What I Plan to Do Differently than My Parents

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Most grown-ups don’t spend a lot of time reflecting on their childhood. They may have a few really great standout memories or a few that make them really sad, but by and large, many people go through their day-to-day without thinking too much about their early years. One thing that often inspires strong memories of childhood for adults is having children themselves. When a baby is on the way, lots of parents begin to think about how they want to raise their child. It’s not uncommon that they think about parenting through the lens of their own childhood experience. Some parents draw inspiration from their parents, vowing to love their little ones as much as they were loved, others plan to emulate some parts of how they were raised but change up a few important factors, and others think more about how much differently they hope to parent than their own parents did. We asked moms what they plan to do differently than their own parents and they came up with a number of responses that shows just how much thought today’s parents put into raising their own children.

1. Show their children what healthy adult relationships look like

For many people who grew up without parents in a healthy relationship, providing a loving, stable example for their children is a top priority.

“I provided my kids with two loving parents that are also in love with each other, which hopefully gives them a feeling of security and stability,” says Stacy.

“I plan to never fight or argue with my husband in front of (or within hearing range) of my kids,” echoed Elizabeth.

2. Discipline more gently

When many of today’s parents were being raised, spanking was the norm. Today, we know that spanking doesn’t work and that it can damage kids relationships with their parents and peers. Because of this, many parents are committed to providing much more gentle discipline. 

“I won’t let him cry or spank him,” says Mary.

“We don't spank,” says Laura, “I don't think it's an adequate form of discipline at her age, or at any age for that matter.”

Trying to do something differently than your parents can be hard but often it’s worth it. 

“We don't spank, slap, hit, yell, or slam doors. My husband and I won't have a heated argument in front of our kids. We are practicing patience, loving correction, and positive reinforcement for discipline. It's been hard to be so different from how we were taught as kids, but we think it’s the right path and we're better for it! Self-improvement I guess,” says Kat.

Even those who would never consider spanking have put a lot of thought into how they plan to provide structure and discipline for their children.

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“I plan never to shame him into behaving or make him feel like my love is conditional on his meeting my expectations,” says Amber. 

{ MORE: Parents Are More Powerful than Superheroes }

3. Really listen to their kids and form a strong, open relationship

Memories of not feeling listened to or heard as a child can be powerful motivation for parents to do things differently.

“I will validate my child's feelings and really listen to them,” says Mary.

“I'm honest with my kids. For the most part, I don't hide anything from them unless it's something that should be. I want my kids to have trust in their parents and it teaches them honesty,” says Ashley.

Today’s parents know the importance of building and maintaining trust and they work hard to make it a priority.

“I want to instill a trusting relationship between my son and I. I want to be his source of wisdom through anything and everything – to know I will never judge him. As he grows, the littlest things will be a big deal to him. I want him to know that any thought that crosses his mind is important and he will forever have a figure in his life he can trust with his concerns. I lacked trust with my own family. Instead sought guidance from kids my own age who only knew as much (or less than) as I did and led me down some bumpy paths,” says Alina. 

{ MORE: How Do You Measure a Mother? }

So, do you plan to do anything differently than your parents?

What do you think?

What I Plan to Do Differently than My Parents

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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