I was on the phone with a friend of mine recently, she’s pregnant with her first child and is due in less than two months. We gushed over all the cute baby things she’s bought recently, the upcoming shower and her recurring nightmare about her fiancé and the hospital staff fainting during delivery. In the middle of all the fun she blurts out “What if I screw this kid up?” I realize that this is a fear for many parents so I reassure her that she will make an amazing mom because she’s an amazing woman, but my assurance wasn’t enough. See my friend didn’t have the best example of parenting growing up. Not to put too much of her business in the streets, but let’s just say that there isn’t a negative stereotype about black families that she didn’t live growing up. She is genuinely scared that she is going to be the same kind of parent that her parents were. Obviously she is proof that bad parenting doesn’t equal a bad child, but who wants to be a bad parent and have to roll the dice on whether or not your child will end up normal?
Anyone with sense would want to be a good and loving parent to their child, but if you never had an example of what good parenting is, where is the frame of reference for your own actions? And even if you had great parents, do you really want to mimic their entire parenting style? I love my mother but to be honest, I don’t want to be anything like her with my child. Did she teach me a few things that have helped me become the woman I am today, sure, but I could probably think of a longer list of things that would have screwed me the hell up if it wasn’t for my more level headed father. Like my friend I often wonder what type of parent I will be and whether or not I’ll do a good job molding a little life. They say that children don’t come with an instruction manual, however in a way parenting does because you have the actions of your own parents to guide your dos and don’ts. Guess the question then becomes do you follow their manual or write your own?
Do you want to follow in your parent’s footsteps when it comes to child rearing? Were they a positive or negative example for you?