Breaking Generational Strongholds

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Break free!!

When I think of my mother, I think of a strong woman whom worked hard all of her life until she retired on disability. This is the same woman who had two children early in life and then was surprised by another (myself) in her late thirties. Needless to say there was a lot of adjusting that needed to take place. With an 18 year gap between myself and my sister and a 20 year gap between myself and my brother, my mother and I have always struggled to bond as she wasn’t used to children any longer.

Now don’t get me wrong, she was the best mother she could be but, she, herself had grown up with a mother whom did not show love in the emotional sense, but through her ability to provide for and take care of her kids. The emotional piece had been missing for generations. I’m sure the fact that my grandmother growing up in the south and experiencing racism to an extent that I never had probably contributed to the hard demeanor that she presented. I am also sure that that was passed on to my own mother.

Now, as a parent myself I find it easy to show affection to my children while they are young but not so much as they get older; please do not beat me up for saying this. I currently have a 13 year old whom is going through her own hormonal changes and in need of emotional support of which I am not familiar except by the examples set forth in the family sitcoms I watched growing up.

I am thankful that I noticed my waning emotional support immediately (thanks to being a teacher and experiencing it firsthand with my students and their parents) because I was able to dig deep and surface the source and then research ways to remedy it.

I am happy to say that it is possible to break generational strongholds. I believe in purposeful parenting because you can never get back the years lost with your children but you can make a significant change for the better at any stage that will positively impact their lives. I am constantly searching for opportunities and creating opportunities to provide that emotional support to my daughter. I can’t say that I am an expert or that I am doing it correctly, but I am trying.

I have:

  • Purchased Groupons to brunch in the city for just her and I
  • We read a good book together or talk about whatever she wants to freely
  • We have created traditions that are unique to us and will be different for myself and her brother once he gets older
  • I purchased a devotional geared towards mothers and daughters to read with her every night
  • I do not allow electronics at the breakfast/dinner table to allow for conversation between her and myself
  • I have recently looked up more volunteer opportunities that we can do together

I am constantly looking for ways to create the emotional support that she needs as it is vital to her self-esteem and self-awareness. Recently, I read a book called How Full is Your Bucket by Tom Rath and my goal is to fill her bucket daily with positivity. I recommend reading this book and also StrengthsFinder 2.0. Just because something has been a certain way in your family for generations doesn’t mean that it can’t stop with you (and I am referring to something negative). You must proclaim that it will be different for you and yours. Purposefully parent!

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Let Go of the Past

I am not suLetting-Go-of-the-Past-during-Addiction-Treatmentre what your story is but I know that mine has to be similar to someone out there in the world. I met my children’s father when I was in high school and from that moment forward I saw something in him that he didn’t see in himself. I also noticed that over the years he became less pity-party and more manipulative, always using his good looks and words to get what he wanted. Long story short, it took me until recently to finally let go of the dream and move on. I am still in the process of truly giving up resentment and appreciating the hard lessons learned.
Through it all, I have seen that doors only opened when my focus was not on him and I did not let him back into mine and our children’s lives. New possibilities and happiness, and peace of mind cannot reside within if we keep holding onto the past. Although this is easier said than done for most people (including myself because I am a work in progress), it is a reality that we all must face.
The title of this blog came about when I first realized that I would be and had been a single mom for a while. The in and out and back and forth was not good for the children (or myself) but I was the only constant that they had. I am blessed to have family and friends that have always been there for us but, when you want to realize your dreams (writing, creating, owning your own business) you must make choices that place you in a state where you can move forward and open yourself up to the endless possibilities that exist for you. Those great things do not come when you are chasing after the wrong dream or stuck in a fog over someone or something that doesn’t deserve the attention that you are giving it.
I look back on the many opportunities that I missed out on because I was focused on the wrong thing. I can remember moments when I could have unwrapped the package that would have turned the tables in a positive direction for me but, I didn’t. Staying in destructive situations does something to your self-esteem, pride, emotions. These feelings can be transferred to your children. It doesn’t have to be a relationship that sets it off; it could be a failed job or project, dropping out of school. But, whatever it is, is what it ‘WAS’ and you must move on.
The life you want awaits you and you are never too old or too far behind to start all over again and make it better for yourself. I believe in you and I believe in me. So, let go of the past!