To the Parent Who’s Raising Their Children Differently Than They Were Raised

Hi there fellow parent, I hope today has been a good day and that you’re feeling strong, confident, and proud of your parenting decisions. Feeling good about what we do is so important. But, a lot of times, it can also be really hard. You might worry about giving too much attention or not enough, meeting your kids' needs with care but not overindulging them, or making yourself available without burning out.

These worries are common to most parents. But, parents like you, who are raising their kids differently than they were raised, can feel extra wrought with emotion and meaning and fear. You see, raising kids is one of the hardest things we'll ever do and choosing to do it differently than the way it was modeled to us can make it even harder. If today hasn't been as good a day, or you're not feeling so strong, confident, or proud of your parenting decisions, I have a few really important reminders that I think you need to hear.

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You are brave

I don't know any parent who can confidently plunk down for coffee and share that they feel good about how they parent 100% of the time. Raising tiny humans really is hard. But when you're doing it without a road map it can feel way, way harder. Choosing to ditch the map you were given though, the one designed by the way you were raised is incredibly brave.

It means that you had the courage to think deeply about your own experiences and had the self-awareness to decide you wanted something different for your own kids. It means that you keep yourself in check, all the time, worried that the way you were parented will sneak into your parenting by default. It means that you were willing to let go of something you understood to explore something you didn't and, mama, it means you are brave. You are charting your own path, making your own way, and setting an example for your kids you can be proud of. You might struggle with raising your kids differently than you were raised but, if you keep on doing what you’re doing, your kids won’t have to say the same.

Scary doesn't mean wrong

When we make decisions that people around us don’t have to make, it can feel scary. And when something feels scary we often read it as a sign that it’s not right. When it comes to raising your kids differently than you were raised though, that’s not usually the case. Embrace your fear of doing something new, find comfort in the unknown, and let yourself learn as you go. You might have to swallow your fear as you go but, as you already probably know, it’s worth it.

Different doesn’t mean better

Sometimes when you’re raising kids differently than you were raised you’re doing so because your own childhood was marked by feelings and experiences you don’t want your child to have to endure. Sometimes though it just means that circumstances are different and, because of where you are or what you’re doing, you’re raising your kids differently than you were raised. Maybe you’re a working mom while your own mother stayed home. Maybe you were raised in a suburban, Midwest neighborhood but your kids are growing up across the globe. Maybe your parents did the very best they could but, for whatever reason, they just didn’t have the knowledge and resources that you do now.

Doing things differently isn’t always an insult to how things were done in the past. It doesn’t mean you’re turning your back on your family or criticizing their choices or making assumptions about what they could have done better. It just means, simply, that you’re doing things differently. And that’s okay.

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You’re doing a fantastic job

If you’re thinking about how you were raised and making intentional choices about how you’re going to do things differently I can bet that you’re already doing a fantastic job. Parenthood is hard. Babies are hard. Kids are hard. But, despite the hardness and the newness, you’re doing a fantastic job.

So if you’re raising your family differently than you were raised, do yourself a favor and give yourself a pat on the back. You’re doing a great job and your kids are lucky to have you!

What do you think?

To the Parent Who’s Raising Their Children Differently Than They Were Raised

Julia Pelly has a master's degree in public health and works full time in the field of positive youth development. Julia loves hiking after work, swimming during the summer and taking long, cuddly afternoon naps with her two sons on the weekends. Julia lives in North Carolina, with her husband and two young boys. You can find more of her work at JuliaPelly.com ... More

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