News Bad parenting, good parenting

Bad parenting, good parenting

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The adage may surface actions of others, parents, stepparents, siblings; products of a dysfunctional household may emulate themselves in our own lives. This may or may not be true. There is hope for change only if you want it. Like so many other things, the first step has to begin with you. I understand this comment is a bit commonplace but it is still valid. I too was raised in a dysfunctional household, alcoholism, a father who cared more about the neighbors and friend opinions than he did for his own family. So my viewpoint is accurate and true.

When my son was born on September 30, 1992, I made the conscious decision to not carry the burden that had been placed on me, to carry my father and drunken grandfather’s problems onto him. I told myself that anyone can change no matter the familiar circumstances; if you have a brain you can make the change for the better and not the worse.

When the nurse handed my son to me, he was a gross bundle of dried placenta and embryonic fluid. I instantly handed him back, not so I could distance myself from him, but so they could clean him up. This was after being awake for 36 hours.

The change came with a four-letter word so many have forgotten to say, have placed love on the back burner for the sake of their own misdeeds, placing themselves ahead of their offspring who has no idea what is going on or why these ill-fated actions or words are being placed on it. Love comes from the heart, from a place deep inside you. If you have a child tell them, you love them. I do everyday and still 21 years later do every occasion I have with him. To me it is a celebration of this person I brought into this world. I want banners and fanfare, crowds and the press. To me he is my miracle. When he was younger, I called him “Little One”. I have watched him grow from an infant into a full-grown man with the ability to love, the ability to go beyond what I have given him and be a man who my ex-wife and myself have received, on more than one occasion, compliments to exemplify our undaunted efforts.

Okay, people may think it begins and ends with love, this is so wrong. Once you say the word love, you have laid the groundwork, the beginning of a skyscraper that will extend into the sky, beyond the clouds and out of sight. It is endless! And you cannot STOP!

During my growing up my father lost the ability to touch, to love, to become intimate because he was uncomfortable with his own sense of intimacy. Even when my son entered his teenage years, I continued to throw my arms around him to hug and kiss him on the cheek. Funny, after the first time he went to his Mom and asked if this expression of love, this hug and kiss were appropriate. His Mom replied “My God, that’s your father”.

Sadness entered our household when my step-grandmother committed suicide and father made the final decision to bring his father, bloated from 140 to somewhere around 250 from the consumption of alcohol, into the house. There was no vote cast, no democracy, no raise of hands. One minute we were living the idyllic life, maybe not perfect but in no way comparative to this upheaval. You see grandfather was an alcoholic and drank one bottle of Segrams Seven daily; on top of this father because of the lack of validity from his own father jumped at the chance to regain this stamp of approval from his father. The end provided father, fifteen years later with an emptiness that consumed him.

Love has to be first and foremost, love has to be heartfelt, love has to be everything, and you have to love this person, your offspring, more than you love yourself, more than anything you have loved before. If he bleeds, you bleed; he cries you cry, if he hurts you hurt, and so on. There is no end, no way out, a marked exit you can silently step out for a smoke.

Love for your own offspring can change their lives more than anything you can imagine; a hug can make or even break their day. Children need that level of intimacy, a clap on the back, a handshake, a hug. It doesn’t end with cradling them in your arms when they’re babies, helping them to walk when their toddlers, helping them get their raincoat on, on their first day of school. They are your children FOREVER. If you deny your children the love they deserve, you are denying yourself the experience of being part of their lives, being part of memories, if missed, will haunt you forever.

Bad parenting, good parenting
General Contributor
Janice is a writer from Chicago, IL. She created the "simple living as told by me" newsletter with more than 12,000 subscribers about Living Better and is a founder of Seekyt.

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