- Family and Parenting
Lessons I Learned From My Bad Parents
The best gift you can give your child is a happy childhood but unfortunately not all of us had the joy of experiencing it.
Many people find dysfunctional families on television humorous and enjoyable but for those of us that lived those lives it isn’t funny at all.
I don’t have pity parties or try to get people to feel sorry for me, in fact most wouldn’t even suspect I have bad parents by looking at me. The only time it’s evident is the lack of family on my side at important events like weddings, funerals and graduations.
It’s okay because I look back at the lessons I’ve learned and feel in some ways more fortunate than many. Here is a list of things I’ve learned from having bad parents.
I don’t believe everything I hear.
When you are lied to on a consistent basis you figure everyone is full of hot air and empty promises so you don’t count on anyone. If their story is found to be true and I benefit from their information it’s just a bonus. When things don’t go as planned your much less disappointed than those folks who are used to people being honest and forthright.
I don’t count on anyone.
Not only do I not expect everyone to speak the truth, I don’t get disappointed when they don’t follow through or turn out to be jerks. When your parents are bad you figure everyone else is too so you aren’t frustrated when the rest of the world acts like them, it’s what you see as normal. Those few great individuals that treat everyone right are a pleasant surprise.
Protecting my own children
Because of my past I made sure my kids were never in situations where they could be harmed. I protected my children from abuse. I asked questions before they were allowed to spend the night at someone’s home, met the parents and any adults in the home. If the situation didn’t feel right, they weren’t allowed to stay over. I was overprotective but they were safe.
Statistics show that a large percentage of abuse happens by a woman's boyfriend. If my marriage had not worked out I would have been very particular about who was allowed near my kids. Look at stories of child abuse and deaths on the news, many are by a man a woman trusted alone with her kids.
Most men do not accept another man's offspring. That is the simple truth. There are exceptions and I know great men who have and are raising children who are not biologically theirs but we cannot be too careful where our children are concerned.
Some people get enjoyment from hurting other people.
That can be physically, sexually or emotionally, some individuals are just messed up so you don’t get too close until you know you can trust them.
I know the signs, I’ve seen it often enough so I avoid people like that making sure to not be in vulnerable situations like alone on an elevator with a strange man, in an alley, a stairwell or any place I could be a victim. I check my surroundings, make eye contact and am alert at all times.
People who are abused as children, either grow up and continue to be victims or empower themselves and make sure it never happens again.
I am not a follower
Many people don’t know where they are going or what they are doing so I made my own path and set my own rules. When you have parents who are poor decision makers you learn to watch out for yourself and not depend on others to take care of you. I’m cautious of who I listen to or take advice from.
I've learned that if it sounds like bull crap it probably is. I take no one's word at face value, you must prove yourself before I will accept your sales pitch.
Marry a good man or stay single
I knew there were good men out there because both of my grandfathers were good. Just because my mother only picked bad boyfriends and husbands didn’t mean they were all evil.
I would not settle for less. They had to be a good father as well as husband or I would stay single and childless. I was lucky and found a wonderful man who is both a great husband and father.
Last and most important lesson
I learned how to be a good parent and wife by learning from my parent’s mistakes. I am not perfect but it has worked for me so far. While raising our kids I did the opposite of what my own mother and father did and put my kids and husband first.
So you see, having a messed up childhood in some ways made me a stronger and better person because I don’t look at the world as a fairytale full of happy thoughts and princes who save damsels in distress. I don’t expect to have anything handed to me on a silver platter and most of all if people don’t show up or do what they say I don’t have a meltdown because life is full of disappointments.