Thursday, December 20, 2012

Internalizing our Parents

When our children internalize our negotiable rules and loving structure, then they often make decisions based on these beliefs:
"It's okay for me to grow up and still be dependent at times.  I can think things through and get help doing that.  I continually expand my ability to be responsible and competent."

When we provide structure and enforce non-negotiable rules consistently, then children often make decisions based on these beliefs:
"There are some rules I have to follow.  I can learn from my mistakes.  I am a good person.  I'm lovable and capable.  They care about me and take care of me."

If parenting relies on criticism, then children believe:
"I have to know what I don't know.  I will try harder, be strong, be perfect.  If I don't do things right, I am a bad person.  I can't be good enough.  I am hopeless.  Why bother?"

If parenting consists of freedom without responsibility (marshmallow parenting), then children learn to believe:
"I must take care of other people's feelings and needs or I don't need to care about anyone but me.  I am not capable of learning how to value and take care of myself.  If help is offered, mistrust it or at least expect to pay a price for it but don't expect helpful structure from others."

If parenting lacked rules, protection or contact, then children begin to believe:
"Don't ask for or expect help.  No one cares.  If I am to survive I will have to do it by myself.  If help is offered, mistrust it.  Help and trust are a joke."

If parenting is characterized by rigidity, which springs from fear, then children will often make decisions based on the following beliefs:
"I am not wanted.  Parents don't care about me.  Rules are more important than my needs.  I will let others think for me.  I will comply, rebel or withdraw.  I will blame myself."

Growing Up Again:  Parenting ourselves, parenting our children by Jean I. Clarke and Connie Dawson

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