Role Models: Raising a Mini-Me

“The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.”

“You’re a chip off the old block.”

Our kids can be like us in so many ways, from their physical resemblance to how they carry themselves. Although genetics has a hand in how similar they are to us, the majority of how our kids develop comes from what they observe and experience. It’s fun to have a mini-version of ourselves running around, but it’s important that we allow them to find their individuality and embrace who they are. How do we do that, especially when we are their main models?

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Parent Homework

When couples/people/parents find out they are having a baby, a lot of them will sign up for baby bootcamp. It’s pretty much a short class on basic baby care: swaddling, changing a diaper, how to prepare bottles, baby CPR, etc.

What the classes doesn’t prepare you for is how to get ready mentally and emotionally. Pretty much every parenting book I’ve read mentions that there is no formal or informal class for new parents on how to keep themselves regulated, how to create a supportive environment for both baby and parents, how to deal with shortened sleep, how to build that village. Get the picture?

Diving in a little further, how do you breach the topic of parenting with your partner? How do you determine a parenting style together? How do you proactively split duties, support each other, make decisions in the first couple months?

Yes, this a lot to talk about and it does require more than just a “we’ll figure it out when we get there.”

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The Self-Aware Parent

Do you remember being a teenager and getting into arguments with your parents?
There would be yelling, and it would escalate and you would throw out the “I can’t wait until I’m 18 and out of this house.”
Then, they would one-up you by firing back with “Yeah? Well, when you’re a parent, I hope your kid is just. like. you.”

One thing I’ve noticed about being a Millennial parent is that our generation strives to be the caregivers we wanted to have growing up. It might be a by-product of social media or more access to information, but it’s like we can see in real-time exactly how our parenting is affected by how we were parented. There is a lot of call and desire to break the generational traumas by healing our personal childhood wounds and investing the time and effort to make our children feel loved, whole, and understood.

That task we place upon ourselves is no easy feat. Much of how we parent has been laid out by our parents and their parents before them (and so on) and we don’t really recognize that stuck cycle until we catch ourselves saying the same lines or doing the same harmful actions. So, are we any different from our parents and how can we break the negative cycle?

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What Makes a Good Parent?

We all know that parenting is not for the faint of heart. Parenting is a skill developed over time and is influenced by many, many factors. We know families have tough days and we know to take people’s perfect Instagram feeds with a grain of salt. But whether you have kids, are planning to, or are watching from the sidelines, we all have our opinions on what good parenting looks like; and sadly, we are prone to judge.

We look at kids and how they behave, and we assume it’s because of parenting. We may witness a child have a tough moment and depending on how their parent responds, we judge if they handled it well or not. We might even investigate our own childhoods and determine what parental traits are worth keeping and which ones get the boot. But what makes a good parent, really?

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Child(ish) Reads: Good Inside

Last week, a mom on TikTok made a video about the disrespect and harsh criticism she received from her adult child. It turned into a mini rant on how Gen Z kids are entitled and don’t regard their parents with respect after all they’ve done. This video went viral and was stitched many, many times (before it was taken down) from Millennials in particular, explaining their choices to go no-contact with their parents. As difficult as it would be to imagine a no-contact relationship with my girls, my own relationship with my parents makes me feel this can be a completely justifiable move.

I started reading Good Inside with the intent of reviewing it, and be sure this is definitely a book review. But after this video, and in this context, we can very clearly see how Millennial parenting has evolved. We see the need for reflection, not only on how we were raised, but how we intend to raise. We see the importance of providing not only a model for your kid, but also building a mutually-connected relationship with your child through their teen and adult years. We can see how generational trauma has trickled down and how we ourselves need to be cycle breakers.

So with that, here are my takeaways from Good Inside:

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