Monday, June 23, 2008

The Influence of Upbringing

Everyone says that you never know how much you're like your parents until you become one yourself. I like to call it 'the influence of upbringing'. Culture plays a part certainly but how you were parented is huge. I've thought about this a lot before: when I was younger and shared stories with friends of traditions in our house that were different from theirs, when I got 'new parents' and in particular when I think of how seamlessly my step-dad integrated into our daily lives and how much he must have sacrificed of his own lifestyle so that ours didn't have to change, when I got roommates, then again when I got married and Rob and I started learning how to be 'a husband' or 'a wife' and how our natural instincts and expectations were drawn from our families. And of course, I'm thinking of this even more now that I am a parent. It's natural, I guess.

As a parent, I notice the influence of upbringing most often when Rob and I are contrary. If Rob and I are totally on the same page about something, my brain just assumes that it's a universal fact. When we're not on the same page I automatically start thinking about where our ideas of parenting come from. Neither Rob nor I are parenting particularly 'by the book' - we aren't learning about parenting from books (yes, this is surprising to me given our normal tendencies). I think we try to learn about parenting by trial and error and by example. Obviously, our own parents are our biggest examples. It's interesting for me to see how this manifests itself in me and in Rob.

And while it is interesting for me to see this manifestation of our parents in ourselves -- I learned today that it is hurtful and insensitive to point it out to Rob while laughing and calling him by his mother's name. Sorry babe.

Talk to you soon,


No comments: