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Break the Cycle of Abusive Parenting
“Those who don’t learn from the past are bound to repeat it” is a quote that you can use for many parts of life, and this quote especially applies to parenting. Many parents often use techniques that they learned from their own parents, for better or for worse.
If you were a victim of abusive parenting and are a parent yourself, you may wonder how you can parent without being abusive. Here are some ways that you can break the cycle.
Being Self-Aware is a Great First Step
If you’re aware that your parents were abusive and you don’t want to repeat their mistakes, that’s an amazing first step. Many parents are defensive of abusive techniques because their parents did it to them. Go to any comment section about spanking and you’ll hear people defending the act. Usually, it’s not with any data or scientific evidence, but instead the rallying cry of “I turned out fine”. Saying a practice is okay because you didn’t notice any long-term effects from it is not a good argument. Many people do not want to admit they were abused, and will often excuse their parents’ behavior and ignore any repercussions the abuse gave to them.
Learn How to Calm Yourself
When your kid does something that makes you angry, this is when you’re most vulnerable to abusing your child. Raising your child on anger is not the solution. Rage can blind someone, and teaching your children not to respond to a problem out of pure anger is an important life lesson.
So when you are angry at your child, it’s important that you learn calming techniques. Practicing meditative breathing or getting yourself a stress ball are some good ways to calm yourself down. Removing yourself from the area until you’re calm is also a good move to make. Give yourself some time, and then come back to the situation with a cooler head. Giving your child consequences for their actions is an important lesson to teach, but the key word is teach. Being violent to a child who doesn’t quite understand right from wrong is not a good way to parent.
Instead of punishing your child for something they’ve done wrong, instead focus on praising them for something they do right. Give them compliments and hugs whenever they’re on good behavior. Don’t buy them a gift or take them out to eat every time they’re good; this will just teach your child to be good for a reward, but instead teach them positivity.
It’s Not Just Physical
Some parents may think that abusive parenting involves touching, but this isn’t true at all. Screaming at a child or giving them excessive punishments for any wrongdoing is also abusive behavior. What you say to your child can have an impact on them, and it’s important you’re mindful of that.
When it Does Happen
No parent is going to be perfect, and mistakes will happen. If you lost your temper on your child, it’s important you rectify the situation as soon as possible. When you cool down, talk to your child. Explain that what you did is wrong, and that parents aren’t perfect. Calmly explain how you felt and how both sides can work to improve their behavior in the future.
If you feel like you’re at risk of being an abusive parent, breaking the cycle is your best option. One way you can do this is through therapy.
A therapist can help you to identify possible triggers for your anger, and teach your techniques on how to avoid them. Therapists can dive into your abusive past and teach you ways to cope with the demons you face.
With cognitive behavioral therapy and other techniques, you can learn how to turn your thinking around. Teaching yourself how to be more positive and to avoid anger is important, and a therapist can help you with this.
Therapy, whether in-person or online, can teach families to be better to one another. Don’t feel like you’ve failed as a parent because you need help. Knowing you need to better yourself and taking steps to change is brave, and we’re glad you’re doing it.