012 6:18 pm 
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Ugh, I find myself doing that too, Tofulish. A lot of times I am fine with whatever baby thing Inez is doing, but I feel almost like I have to preemptively apologize to neutralize whatever shade people might be throwing our way. Which is dumb and definitely part of my general people-pleasing tendencies. I really want to be more mindful of it. I would hate for her to internalize it, like there's something wrong with just acting like a kid.


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 Post subject: Re: Stuff you promise yourself you'll never do to your kids
PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2012 7:27 pm 
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It's always the times that you don't realize you're channeling a parent that seem to hurt the most. It's insidious.


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