Moms and Dads

Unlearning Traditional Parenting: “It’s Hard But Worth It.”

No one said changing from traditional parenting to modern parenting was easy.

Many parents who grew up with a traditional parenting style find difficulty in becoming modern. Where instead of being purely an authority figure, there is a call to balance in being both an authority figure and a friend. Instead of disciplining with power and authority, it is with empathy and problem-solving. The struggle is real. How does one break the cycle of traditional parenting?

Traditional Parenting: Unlearning Years of Conditioning and Mimicry

Sometimes, it’s easier to yell and scream when dealing with a stubborn child. “I did not raise you to be like that!”, “Why are you doing this to me!?”, “You’re so stupid!”, “I’ll give you something to cry about!” and many other hurtful things were screamed years ago to discipline a child. These flow faster and easier than crouching down and whispering “Hey, what’s the problem?” or “That looks really bad, let’s try to fix it”.

There are days when it’ll feel a lot easier to strike a child and be done with it. There will be days that there will be a follow-through with a threat. But it only takes a second to realize that the rage-fueled ‘Traditional Parenting Train’ already started chugging with no way off, leaving nothing but feelings of guilt and horror with the thought.

“I’m a bad parent. I can’t break the cycle. It’s over.

But there is an opportunity to still break it.

Both discipline and parenting do not end in a poorly seized opportunity to teach. Relapse does not mean the cycle cannot be broken. But, it’s not easy to do so when rage offers a tempting feeling of satisfaction after exercising power and control that one did not have as a child. However, there are ways to unlearn traditional parenting.

1. Recognize that the feelings of guilt and horror are the opportunity.

“I’m a horrible parent. I did exactly what I hated my parents for doing.”, “I can’t believe I screamed at my baby”, “I hit them. I promised that I’d never…” — all these thoughts are a sign that there is a chance to break the cycle. Take the horror and guilt and convert it into something better because it’s not just the parent who feels the pain but, the child as well.

2. Repeat to oneself, “You are not your parents’ parenting mistakes.”

What prevents many from unlearning Traditional Parenting is the saying, “But my parents did this to me! How am I supposed to do better? How do I know that works?” There’s already existing knowledge of a method that does not work. It’s worth knowing and trying when one knows that the old method just doesn’t cut it.

3. Be mindful of the damage that has occurred or has been caused.

There will always be moments of weakness when one falls back on traditional parenting. But what breaks the cycle is being mindful of the damage. Mindfulness doesn’t stop at awareness. It continues all the way to having and executing a plan to make things better. And the start of unlearning traditional parenting begins with a sincere and simple apology.

4. Creating a community plan that never happens again.

One of the main reasons why some behaviors relapse is because there’s no plan to prevent the bad behavior from not happening again. Just like how kids are grounded or have a consequence, parents need those too if they are hoping to unlearn traditional parenting. A community plan, however, isn’t just all about consequences but also finding other ways to become parents. To adopt a more Modern Parenting stance.

It will look and feel difficult to unlearn traditional parenting. But nobody said it would be easy. There will always be a situation that will force parents to question their methods. However, the pros of unlearning traditional parenting and becoming more modern will show. Don’t worry.

More about parenting styles:

ICYMI: Gentle Parenting with Andi Manzano-Reyes and Gretchen Gatan Fragada
The 4 Parenting Styles Explained and Made Easy
Parenting Teens Sometimes Needs Us To Be Like A House Plant

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