How many times have we thought that we could do something better than our parents did? It is a rare teen who doesn’t believe that they know more than their parents. When it is your turn to start a family, revisiting these childhood beliefs can do more harm than good.
What Is “Reflex Parenting” and Why Doesn’t It Work?
Reflex parenting is the idea that you can correct in your parenting skills the mistakes that you believe your parents made with you. There are several reasons why this very definition sets you up for erroneous thinking.
Reason 1: As a child, your mind is too immature to grasp what goes into the decisions that your parents make. You see the end result and criticize with the information at your disposal.
Reason 2: Pain and disappointment are a part of everyone’s life. Not getting your way or missing out on something due to your parents is not a cause for lifelong rebuffing of their parenting methods. Their discipline may have saved you from turning into a less equipped individual in adulthood.
Reason 3: Humans are flawed. This includes parents. They make mistakes along the way and we all have to live with that. You will do the same. After all, there is no such thing as a parenting manual.
Reason 4: Lack of communication will always lead to poor judgment. Sit down and talk with your parents. Let them know how you felt and how you feel now with your own kids. Now that you are all adults, they can share with you some insights that you didn’t even know were going on at the time of your youth. It may change your view of their actions or not. At the very least, you will understand them better and clear the air for a healthier relationship.
The Pitfalls of Reflex Parenting
When it comes to parenting there are always some problems waiting for you. They are not meant to trap you but to help you turn back from a dangerous course before it’s too late.
Pitfall 1: Lack of boundaries for your child is a recipe for disaster. It is a well-kept secret that kids crave boundaries. They use them as a measure of how much their parents care for them even though they will scoff at being told no. A child who is allowed free rein when they are not mature enough to handle it will fail to respect the needs of others as an adult.
Pitfall 2: Recanting the faults of your parents paints their grandparents in a negative light. Your child’s opinion of them is shattered before they are even given a chance to experience life with grandma and grandpa for themselves.
Pitfall 3: Reflex parenting ignores our instincts of good parenting. There may not be a rulebook but some things that we know are wrong for our children should not be overlooked because of our childhood experience. Parents can intervene when they need to for the good of their child, even if that means your child will give you the silent treatment for a while.
Parents aren’t necessarily meant to be a measuring stick for your future parenting skills.