Teach them in the way they should go

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We’ve just got back from our summer holiday – a week in the sunny (sometimes) shores of Britain. With five of us camping (motorhome and tent to try and spread the chaos) it was quite challenging at times. For those of you who know the struggle of parenting children who’ve experienced trauma, you will know that holidays can be a very stressful time. I often talk about this adoption journey as a relentless roller coaster of emotions and this week was no exception. However what I want to talk about in this blog is more about something that really came as a revelation to me.

I saw many mothers with their children going in and out of the bathrooms, walking round the camp site and playing on the beach and I started to notice something that is quite obvious, but again gave me more insight into why parenting my children feels so difficult sometimes. What I noticed is this….for most other parents they have taught their children everything – how to do practical things – brush their teeth, take a shower, eat their food. Also how to think and feel many times – attitudes and opinions on life come from the parent initially. This means that as a natural parent you probably don’t even think about why your child brushes their teeth the way they do – as you taught them to do it that way!

But for me it really struck me just how different my children are to me – especially my daughter who is the eldest and also as a girl someone I probably would have taught all those girlie things to in her early years. Sometimes it surprises me why she does and says things the way she does – but it’s just a mish mass of things she’s been taught or picked up from her different homes and parents she’s had.

As we grow up we start to do things slightly differently to our parents and we question why – there may be many things you do differently to your parents now you’re an adult. For example I’ve never been able to emulate my Mothers orderliness and still insist on putting cream on the dining table in the carton and not in a separate jug (much to my Mums disgust) – but these are all things we develop as we grow away from our parents and create our own ways of doing things.
For our children though they’ve not had that strong foundation of being taught by one set of parents – rules, expectations, and practicalities of doing things all become jumbled and diverse. They become self-reliant instead of independent, as they have had to find ways to make things work if they couldn’t fully depend on those around them. This can create tension as you try to establish family rules and ways of doing things.

This revelation has given me new insight and understanding of why certain behaviours irritate me and as a result I’m trying to see things from a new perspective. I also realised today that all the lessons I’ve learnt since we had our children are 10 times more then the lessons I learnt in my previous 38 years of life!!! There’s nothing like parenting to really teach you things about yourself, others and life in general – the trick I guess is to learn, try to change and not  to give up!

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