How can I prepare myself to have a great longterm relationship with my kid?
September 1, 2010 7:19 AM Subscribe
I'm trying to deal with some familial baggage that seems to be getting heavier by the year and I'm wondering from parents what your perspective is on your kids. How did their characters shape your relationship? If you had a difficult toddler (defined however you like) did that inform your relationship with them as teens and then as adults?
posted by amanda to Human Relations (29 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
I've got my first child on the way and recently lost my father. I'm having a really hard time with my mom and what really seems to trigger a flood of negative emotion in me is when she mentions that I was a "willful" child or that she had to set very firm boundaries because I was constantly testing. Sounds like a normal kid, right? The thing is, I didn't have a normal kid life and so this just opens up a can of worms where I rehash all the shitty things about my life as a kid (alcoholism, violence in the family, frequent uprootings, other unpleasant things) and then it's a downward spiral where I just want to write off my mom and my family and never see them again.
I don't feel at all guilty about how I behaved as a kid. Because I was a kid. And, all things being equal, I was as normal as I could be. But I wonder, as I'm about to have my first, if my kid is a wild child as a toddler, will I be able to forgive them as an adult? Will I be able to handle the ups and downs of a child and have a great relationship with them later? I don't really even know how to ask what I'm asking but I guess I'm hoping that I'll be able to forgive them yearly (monthly? daily?) for whatever they put me through. Because they're kids and isn't putting parents through their paces what it is all about?
Or, am I just seeing this whole thing through a really warped lens?
Also, the pool of mefits with grown up kids who can respond is probably smaller than the rest of us so I'd be interested in whatever perspectives come up here. Sometimes I really wonder if it's possible to have an open and honest relationship with your parents. Or, maybe this is just how things are supposed to work so that you can separate from them and form your own little families to screw up in your own special way. (I joke. Sort of.)