What Parents Do To Their Children


I’ve been thinking quite a bit lately about parents, and what they do to their children.  It’s the things they do on purpose to hurt their child, and sometimes the things they do without knowing, and sometimes, it’s the things they do, just because they can.  I’ve been wondering which case scenario is worse.

Realizing while a parent is still living that they will never, ever be the parent you would like them to be, and simply settling for a relationship of any sort to have that parent in your life…

Or

Realizing while a parent is still living that they will never, ever be the parent you would like them to be, and tiring of the game and the hurt, you live your life without that parent in it…

Or

Realizing after a parent is gone, that they were not the parent you believed they were, and you have no way to address, confront or confirm what you have discovered.  And realizing that you just have to tell yourself that you can live without the answers to the “What they hell were you thinking?” question that burns in your head and your heart.

Or

Realizing after a parent is gone; that they did the best they could with what they had, and no matter what things are left for you to figure out or try to heal, forgiveness is the only answer that will work…

Or

Realizing that no one is perfect, and yes that does include me, and you.

I don’t believe that anyone lives a life without regrets or at least a few; if only I had… thrown in there.  However, I question the life that leaves hurt, anger, and a child spending thousands of dollars in therapy trying to understand why they never measured up, or why they never felt loved, or why, or more to the point, how;  a parent could walk away, abuse, or simply not care about their own child.

I’ve come to understand through dealing with my relationship with my parents that every parent comes into their relationship with their own child with the baggage that was given them from their parent, and their parent before.  Passed from generation to generation are anger and regrets and family traits that aren’t always to be treasured and passed on.  When someone tells me I’m just like my mother or just like my father, I’m not so sure it’s always high praise!

In researching my family’s ancestry, I’ve come to understand some things, and I’ve also got a whole lot of questions with no one to give me any answers.  Lots of whys and how could he or she, and a whole lot of; are you kidding me?  I see cycles of neglect and self-interest that have lasted for generations.  Cycles unbroken because no one took the time, or had the courage to stand up and say: Enough. It was easier to just follow in footsteps that lead to absolutely nowhere. It’s heartbreaking.

As for me, I fit into every one of the scenarios that I listed above. My Dad left me pretty bruised and broken with no answers to the burning “why” questions I had. He simply wouldn’t answer, and I’m left to wonder. I understand a little better after learning of his family, but still… I’m left to wonder, and to try to heal the relationship with my only sibling after years of anger, hurt and turmoil caused by lies and deceit.  Happily, we are making things right between us, I just don’t believe we should have ever been placed in this situation.

What parents do to their children… Oy.

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About barbaraweicksel

My home is San Diego, CA - a most beautiful city. Mountains to the East, Pacific Ocean to the West, and the desert in between the mountains and the ocean. Beauty everywhere, but... The world is full of beauty, and I do love to travel. what I hope to share on these pages are my thoughts and some photos of the world as I see and experience it. I'd be happy to have you along on the journey - and then join me while I'm at home...
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9 Responses to What Parents Do To Their Children

  1. Such a heartfelt and emotional post to think about Barb. I personally know so many parents, like you said, that bring what they were taught and experienced into their relationship with their parents. I was one of the fortune kids who’s mother made every effort to avoid repeating the traumas that she was subjected to during her childhood. She was physically and verbally abused growing up and watched her mother deal with those same issues. My mother is my role model. She was so hurt as a child, that I would have understood her being angry, and repeating those cycles. And yet she was anything but. Her strength and determination to be better than that which came before is something I admire greatly. My heart goes out to those parents and children’s whose relationship dynamic is so very different from mine. Nice piece, and definitely something to think about. Thanks for sharing.

    • barbaraweicksel says:

      Jessica – You are so blessed to have such a strong family and bless your Mother for breaking the cycles and giving you strength and love to be the wonderful soul you are… ♥

  2. k.e. loe says:

    Reproduction has been taking place since there were gametes swimming in the primordial soup. Parenting is 100% subjective. Society gives us laws to follow about parenting. Schools gives us rules to follow about parenting. Families hand down all sorts of notions about what is good parenting. Yet the whole damned paradigm is controlled by people who may or may not know better, and children are the recipients of whatever is the result. Wealthy people hire people to raise their children. Some of the worst parents are indeed the most reproductively successful. It’s a system nearly guaranteed to fail…given the discrepancy between the standards and reality.

    • barbaraweicksel says:

      “Some of the worst parents are indeed the most reproductively successful.”Oh Kirk – Amen to you, my brother. You hit the nail on the head.

      • k.e. loe says:

        As someone who has adopted children out of the foster care system I can testify to the pain of this phenomenon. Some people, are so disadvantaged from their own backgrounds that they do not know any better. Having a child is a ‘success’ and an accomplishment, yet too too often producing a child leads to replicated abuse, anger and re-filling of the poverty coffers. Poverty does not mean bad parenting, but it clearly lends itself to making a bad situation worse. It’s tragic.

  3. Kate Flannery says:

    You know I have a lot to say on this topic…and your words really got me to thinking. My personal feelings and beliefs are a bit more extra-terrestrial (for want of a better word) – than the way most people view these things. The reasons behind the pain…what it means and how we survive and flourish in our own lives and dealings. I’m not going to go on here – although I’m tempted to…but I found this piece really interesting, touching and so meaningful on so many levels

  4. I, too, come from a long line of wounded people on my mother’s side. I don’t believe my mother was capable of love, nor was my aunt. I see how all 5 kids from those women have tried, in their own way, to stop the dynamic. In my case it was by not HAVING kids–the rest have had kids. My sister had 4. In many ways they are a happy lot–BUT… not ONE of them has married. I think she overdid the family bid and there are no “valances” left for NEW families to attach. (I could be wrong.)

    But I think we must remember that we are in the infancy iof understanding human behavior, My grandparents generation were just surviving. Simply to survive childbirth was not a given. For children to survive childhood was not a given.

    My fathers side if the family was, for some reason, NOT (recently) traumatized and did a much better job as far as I can make out–but my father did not escape unscathed– he married two wounded women that I know of–and one I know nothing about. I have a half brother I have never met. Far from a perfect record, although I know he tried very hard in his third marriage (all with kids) to do better than he did the first two. My half sister has made that very clear–but her life is far from idyllic.

    it;s not so easy being human!

    • barbaraweicksel says:

      None of us escape unscathed in this things called life, and no it isn’t easy being human. Neither side of my family ever talked about anything. You kept secrets and you told lies and that was how you survived. I’m so blessed to have moved away and broken a few of the cycles…

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