A common scene in our home goes like this:
Me (walking into the living room after slogging with the dishes for a while): What are you doin… Oh My God!
Cub (blissfully unaware of my changing mood): What, Mamma??
Me: What is this mess? I just cleaned up here!! Why do you do this?
Cub (wondering what he did wrong): But, I’m playing….
Me: How many times do I have to tell you not to pull out all the toys at the same time? Why do I have to repeat the same thing again and again..
I stop in my tracks. Haven’t I heard this somewhere before?? On some TV show, maybe. No, these are my mother’s words, now coming out of my mouth!! Oh no!!
When we’re really small, we idolize our moms and dads and want to be like them. Go to office like Daddy, drive car like Mommy. And then we become teenagers and we want to be as unlike them as possible. And then we become parents.
That is usually the first step into the realization of what our parents’ lives were actually like when we were tiny. We begin to understand the reasons behind their various restrictions, why our achievements gave them such pride and why our giving up gave them such disappointment. But even then, when you hear their exact dialogues originating in your mouths, and that too ones you detested, it can feel a little unsettling.
But, it’s hardly surprising, is it? There is no dearth of scientific evidence to prove that kids imbibe a large percentage of their personality traits from their environment; hence the emphasis on parents teaching by example or the ‘practice rather than preach’ concepts. So along with our stand on smoking or vegetarianism, kids also pickup the subtler nuances of how we react to our favorite team losing, or more pertinent to what I said above, how we yell.
Since as kids, we are the recipients of the yelling, we generally store them in our brain’s ‘never-to-do’ section, only to see it rising subconsciously when we are faced with the same situation we created for our parents years ago!!
But growing to be like our parents is not necessarily a bad thing. After all, we turned out OK didn’t we? Unless of course, you have traumatic memories like that of an extremely violent mother or of a father completely uninvolved in his kids’ lives, you can let it slide. But if you find yourself exhibiting characteristics that could be damaging to your child’s future or your family’s peace and well-being it’s time to take a step back and look at the whole picture.
At the end of the day, no matter where we are from, we do want to be our own person. We want to have the best of our Mom and Dad, and we want our child to have the best of both parents. Do whatever works for your family, and if it makes you sound like your Dad, so be it!!
“I believe that one defines oneself by reinvention. To not be like your parents. To not be like your friends. To be yourself. To cut yourself out of stone. – Henry Rollins”
Fabida Abdulla is a former software engineer turned stay at home Mother Lion to her four-year old son, whom she calls ‘The Cub’. She blogs about her crazy life at Shocks and Shoes.