I was reading a book today called Toddler 411, because I need some advice on controlling my three-year-old daughter. Although this is a book about kids, there is one thing the author mentioned really made me think about my cheating spouse and my past relationships.
The author stated that it is not ideal to be raised in an environment where the parents call all the shots. In other words, the idea of telling kids things like “Do it because I said so.” and “If you don’t do what I say, you get a spanking.” aren’t really helpful. The author said that enforcing the idea that a parent has all the power because they’re the parent isn’t ideal because they then grow up subconsciously feeling that they have no power at all. This attitude can also teach children to have low self-esteem, which then leads them into to relationships where they are taken advantage of.
As I reflect back on my life, I think there is some truth to this idea. During my childhood, my parents that made it very known that they were in charge. I have no bitterness towards them for how they raised me. Raising kids is VERY hard, and I actually think some parts of their parenting have been a blessing.
However, I can’t ignore the fact that most of my relationships (past and present) have been pretty bad. My two long-term relationships were with Mr. Physically Abusive (I would have to create another blog to explain that one) and now Mr. Cheating Husband.
I’ve asked myself why I get involved with men who end up thinking its okay to treat me like this. I don’t know the answer to that. I do know, however, that I accept the unacceptable for way longer than I should, and I really need to think deeply about why I do. While I do think my childhood has impacted my self-esteem, I do not blame my parents entirely, because I am a grown woman now with the ability to make decisions. That is the great thing about being an adult is that I have the power to shift my thinking. I am more mindful of my actions and how they will shape my kids’ self-esteem and impact their. I hope to teach her not to fall into the same traps that I have fallen into. It’s a hard balance between teaching children confidence and making sure they respect you. Being a parent is a work in progress for me.