Family Patterns

“Have you ever found yourself sounding like your mom or your dad?  How about looking in the mirror and seeing a disturbing resemblance to someone in your family?  Maybe, in an argument with someone, they spewed out, ‘You are acting just…like…your…dad!’

Family patterns can be positive and give us a feeling of belonging or can be quite negative and give us a feeling of helplessness or distaste.  We may be angry at ourselves because we see that we are just like our parent.”  (Excerpt from “Chained No More”)

Family patterns can be anything from the way we butter our bread, make our beds, bite our nails, or wear our hair.  They can also include holiday traditions, religious practices or family recipes.

The patterns that we may need to look at and break are ones such as addictions, abusive words and behaviors, pornography, lack of integrity, making promises and not keeping them or lying.

Let’s look at a pattern millions of people suffer with;  the subject of confrontation. Maybe when you were a kid, you heard a lot of screaming, yelling, swearing, and endless putdowns.  As a child, I am sure you can remember how minimized you felt; even to the point of not feeling loved or valued.  It seemed like you could never do anything right and were always in trouble, right?

Now, as an adult, you find that you are treating your own children or spouse the very same way.  Your kids or spouse try to stay out of your way, there is endless tension in the house, and you really don’t know how to show healthy and nurturing love.  How were you supposed to learn that when you didn’t see an example of it????

If this is you, your children probably feel the same way you did…minimized, unloved and not valued, right?  Do you want to change that, so you can break your family pattern?  First of all, do you want to change it, for the sake of your family? Here are some steps to take:

  1.  Think back on exactly how you felt as a kid with a parent or parents who made you feel less than and hurt you day after day.  What have been the effects on your adulthood?
  2. Take an honest assessment to determine if you are carrying that pattern onto your own kids.  Ask yourself what they must be feeling too and if you want them to carry that onto your grandchildren.
  3. Now begin to think before you blast your kids, cuss them out, put them down, make fun of them, or even hit them.  They don’t deserve it and neither do you deserve to have kids who avoid their own parent.  Practice new ways of speaking and interacting with your kids.  P.S.  Silence isn’t a bad thing unless it is used as a weapon.
  4. When you feel you can do this, genuinely apologize to your kids one by one for the way you have been hurting them.  You can explain that you had a childhood like that and you are going to keep trying to be a better parent and encourage instead of discourage them. If you pray, pray with each child and connect your hearts and commit to working together for a better relationship.

The key to this is being consistent, think before your speak or yell, and keep your goal in mind…to break bad family patterns.  It will take some time for your kids to trust you again, but stick with it, give hugs and smiles and “atta boys” liberally.

This is YOUR life and YOUR family now and YOU get to decide how it will go.  Let God guide your thoughts, words, actions, facial expressions, and extend the arms of Jesus to your own kids.  They deserve it and you do too!