Growing up, there were certain things that my dad did that I didn’t understand. And many times, I found myself thinking, “I wouldn’t do that if I become a mom.” Now, there are other things that I understand better because I’m a mom. Although I never thought I would be a parent because I didn’t want kids when I was younger, now that I am, I quickly noticed that my parenting style is different from my dad and stepmom in certain aspects. Our parents did the best they could with their knowledge, but we can definitely learn from them. However, here are three ways I’m intentionally breaking generational cycles.
Telling My Daughter Positive Words/Affirmations
I wrote a blog post about the importance of saying encouraging words to your children. And because of my experience growing up, I want to make sure I’m speaking life to my daughter. Side note: I’ll be talking about my daughter because my son is only three months, but I’ll be doing the same for him. I want to make sure she is confident, believes in herself, and loves herself. The best way to do this is to tell her that I love her, that I believe in her, and that she is beautiful. I want her to know that she can do anything she puts her mind to; I want her to feel worthy and intelligent. These are things I didn’t feel myself when I was growing up. I struggled silently and internally with these feelings.
Better Communication Between Us
This is a big one for me because I felt like I couldn’t talk to my dad about anything because I felt like he didn’t understand me. I always had to go to my stepmom first if I wanted anything. My dad is an old-school Dominican father; I love him to death, and I know he loves me, but I wish our communication was better growing up. Anyways, I’m trying to build a safe space with my daughter. I want her to come to me first when anything happens. To establish this trust, I try my best not to overreact when something happens.
For example, my family was over one day, and my sister was coming to tell me that a boy had asked my daughter to be his girlfriend, but my daughter ended up coming to me first. So, the next day I asked her why she didn’t tell me this when it happened instead of me having to hear it from my sister, and she told me she thought I would be mad. I asked her if she said yes, and she said, “ew, no.” LOL, she’s in second grade, so boys are still gross, haha. But I asked her if she liked him, but she said no, so I asked her if there was another boy she liked and she said no. I explained to her that it’s normal for boys to like her and for her to like boys and that it’s okay; I won’t be mad because it’s natural. I wouldn’t dare tell my dad I had a crush at her age. He would have gotten mad at me. And my first crush was in second grade, and the boy was in third grade.
Validating Her Feelings
Children have emotions as adults do, and we tend to forget that. There are days when adults don’t feel like doing anything, and there are days when we aren’t having a good day; this happens to children too. They are little people with feelings, and I think it’s important to validate their feelings. I remember when my daughter was acting out, or she wasn’t acting like her usual self. So, I sat her down and asked her what was wrong, but she couldn’t explain it to me. I told her to let me know if there are days when she doesn’t feel like herself, or her energy is low. I want her to understand that this will happen sometimes, and it’s okay. And I do the same with her; when I’m not feeling good, I tell her. “Hey, mommy has a headache today, I’m not feeling well,” or “Mommy is tired today; I couldn’t sleep well last night,” and she knows I won’t be my best on that particular day.
I feel that communicating our feelings with our children lets them know that we aren’t going to be our best every day, and that’s okay, instead of having these unrealistic expectations for them. Children are in school all day every day, and sometimes they don’t have a good day, just like adults at work, so validating her feelings lets her know that her feelings matter and that I care about them.
There are more ways I’m trying to break generational cycles, but these are the three I wanted to talk about. Is there a way you are intentionally breaking generational cycles? I’d love to hear about it.
With Love, Heidy
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