# 24 – Parent Yourself

July 25, 2011 at 5:14 pm | Posted in Raising the adopted child | Leave a comment
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I recently received an email from a distressed mother saying how resentful she was about her adopted daughter’s demanding behavior.  This reminded me of a discussion in a seminar I attended a while back where the speaker talked about how sometimes we have to parent ourselves as well as our children.

We all have buttons that can be pushed.  At times, we can be surprised at how easily we become upset by an incident that we later see wasn’t that big an issue.  I think it’s natural to just keep going and not analyze, but if we took the time to analyze our feelings at the time, we might see that the roots of our reaction go back to when we were a child.

For instance, if your child has a temper and flares up, you might overreact if you were not allowed to show your emotions as a child.  You might be very uncomfortable in the presence of raw emotion and not know how to handle it because it was never handled in your family when you were a child.  It was just not allowed.

If your child is demanding, you might feel resentment because your child has more than you ever had at the same age.  Again, it could trigger something in your past.

There are many incidents that we really aren’t aware of that take us back to our own childhood.  It’s wise to see these times for what they are.  We all know we aren’t perfect parents and, in all probability, neither were our parents.

One of my children told me one time that I wasn’t responsible for his happiness.  He said he had to find that for himself.  Actually, this came as a surprise to me because at the time I was working very hard to make all of our children happy. I forgot that I had to present myself as a happy person before I could expect that from my children.

Good mental health is a good place to start, and parenting ourselves by seeing our own childhoods through understanding and forgiving adult eyes can go a long way toward making us loving, forgiving and understanding parents to our own children. Everyone does the best they can even if in hindsight it could have been handled better. I read a saying a long time ago that said,  “I hope my children forgive me my mistakes while I forgive my own parents who did the best they could.”

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