'We parent how we were parented unless we make a bold choice,' explains the psychologist by giving insightful examples.
New parents have evolved and come far from traditional outdated parenting methods. Parents are adopting gentle parenting and other parental approaches to raise their kids differently. This has led to breaking several generational cycles which is not as easy as it seems. Psychologist and parenting coach, Dr. Becky Kennedy shared that parenting is a language that one incorporates to teach their children certain values and morals. She beautifully cited the example of two languages to explain how breaking generational cycles can be carried out when it comes to parenting. In her video, she began by saying that parenting is a language.
Elaborating further, she said, “Think about the way you were parented. That was the language you learned.” Taking her viewers down memory lane, Dr. Becky suggested going back and thinking about how one developed emotions and behaviors and how they were connected to one’s upbringing. “Did it involve talking about feelings? Did it involve repair? Did it involve seeing the good kid under the bad behavior?” the psychologist asked. Shifting to one’s role as a parent, the expert suggested, “Think about the language you want to teach your kids.” Connecting the two scenarios, Dr. Becky explained that many would want to raise their kids using a different “language.”
To further clarify the idea of how to parent one’s kid using a different language, Dr. Becky used the example of English and Mandarin to represent the different parenting languages. “If you were brought up with only English and you want to teach your kids Mandarin, you’d say to yourself, 'Okay, I can do that.’” she said. She then mentioned that though one doesn’t have Mandarin skills to teach the same to their child, they will invest time and resources in learning about the same. It’s the same thing with parenting. Though a parent may have not been brought up in a certain way, if they wish to raise their child in that way, they would be willing to make the necessary efforts to try a different approach.
Sharing another important factor closely connected with the new parenting language, Dr. Becky shared that it’s hard and it doesn’t come naturally. “In high-stress situations, you would revert to English,” revealed the expert, indicating that when things get tough, parents may skip their new language and go back to what they know and how they were raised. “You’d be stressed. You couldn’t access Mandarin and then you’d speak English,” she said. Revealing an alternative to the situation, Dr. Becky said, “I don’t think you’d say ‘Oh, I’m the worst parent ever.’ You’d say, ‘Oh okay, that makes sense. Let me take a deep breath and go back to Mandarin right now.’”
The expert suggests calming down and sticking to the parenting language they wish to inculcate in their children, rather than impulsively going to the other method. “This is what it means to be a cycle-breaking parent. This is what you’re doing: you're learning a new language and teaching the new language to your kid at the same time.” Several fellow parents agreed that breaking certain cycles and learning new parenting languages is valid. @flowers_faerie_dust said, “That metaphor resonates so clearly! Anything new you choose to learn you have to approach with the expectation of persistence, perseverance, patience and grace. Why not parent too?” @be.one.threapy said, “Cycle-breaking parents learn to speak a new language.”
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