Ask the Therapist: I worry about being a good parent
Social scientific research has shown that children who receive unconditional love from their parents are more likely to develop into healthy and happy adults
I have not had a very good relationship with my mother for most part of my life. Now that I’m a mother to a five-year-old girl, I often wonder if that will impact my relationship with my child. Please advise. — Name Withheld
Dear Writer, I am sorry to hear that you have had a difficult relationship with your mother and hope that, in recent times, things have improved.
You and your mother might want to consider doing some relationship work to continue to improve your communication and understanding. By growing closer with your mother, it will set a good example for your daughter and help her see the rewards of a good parental relationship.
In my experience, I see the following pattern: if a mother has had a difficult relationship with her mother and is afraid of doing to her child what was done to her, she will be very careful to not repeat the pattern. On the other hand, when mothers lack awareness and insight into positive parenting techniques, they tend to repeat the cycle of dysfunction. Your writing to me tells me that you are aware and striving to be a different kind of parent than your mother was with you.
Social scientific research has shown that children who receive unconditional love from their parents are more likely to develop into healthy and happy adults, even if the parent makes mistakes (and all parents do make mistakes). You will make mistakes because this is part of the human condition, but if you continue to express your unconditional love for your daughter, the chances are she will grow up to be a well-adjusted, loving person.
Based on scientific studies in the field of pedagogy, the most appropriate style of parenting is the “authoritative” style. Combining an authoritative parenting style with positive parenting techniques will give you the tools to manage parenting challenges with the confidence that your child will thrive and experience a good childhood.
(Dr Annette is integrated psychotherapist at CHMC, Dubai. Got a query? Email us on firstname.lastname@example.org)