How Do Your Emotions Affect Your Parenting?

Do you find yourself losing your mind over the littlest things? Are there days that you are not the parent you work so hard to be? This may be due to some unresolved issues from childhood. I know I know such a cliché, but is it really?

“Hilary Jacobs Hendel, psychotherapist and author of the upcoming book It’s Not Always Depression (Random House, Feb. 2018) writes, “Patterns established in childhood repeat and become reinforced. That is the reason why the past affects us so much and why it takes longer to change the feelings and beliefs we acquired in childhood: childhood experiences —reinforced over years of life—form very strong brain cell networks.”


I have come to learn that I have some very strong feelings of inadequacy from my childhood that I thought I had long dealt with. But what I had really done was bury them deep inside. I have been seeing a therapist because of some difficulty with being an empty-nester. I had an identity crisis going on and I strongly desired to be able to go back in time and have more moments to cherish my kids. I felt like I did not get long enough with them. During my sessions, it came about that I don’t like to feel my emotions. And as we began to dive into this, I realized that I had been burying emotions and harboring false beliefs that continue to impact my reactions and feelings today.

This, in turn, had me thinking about some of my less than stellar moments as a mom. One of the things that would test my patience was when I felt my boys were not caring what I had to say. You know when they look like they are just waiting for you to shut up? Even though I know nobody likes to be lectured and really didn’t mean to lecture. I so strongly wanted them to understand why I was saying what I was saying.

I now realize that this is tied into my false belief of never being truly valued or good enough. I know this is false. I have plenty of loving supportive people in my life that encourage me all the time. But due to these undealt with emotions and beliefs, I cannot fully believe that I have value and am enough.

So when I was already overwhelmed and feeling like I wasn’t good enough and then added to it the feeling that my kids didn’t get me or appreciate what I was trying to do, I would come unhinged. These are the moments that I was snappy or yelled and would feel powerless to stop myself. By the way, psychiatric medicine helped this, but I obviously needed therapy too. I remember thinking to myself just shut up you are being ridiculous and yet it continued spewing out. Then inevitably I would be racked with guilt and having to apologize and trying to let them know it had nothing to do with them and that I was completely out of line.

If this is you or maybe you struggle in some other area, please find someone to help you deal with these things. I recently began learning a little about The Change Triangle this is similar to what I have been doing with my therapist. It is so helpful and enlightening. I will put a couple of links below. I hope my candor is helpful to you. Keep learning and remember we cannot have known what no one has ever taught us. No guilt needed. Dr. Siegel’s Mind Sight is a must-read.

I cannot recommend “Parenting from the Inside Out” enough.



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