“I was raised ________ and I turned out just fine.”
No. No, you didn’t. You are broken. I am broken. We are all broken.
We are a generation of adults who began our lives learning to “self-soothe” in our cradles. Our first, most natural, and basic need for comfort was denied. We learned that in times of crisis, no one is coming for us.
So we became insecure and untrusting.
We are a generation of adults who were raised in homes where sparing the rod meant spoiling the child.
We were punished with physical violence. Some of us were beaten, hit, bloodied, and bruised. Because hitting is easier than talking and explaining. Hitting is easier than sticking to a more involved form of discipline. Pushing boundaries is a part of growth, but our growth was marred by every swat of the paddle against our backsides. Every slap across the face. We learned that growth brought punishment.
So we remained childlike in our ability to cope.
We are a generation of adults who were raised by parents who were told that children should be seen and not heard. Vocalizing opinions, thoughts, feelings, wasn’t our place. Adults knew better. We learned that our opinions, thoughts, and feelings don’t matter.
So we stay quiet when we are challenged.
We are a generation of the broken, raised by a generation of broken. Because their parents were also broken.
This is when it stops. This is when the cycle of brokenness ends. This is when we start to realize the mistakes of the generations upon generations before us.
We are the ones who will raise a generation of the unbroken.
We will hold our children when they cry and assure them they are safe and cared for.
We will teach our children that boundaries are created for their safety, and not punish them with physical violence, but adhere to more peaceful, more effective forms of discipline.
We will talk to our children about big feelings. We will help them to learn the words to express themselves. We will teach them that their thoughts and feelings matter, and so also do the thoughts and feelings of others. We’ll teach them that concessions and compromises are a part of life. We’ll teach them to vocalize their thoughts, and also to listen and learn from others.
I am not angry about how we were raised.
Our parents did the best they knew how with the tools they were given. But those tools have become obsolete. We no longer live in that world. Our new world requires kindness. Empathy. Courage. And strength of character.