I have often wondered how my own very dysfunctional childhood shaped my own adult behaviour, and how would I end up dealing with my own children when I became parent?
Growing up, as I have written on a number of occasions before, was tough to say the least. There was certainly no 2.4 family in my house. Not that there is anything wrong with that, because truth be known I would have killed for that as a child. Well not literally killed, but I’m sure you know what I mean!
My father was absent from a very early age and if he did turn up, he would be gone again in a blink of an eye, and by the time I was eight years old he had gone completly. In fact the next time I saw him was when I was 14 years old. If it was not such a sad moment for me then it would actually have been quite funny.
I had saved all my paper round money and raised money in general to buy myself a racing bike as I’d always wanted one, and it had taken a long time, so I was very proud of myself. I joined a cycling club and my father totally out of the blue offered to take me. I’m all for giving second chances, the mug that I am. So I said yes.
Looking back this was obviously a mistake. He turned up drunk, that I might add was nothing new. So I joined in on the cycling track and an hour later I finished thinking that my dad would be waiting to see me, and ask if I enjoyed it. What a fool I was. He was gone. It really shouldn’t have surprised me but it did, and hugely disappointed me. The feeling of hurt and upset would stay with me for a long while. Needless to say I was left to find my own way home. It would be many years before our paths crossed again.
As I said from the age of eight there was no dominant male figure or father figure in my life, which I believe left me at a disadvantage when I became a father myself.
I hadn’t experienced the role model of a dad, that as you grow into adulthood we all tend to mimic and apply some of those dad things that you saw your dad do. Of course sometimes you don’t have a clue how to handle a situation and some advice from your dad is invaluable.
As a child I always felt isolated from everybody else and at times detached from society. I found it easier not to show that I cared or show any love. After all I had never felt it back in my own childhood, well certainly not from my parents, and the occasions when I did show love towards my parents, I was always left wanting. I knew that when I became a dad I wanted to be different to the way my parents were towards me, but unfortunately in those early years of life your mind and feelings are shaped so dramatically by your family circumstances changing that is difficult. It almost felt like I was cleansing my thought patterns to start fresh with my own children.
My grandmother was the biggest influence in my life and looking back she brought me up for about 70% of my childhood as my mother would be off with her lastest man. I would be dropped off at my grandmothers house and picked up whenever my mother came back. My grandmother taught me family values and the importance of being there for family no matter what. I will be eternally grateful to my grandmother. She without a doubt prepared me better for adulthood and ultimately fatherhood than my parents ever did.
When I became a father for the first time it was a difficult adjustment for me. I needed to re-learn to care and love for another human being. It was a very difficult transition. I believe I have got there, but I still make similar mistakes that I saw my parents make when I was a child. I wonder if these are imprinted on my mind forever because I learnt these examples of parenting when my mind was so easily impressed.
My own childhood left many positives and negatives about parenting. Thankfully I believe I have only taken the positives as a father, but every now and now again a negative rears its head and I feel disappointed in myself.
My own parents totally inadequate ability to be a parents gave me one massive lesson. Be there for your children always and forever. I may be getting older,but my childhood not necessarily on daily basis lives on in me. Which have left me with some very unpleasant memories. Which of course my parents never gave it a second thought, when I was growing up.
I would love to hear your thoughts. Do you think your childhood has impacted your adult decisions when it comes to being a parent?