As promised, I’m back to talk about what is wrong with our generation of parents. Namely, why we seem to have so little control over our children’s behavior. I know I’m not alone in this. I see it played out all around me. Kids used to be well behaved. I know I was. For those of you who knew me back then, hush, I’m talking about when I was a kid. Yes, I was a horrible teenager. Anyway, I digress. I’m gonna break this into multiple parts because it’s too big of a topic to address in one post. So, here goes.
1. We have identified our parents as being the root of all our deeply embedded dysfunctions.
We are the generation acutely aware of our parents’ influence. We have all been to therapy. We’ve all analyzed the effect our parents had on our subsequent development. Been on Prozac. There used to be a time when people hid the fact they went to therapy or were on medication. It was a dirty secret. Not so with us. We are the generation that discusses our medication in the same manner we discuss the latest brand of shampoo we are using or what’s on sale at Target. We look at people who haven’t been to therapy at least once as being a bit unevolved. They are a step behind the rest of us on the path to enlightenment. We have spent numerous hours and lots of money analyzing our defects and problems with living. These discussions are inevitably laden with tales of the problems created by the inabilities of our parents. We grew up in a time when “I come from a dysfunctional family” had been used so much that coming from a dysfunctional family just meant you came from a normal family.
So, when the table is turned and it is our turn, we are immediately aware of the responsibility in our hands. We imagine what our children will be saying about us in therapy as they relate stories of their own childhood to their therapists as an explanation for their own shortcomings. Previous generations didn’t have this to contend with and it has presented really unique challenges to parents. It has resulted in us being so afraid to make a mistake and damage our children in any way that we choose to do nothing and instead allow them to lead the way. We are determined not to make the same mistakes our parents made, but in doing so we have become terrified of making any kind of mistake. We choose to not act rather than act.
This is one of the most important reasons, but it doesn’t function alone. If this were the only factor hindering our parenting skills, we’d just go to a few more therapy sessions and poof- we’d be alright. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. More to come on this tomorrow.