We all do it. We tell ourselves we will never be like our parents, we’ll do things differently, we’ll do things better.
Whether it is genetic or the way our parents brought us up, we inevitably seem to find ourselves mimicking them in one way or another. Whether it is the full blown parenting routine, or just the odd phrase which you thought was incredibly clichéd when you heard them using it. We learn, we copy, we adapt, and the parenting cycle continues.
Recently I heard myself utter the phrase “they are more scared or you than you are of them” in relation to a couple of spiders sitting on my toddler’s radiator in his room. He had started panicking shortly after bedtime because he has spotted them and didn’t know what to do. To my total and utter amazement it actually helped to calm him down. Maybe not such a cliché after all!
As he is currently a big fan of pretending to be a monster or giant of some description and he acknowledges that giants would definitely be scary if they were real, I told him that to the spiders he really was a giant, so that’s why they were scared of him. He has since repeated this back to me, so it must have stuck in his head somewhere. He also likes to point out his two spiders most nights and comments when they have moved, without any apparent fear.
When we were learning about our children we were given far more information about their birth family than we were about the children. The children were only young so there wasn’t much to tell, but because social services have to build a huge case to show the judge that the children would be better off away from their birth family there is quite a large amount of information available about them. We didn’t get to see all of it, only the parts relating to our children and their birth parents, but it was enough to see that parenting cycles are not always positive.
In my opinion the main goal in adoption is to break that negative parenting cycle and introduce the children into a safer, more structured and what society would consider a positive parenting cycle. This is why during our assessment we are asked about how we were parented as children, how we were disciplined and what our opinions of how we were parented and of our parents are.
We both grew up in a stable environment. Stable can be boring, but stable is safe. We are trying to give our children the same, and as a consequence I will continue smiling to myself everytime I hear myself utter the phrases which have previously caused some major eye-rolling on my part!