Reject or Replicate?

How many times have you said this to yourself, “Oh, no…I’m becoming my dad?” Has a friend or spouse ever said something to you along the lines of, “You are acting exactly like your mom!”

As we grow into adulthood, it’s natural that we would embody some of the characteristics, quirks, attitudes, values…and parenting styles…of our own parents. After all, most of us were under the roof of one or two parents for TWENTY years or so, so it makes sense that how we were raised might impact how we raise our own kids.

And it does.  For good and for bad.

In my experience parents, often unconsciously, either replicate or reject some of the ways we were raised while raising our own kids.  For instance, someone who was raised in a home where arguing was a common experience will often determine to never argue in front of their own children (reject) while others may argue in front of their children all the time and consider it a normal part of family life (replicate). Perhaps they were raised in a home where mom and dad paid close attention to how money was spent and practiced a very frugal and disciplined approach to finances. Their view of money now that they are parents themselves is almost always a rejection or replication of that same attitude and approach.

Here are four questions I think are worth asking yourself:

Looking at the home I was raised in, and as I raise children myself…

  • What am I replicating that is important to continue to replicate?
  • What am I replicating that I should actually reject instead?
  • What am I rejecting that is important to continue to reject?
  • What am I rejecting that I should actually replicate instead?

Married and don’t know what to do for your next date night?  Head to your favorite coffee shop and talk through these questions together.  Ummm…because nothing says ‘romantic date night’ like talking about your childhood together.