No-one comes from a perfect family background but, for some, the words ‘dysfunctional home” is an all too accurate description of their past. Their parents and grandparents may not have been terrible people, but were likely ‘broken’ people.
The truth for all of us is, that no matter how much we hate the dysfunctional aspects of our upbringing, unless we make a strong and definite mental choice to change things we will repeat history with our own family.
Along with our partner, we need to make the deliberate choice to be a ‘Transitional Generation’. Putting into action this choice will be a tough journey with no shortcuts. Be encouraged though, many families have chosen to break the chain of dysfunction and been successful. Ultimately we all choose the pain of change or the pain of regret.
OVERCOMING NEGATIVE FAMILY PATTERNS
1. ADMIT YOUR BROKENESS
We have to see our brokenness as a sign of strength, not weakness. When a person is truly broken of ego and can look at personal issues with a healthy perspective, they are ready to be a Transitional Parent.
Many people yearn for their family to be healthy and happy, but they are struggling with many issues likely to block such a positive outcome. On top of this, they’re so worn down from life in general that they simply don’t have the physical, emotional or spiritual stamina to make much of a difference. If this sounds like you, take the time to get the professional help you need to make a difference in your life and in your family.
2. DEVELOP THE COURAGE TO MAKE CHANGES
Remember the theme here: It’s either the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. What areas of your life do you need the courage to change? Remember you can’t help your kids come to a place you haven’t been. The very best step you can take in your parenting is to first work on your own “stuff”. Your show of courage will be a model of behaviour for your kids.
3. ESTABLISH REPLENISHING RELATIONSHIPS
Parents who represent the Transitional Generation often have difficulty with relationships, inside and outside the family. For one thing healthy relationships were not modelled for them. But also lasting connections don’t come naturally for many people. Regardless, too many people are trying to go it alone. We are not meant to handle heartbreak, sickness and broken relationships by ourselves. We were made for community.
In general, there are two types of people: very draining persons (VDPs) and very inspiring persons (VIPs). We will always have VDPs in our life but hopefully also VIPs. If you have a friend or family member who is draining, it doesn’t mean you ignore him or her. It simply means you must also have VIPs around to replenish you and your life.
4. KEEP AN ETERNAL PERSPECTIVE
The secret of financial planning is not preparing for the next three months or three years but for thirty years down the line. Parents need the same perspective. The secret to perseverance in parenting and being the Transitional Generation is creating a plan for thirty years and beyond. Our efforts will establish a legacy for generations to come.
Field Staff Manager
[Resource: “CONFIDENT PARENTING”, Jim Burns]