Who you are is how you parent.

It’s damned hard to break emotional patterns from our past. Damn. Hard.

If we had a bit of a rough start emotionally it can stay with us forever.

Some of us repeat the same emotional environment:

Some of us smother our emotions because we can’t handle them. Some of us process our emotions consciously. Some of us take each moment as it comes.

Some of us are overwhelmed by any sign of emotional distress in our children:

 Some of us try to be our child’s friend. Some of us treat our children as if they are adults. Some of  us are overly protective.

Some of us are aware of our emotional triggers and parent consciously as much as we can. Sometimes we get it wrong, and we reconnect with our kids afterwards.

Where are you at today?

What do you do when you realise things aren’t working out for your children as you intended?

Are you doing the same things every day, and expecting different results?

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About Karyn @ kloppenmum

kloppenmum is me, Karyn Van Der Zwet, mother of three and ex-teacher. I'm part of a revolution in parenting, with the aim to raise mature (not sophisticated) and self-assured children. I also know some stuff about adults. I have also had articles printed in The Journal for The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (Children and Young People) and the US parenting magazine, Pathways to Family Wellness, as well I regularly write for World Moms Blog (named as one of the Forbes 100 most useful blogs for women 2012 &2013). You can follow me on facebook (kloppenmum) pinterest (Karyn at Kloppenmum) and twitter (@kloppenmum). I'm also vaguely on LinkedIn (Karyn Van Der Zwet). Thanks to Joe (Mr Hare) for taking the photo. Cheers, son: xxxx.
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18 Responses to Who you are is how you parent.

  1. I am a different parent than my Mom and Dad, but sometimes their parenting style creeps in. I usually apologize when it does. I am probably most guilty of treating my 7 yo like an adult. I don’t unload my problems on him, but he’s so smart and capable and he speaks like an adult it is easy to expect more from him… He’s been spending the night once a week at Grama’s and she is increasingly forgetful and he wants to help her. She gets vertigo so he helped her once with that. But it’s too much for a 7 yo boy at this point. I can’t let him go over alone anymore. We just found out she has Alzheimer’s so it’s going to get worse. It’s devastating. Now I wonder just how capable Grama was when he was there… OK, nothing to do with your post. Sorry. It’s nice for kids to be helpful and as much as he wants to spend time with Grama, he can’t go alone anymore. I guess this is where I am at today. Knee-deep in trying to figure out the right thing to do, and supporting my husband.

    • Yikes Cori, I thought I’d replied to this, and I haven’t.
      That’s a tricky position you’re in with your mother-in-law, but I’d have to agree it’s too much for a 7yo to have to deal with. I hope you can find a way to work through all this.
      It is easy to expect more from highly-articulate and ‘reasonable’ children than we probably should. I have to consciously remember just how young our kids are some days.

  2. IfByYes says:

    You see this in dogs, too. Dogs end up with the same personalities of their trainers. It’s an interesting phenomenon, but when I trained dogs for a living it was evident. This trainer turned out Divas. This other trainer’s dogs were super enthusiastic but tended to get overexcited. My dogs tended to be overly sensitive.

    We totally pass on our own traits without even being aware of it…

    • That’s interesting about the dogs and their trainers. I hadn’t thought people would influence dogs that much. How on earth not to pass on too many of our traits is the big question for me. It’s so easy to fall into those automatic patterns when we’re even a little bit stressed.

  3. adhdwith3 says:

    Habits are so tough to break.

    • They sure are. I know my somewhat short fuse (when stressed or over-tired) has been passed down to me through at least four generations. Our eldest has it too (but is aware that it is a pattern needing to be broken) but the others don’t ’cause I wise-d up. Now to break my chocolate eating habit…:)

  4. Marcy says:

    Parenting continues to be a big balancing act of caring for myself and caring for the kid — managing the clash between my own issues, tendencies, impulses, vs my beliefs and values and intentions. Throw in some confusion, too, in the effort to discern wisdom and listen wisely to all the inner voices and some of the outer ones.

    Your point about eye contact has been encouraging.

    • It is often difficult to know how/when we can address our own needs without compromising our kids. I’m pleased that the eye-contact idea has given you some reassurance. Hope it all continues to go well at your house. 🙂

      • Marcy says:

        Today we are both taking an early nap because she has been irritable and touchy all day already, and because I’m overreacting to things. She has long had a tendency to bang whatever’s in her hand or nearby when she’s frustrated or angry, and it irritates me at best and enrages me at worst. At this point there’s not much danger of anything more horrible than a broken toy or maybe a dent in the wall — except the time she threw her seatbelt at the car window, but even though it was loud I’m not sure she’s strong enough yet to break auto glass — but it’s still a habit I would like to see disappear, and it’s crazy-making to not be able to stop it.

        I suspect the culprit was she forgot to turn off her book light last night — not sure if it was forgotten or on purpose, as she was talking about scary shadows. But shadows are more contrasty and therefore (I would think) scarier with a light in the room than without one…

        • Banging things is a pain, and irritates me as well. I remove the article from which-ever child’s hand, say firmly “don’t bang X” and Mindfully Disconnect. It seems to be working.
          Lack of sleep does cause the crank-ies in people. I would imagine shadows are scarier with a light than without as well. Hope you enjoyed your nap.

          • Marcy says:

            Grumble. I get tired of removal. And can’t remove the hand or the floor or the wall… And how long does the object stay taken away?

            A funny — the other day Amy got on a chair and put her toy microwave up on daddy’s dresser (where taken things go) because she would rather have it taken away than have me fix it. She got the door off and couldn’t put it back on by herself.

          • Marcy says:

            Oh, and I slept about fifteen minutes before the phone woke me up — and it was enough, AND Amy didn’t wake up.

  5. faemom says:

    Oh man, just the other day I was explaining to someone how we “default” to what we learned at our parents’ knee. My mother was very emotional, part her fault, part her upbringing, part her hormones going wack. I find myself getting overly-emtional about trivial things. I’m trying to disconnect emotionally from my kids’ behavior so that I can deal with it logically. It doesn’t always work. Or worse, that damn default setting of swatting when things get too emotionally tense. I’ve only fell into that default setting once or twice, but I was so embarrassed and apologized right away to the boy who got the swat.

    • It is hard when you’re over-wrought not to swat. And actually it’s the reconnection after said swat, that is the important bit. Apparently it’s the over-all tone of our parenting that has the impact, not one off events.(Phew) I think it’s always hard to emotionally disconnect when you’ve got three kids to manage, especially when one is still a baby/toddler. And as for testosterone…it’s got a lot to answer for some days.
      We do fall back on our own emotional programming when we’re stressed. I often get overwhelmed by the amount I am *meant* to deal with. And with small kids, I never seem to be able to start and finish one thing at the same time – they always want feeding or something. It’s that saying about long days and short years again.

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