“Parenting forms children’s core beliefs about themselves. Nothing could be more important. The future of the world depends on our children’s conception of themselves. All their choices depend on their view of themselves… There is a crisis in the family today. It has to do with our parenting rules and the multigenerational process by which families perpetuate these rules.” – John Bradshaw
Your Relationship with Your Parents
From the moment you were born, you were a being with a complex cycle of changing needs and feelings. Even if you were fortunate to have parents who were committed to fulfilling your needs and caring for your feelings, you most likely have incurred subtle psychological wounds that may subconsciously affect your relationship with your partner as well as with your future child. Those who experienced the tragic childhood traumas of abuse, divorce, death of parents, or parents with substance addictions may have these wounds re-stimulated by the birth of a child if they have not begun to consciously explore their unresolved past. You may unconsciously re-create the conditions of your childhood with your own child in order to resolve the past frustrations and pain that you were unable to heal with your family members.
Each of us has the need to be nurtured. Yet so often this fundamental need is unsatisfied because our parents were never emotionally nourished by their parents, so they never learned how to love us in a healthy way.
In Reclaiming and Championing Your Inner Child, John Bradshaw has said: “a child’s healthy growth depends on someone loving and accepting him unconditionally. When this need is met, the child’s energy of love is released so that he can love others. When a child is not loved for his own self, his sense of I Amness is severed. Because he is so dependent, his egocentricity sets in, and his true self experiences adverse conditions to full emergence. . . . The failure to be loved unconditionally causes the child to suffer greatly.”
Since an infant cannot take care of herself, her caretakers must be perceptive to her distress signals—the need to be fed, to have diapers changed, to sleep, to be soothed, to be stimulated, to be held, and then, slowly, the need to be separate yet connected to her mother, and eventually her father, her siblings, and the world. Her feeling of combined freedom and support affects all her later relationships. Often, those whose parents were unable to consistently provide healthy emotional and physical bonding either will overcompensate with their own children for what they did not have from their parents or will unconsciously re-create the same painful patterns with their kids…
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