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You have the power to learn and grow from your parent’s mistakes…if thats what you want to call them… there is no perfect parent and lots of conflicting opinions about parenting… but nonetheless people seem to feel the best about their childhood when their parent’s choices, behavior, personality seemed to be a good fit for the needs of a child. That being said not every parent is a good fit for every child and vice versa. That is why we get to grow up and find people we fit with. But what can we do to grow past our parent’s shortcomings.
How to move past your parents mistakes and stop blaming them for everything
1) Be realistic about expectations about what makes a good parent.
Parents only have to be “good enough.” was your parent “good enough?” They do not have to be perfect. I always tell people “Happiness equals reality minus expectations” if your expectations are too high or unreasonable you will be forever miserable.
2) Be honest with yourself.
If you call your childhood perfect you are probably denying real disappointments. If you call your childhood terrible you are probably denying real strengths and resilencies in your self or your parents in overcoming obstacles and challenges.
3) Have empathy.
Can you understand why your parents made the choices they made at the time they made them? What was going on in their lives? What happened in their childhoods? How were they raised? What models did they have to be parents? What were you and your siblings like as children? What was the financial/social/cultural climate? Does anyone in your family have health or mental illness diagnosed at that time? What were their values as parents? What were their intentions. If you do not know the answers, consider asking them.
4) Narrate your own story.
If you don’t like how your parents raised you there is little you can do to go back and time to change it. It also won’t get you very far to look back on it with shame or disappointment or resentment. Ask yourself what did I learn, gain, strengthen, grow from these experiences. How do they set me apart from other people? What tools do I use in my present that I can be grateful I learned from my childhood (or learned to do something different).
5) Let go of resentment.
Resentment is the feeling we have been hurt or harmed by someone else. I love the saying “Hanging on to resentment is like lighting yourself on fire and hoping the other person dies of smoke inhalation.” Your staying angry will not help you to feel better and will not alleviate the pain of your childhood. It will only keep you angry in the present and ruin any chance of a healthy relationship with your parents now.