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  • Do you have emotionally immature parents?

    I’m behind in posting what I send out in emails here, so this is from last weeks email: 7-6-22.

    I’m reading a book called Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents by Lindsay C. Gibson. It’s interesting to me, so I thought I’d share. 

    I want to start by saying, I’m thinking about the below listed traits in relation to me in my parenting to my 3 children (currently 11, 8, and 5), and in how I was parented.

    Parenting is deeply personal and people have LOTS of opinions and judgements about what is good parenting. 

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    In my opinion, parenting is one of the hardest jobs out there, and there are many ways to do it well, and many ways to screw it up. I recommend that as you read this, come at it from a place of compassion for yourself and compassion for the people that parented you. 

    If you screw it up, or identify yourself in some of the statements listed below, you can always repair. The human brain is ever changing and if you were wounded by your parents and find yourself repeating some of those harmful patterns with your kids, ask for help to heal yourself, and from there, you can heal your relationship with your kids. 

    Ok here’s a list of traits that emotionally immature parents exhibit from the book:

    • My parent often overreacted to relatively minor things.
    • My parent didn’t express much empathy or emotional awareness.
    • When it came to emotional closeness and feelings, my parent seemed uncomfortable and didn’t go there. 
    • My parent was often irritated by individual differences or different points of view.
    • When I was growing up, my parents used me as a confidant but wasn’t a confidant for me.
    • My parent often said and did things without thinking about people’s feelings.
    • I didn’t get much attention or sympathy from my parent, except maybe when I was really sick. 
    • My parent was inconsistent-sometimes wise, sometimes unreasonable. 
    • If I became upset, my parent either said something superficial and unhelpful or got angry and sarcastic. 
    • Conversations mostly centered on my parent’s interests.
    • Even polite disagreement could make my parent very defensive.
    • It was delating to tell my parent about my successes because it didn’t seem to matter. 
    • Facts and logic were no match for my parent’s opinions.
    • My parent wasn’t self-reflective and rarely looked at his or her role in a problem.
    • My parent tended to be a black-and-white thinker, and unreceptive to new ideas.

    If one or more of these statements describe your parent, you may have been dealing with an emotionally immature parent. (Side note: these are not something you may have experienced once or twice from your parent when they were stressed. It is meant to be a theme in their parenting. we all get stressed and act in self-protective ways that hurt others, so look at the list from a compassionate rather than defensive space, if possible.)

    I’ll leave you with this for this week…we all make mistakes. What matters is how we repair our mistakes, not expecting that we will be perfect.