Redditor Ask Parents What They Do Differently Than Their Parents Did and There Is a Lot To Unpack
Over time, parenting strategies and best practices change. Back in the day, people put their young children in the front seat of the car. These days, nine-year-olds are in booster seats. A recent study found that grandparents' outdated tactics, like putting an infant down to sleep on their belly, not back, may harm children. That doesn't mean previous generations didn't do their best. But we know better, so we do better. And often, parents use their own upbringing to shape what they do and don't want to do with their children.
One parent recently wanted to talk about the latter, and they took to Reddit to do it.
"What did your parents do with you that you definitely don't/won't do with your children?" wrote u/Delimadeluxe in the Parenting subreddit.
The original poster (OP) got things started.
First up: "Staying in an unhappy marriage 'for the sake of the children.' The atmosphere in the house sucks at most times, and children grow up thinking that is the norm," the Redditor said.
Divorce is difficult, especially when children are involved. But experts say that there's no reason to believe that a maturely-handled split will create long-term damage for the child.
When it comes to discipline, the OP has decided not to hit or slap their children. Experts, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, say spanking is not an effective form of discipline, in part because it doesn't teach a child how to better handle the situations that got them into trouble in the first place. Speaking of discipline, the Redditor doesn't plan on yelling or grounding their children either.
"I want to go through any problems with my kid in a way that makes him trust me, not fear my rage," OP said.
They also plan to keep their word about when they'll arrive home.
"Oh, how I've [stood] by the window crying and looking for my parents when I babysat my brother as [an] 11-year-old because my parent [were] an hour late," OP wrote.
To be fair, sometimes, unfortunately, things happen, and parents don't make it home on time. Traffic, train delays, and not-so-family-friendly employers can complicate working parents' lives.
More than 1,000 Redditors chimed in with the things they plan to do differently with their kids. Like the OP, one also touched on discipline tactics.
"Taking away basic things like blankets, pillows, [and] favorite stuffed animals as a punishment. Taking the bedroom door off as punishment," the top commenter wrote in part.
Others touched on the importance of fostering independence and letting go.
"I do love my mom, but she was so worried about her baby growing up that she didn't let me grow up. Any shred of independence was met with some form of regression. Seriously, my mom wouldn't even potty train me because she wanted me to be her baby for longer," someone replied.
"The biggest one for me is probably discounting or disagreeing with your children's ideas. Every single time I told my mom about something I was interested [in], especially regarding future job possibilities, she'd tell me all the reasons why I shouldn't do that. I ended up trying to get a degree in something to please her, and that didn't go well," another said.
And another discussed how they didn't want their child to feel like they had to be the parent.
"I am going to try my best not to make my kids feel like they're responsible for managing my emotional state," someone commented.
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All of these ideas are worth considering. Ultimately, parents can only do the best they can with the resources and information they have. Grandparents may be insulted that you aren't raising your children using the same methods they used. But it's not an insult to parent in the way you see fit; they did the same thing.
You'll probably make mistakes, too—all parents do. If you slip and yell at your child, apologizing, accepting responsibility, and validating their hurt feelings can help everyone heal and move forward.