“My home was a place of violence and fear, a place where we kids walked on egg shells, learning to do whatever necessary to keep peace,” a Chattanooga mom shared with me. “While my relationship with Christ has brought healing to so many of those wounds, I fear that.”
I will make parenting mistakes similar to those my parents did with me
Unfortunately, a parent’s deepest fears can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. “That happens often,” notes Glover, “and we’re not sure how. It could be that parents don’t use moderation. In not doing a good balancing act of guiding their child, helping her make right choices, they become over-controlling. The child compensates by becoming overly rebellious.” This creates a vicious cycle.
If you think you are approaching parenting from a fear of the past, Glover recommends taking these steps in dealing with it.
- “Own up to your fear. Get it out in the open with your spouse and yourself,” he says. Fears can become overblown when we keep them locked up, growing bigger as we dwell on them. Verbalizing it with your spouse or a friend brings it down to size.
- Be mindful of what triggers your fear. Think about the things in your life that caused you the greatest emotional traumas. “When our children confront those same ages when we had powerful experiences of shame, loss, or woundedness, our fearfulness can resurface,” says Glover.
- Talk about it with your child. “It can be helpful to share your story with your child, but you must keep a balanced perspective and keep it age-appropriate,” he cautions.
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