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Are you the parent you want to be?

I don’t mean an Instagram-ready, Pinterest-perfect parent whose well-dressed children are always well-behaved and have never eaten a backseat chicken nugget.

I mean a parent who kids trust.

A parent who kids respect.

A parent whose kids feel loved.

A parent you’d be happy for your kids to emulate.

Your behavior as a parent is largely defined by how your parents treated you. Traumatic incidents from your childhood are commonly stirred up when you experience similar scenarios with your kids, and moments when you blow up and start yelling are often based on reactions to your own childhood experiences, not your kids’ behavior.

You may be acting the way your parents acted, for better or worse.

Think of how your parents related to you and ask yourself: am I re-enacting their behavior? Does this situation remind me of any experiences from my own childhood? Are there any negative ways my parents related to me that I’m projecting onto my kids? Am I overcompensating for ways I was deprived as a child?

Be kind to yourself; most of this stuff is unconscious, which is why it’s helpful to consciously think about it.

The second step is thinking about the ways in which your kids are different people than you. How are their personalities different? How are their needs different than yours were as a kid? Seeing your kids as their own people and seeing yourself as your own person separate from your parents can liberate all of you and free you to attune to your children and be the parent they need.

What are the biggest ways you feel you consciously or unconsciously emulate your parents?

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