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Was any of your parents good-enough?

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  • #86149
    anita
    Participant

    No person is perfect. Therefore no parent is perfect:it is impossible. Not even… for one whole day. But what is a good-enough parent? How do you know that YOUR parent was good-enough? How do you know that you are a good enough parent?

    anita

    #86199
    anita
    Participant

    Anyone? …

    #86200
    Saiisha
    Participant

    Hi Anita – I’m not sure if I’d be able to answer your question in the way you asked it, but I’ll talk about my experience with my parents. I fiercely loved and adored them, and they sheltered and protected me when I was a child. It’s only now when I go back to wondering about my fears and insecurities do I realize that there were some unexpressed expectations that took root in me and stayed with me. I’m learning to overcome them in my own way, but I don’t have anything against my parents for raising me the way they did – they raised me the way they thought best at that time. Were they good enough parents? For me – absolutely! I raise my son a little differently now, but he’ll probably say the same thing about me when he grows older and learns his own lessons 🙂

    #86201
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    I am not sure about the criteria for parents being good enough or not in general. I havent been a parent anyway, so i dont really understand their side of the story so well. Anyway, I would say my experience has been good – they loved me, protected me and tried to help me as best they could despite their limitations and struggles. I really respect and love them deeply. They were times they let me down and I wish they would have done things differently, understood or guided me better. However, I have learned to slowly get over these expectations and figure out my own way. They werent perfect but I am so grateful i got them. As I am getting older, I am beginning to see them more as friends I care for who are imperfect but love me unconditionally. I know i would raise my kids a little differently than them (given the generation and personality differences) but I do hope I will make a decent parent. After all, I can simply do my best 🙂

    #86202
    anita
    Participant

    Thank you, Saiisha. I think this is a very sensitive and very emotional topic on two fronts: examining one own parents and more sensitive, if one is a parent, examining one own performance as a parent. I am taking in your answer and hoping for others’
    anita

    #86203
    anita
    Participant

    Thank you Moongal for being the second person to answer my thread. Processing your answer.

    #86208
    Rosa
    Participant

    In retrospect my parents were not nearly good enough although at the time we, as children, didn’t know of any other way and so naturally we loved them. It was only as we grew that we realised that we would not conduct our own relationships to our children in the same way.
    I made huge conscious efforts, as did my siblings, to raise my children very differently butI dare say they would raise theirs differently also.
    For me it’s a question of evolvement, and hopefully enough parents will evolve to become excellent caregivers, supporters and nurturers and encouragers. It is my hope for the world.

    #86209
    anita
    Participant

    Thank you Rosa. Processing.

    #86222

    Hey Anita! I ponder that question every day, actually. I am a mother and i live with my mother and I’m close to my grandmother. I am surrounded by mothers and I say to myself, we are all here as mothers, as humans, as energy, and we all have helped each other get here. Without my grandma, my mother wouldn’t exist, and without my mother i would exist. And so, aside from all the difficult and painful experiences I’ve had with my mother and as a mother, I can say, to answer you questions, that a good enough parent is someone who tries to give a peaceful and loving environment to their child. Having the intention to try and really care is good enough for me. How do i know my parent was or is good enough? That question stirs a lot of feelings for me. However, knowing what i know now about my mother, that she is suffering just like I am and that what I do can impact her life as well, i know that she did what she could to give me a better life than she had, or atlas she thought she could. She was rarely affectionate and sure enough scarcely showed love. I think that the way she is as a parent is how she was raised by her parents and so on. It was all passed down from generation to generation waiting to come alive in the offspring of the mother. My mother grew up in a home filled with a lot of violence. Her mother was beaten up by her father who was a drunk and did not care about them. Her mother then remarried and my mother was sent off to boarding school. My grandma also grew up hitting my mother. Which in turn she hit my sister and i. She would always yell, and be angry, or happy only when she was drunk. I can understand my mothers suffering, she was raising two children alone in a country were the economy was never to be trusted or certain. She was good enough then because that is all she could do because that is all she knew how to do. There was no-one there to guide her or show her and say ‘ Hey I can help you, this is what you do to raise two kids in a low income situation”. She did not have that from birth and she sure did not have that then and now. Knowing that she had to no guide or love, how can i expect that from her? I can’t. As my good friend likes to remind me, its like shopping for oranges in the hardware store. My mother will never give me the love and guidance i longed for and still long for. I can sit and wait for the oranges to come to the hardware store until my last day here. The reality of it is that she can’t because she doesn’t know how to give love in the way I want. So i learned to see the beauty in her agony and accept her for how she is. I certainly don’t have to accompany her misery but feel true empathy for this being that has no love for herself or love coming to her.

    Being a parent has been life altering for me. For many years i neglected my child and was always angry as my mother was. I took her ways and hated myself and her for it. I blamed her for all my troubles and hated the world i created in my head. I hated my self and my life and i wanted to die. I wanted to cease to exist because i had never been taught how to love. I knew love was possible but i didn’t know the path to it. A few years ago i ended the violent relationship i had with my sons father and thats when i believe life started for me.

    For the past 2 years i have been training my mind to think differently about the pain i have bene carrying for so long. I learned to accept the sorrow and out down the pain to rest when needed. I learned to be aware, accept, love and let go. Being a parent is joyful, and heartbreaking, and all the emotions you can feel. Its such a wonderful and changing experience. All you can really do is try and just accept that good enough is enough.

    #86225
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    tricky tricky tricky. tricky.

    1) my parents were neglectful but at no point in my life can I ever look back and say I felt unloved – albeit uselessly so
    2) when all our friends had toys we had none, when all our friends had parents who attended parents evening , concerts etc, we had none
    3) when all our friends went out to play, we went out to work in the fields from aged 8

    I could feel sad and part of me does

    but

    1) I never felt unloved
    2) we are totally self sufficient and independent
    3) we learned a work ethic and don’t expect anyone to just give us stuff. we are prepared to earn what we want.

    I have a friend who is a fiercely protective and loving mother – she puts them first at ever level, she attends every thing they do and she loves them completely.. but the other side of that is she tells me her children are clingy and wont go out in the rain and whenever she wants to go out one of them will pretend to be ill and so she doesn’t go out. they rule her.

    I don’t have any point to make here I’m just highlighting the correlation between what we feel is tough love and what we feel is loving love – where does that take us in the future… I don’t know.

    #86273
    anita
    Participant

    Dear estefy89: I just read your comment and feelings came up for me. But I will respond more later. How is your parenting of your children presently though? What did you change?

    Dear pomplemous:I was wondering, you wrote that you never felt unloved. What do you mean by the verb UNLOVED.. and if you never felt unloved, what is it that you did feel?

    anita

    #86289
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Well…. I was fed, watered, I had a roof provided and an element of privacy to grow up in … Ok, no we’ll call that neglect. I was given trust in order to gain trust. And if I was in trouble they’d kick in to help me. I was always welcome home in later years. … I was given some tools to live… although you could say that was part of he neglect -teach them to cook and male a fire so we don’t have to..
    That’s love I suppose in their eyes. I might not have has endless pampering but looking bsck I’m glad. I’ve grown strong and they gave that to me.

    #86294
    Rosa
    Participant

    Thank you for reminding me about ‘strength’ Pomplemous. This is something that I will always be grateful for, the thing that my parents gave me even though they were unable to give a lot of the things I would have liked to have been given, not material things.
    Maybe lots of people whose parents didn’t raise their children sufficiently well actually gave their children strength?
    My parents were inadequate in many ways but they made me who I am and that is something I have been, and always will be grateful for.

    #86305
    anita
    Participant

    Thank you Pomplemous and thank you Rosa. My responses later on.

    Anyone else cares to answer?

    anita

    #86312
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Ah Rosa thank you

    Yeah… imagine we’d been given everything we’re told we’re entitled to as children – who would we be now? sometimes I’m vaguely envious of my peers who have growen up in loving families and witnessed no troubles and been well looked after and had everything good.. but other times I think… these people haven’t lived… Im not sure they’d know what to do in extreme anguish – I mean I would never wish it on them -but I’d rather be emotionally capable to take on suffering than have been sheltered and learned nothing about the strength I possess…

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