Healthy Parenting: An Art or a Science? (Part 2 of 3)

If parenting were a ‘science’, what would explain how several children (raised in the same extreme household of toxic vibrations, deprivation, and/or overindulgence) could each take very different lessons into adulthood? Or, when the home environment is ‘healthy’ - filled with love, trust, open communication and so on, how could one child go out into the world as a lost, searching soul? The fact is, some offspring blame while others credit parental judgment – the good, the bad, and the in-between. If neither the enriching nor lacking parenting techniques are the entire issue, wouldn’t conclusions point to ‘unique personality’ rather than the ‘blank slate’ theory?

So, if we are born with unique personality characteristics hard-wired into the brain, each child would have special needs and different reactions when faced with challenges. Further, each would use his or her personality predisposition to creatively interpret the ‘life tools’ provided during formative years. Ideally, the forming adult would have perspective so that a healthy life would be able to be built, even if the parents failed to adequately meet all needs.

Now, the responsibility falls on the young adult to seek out mentors to heal any gaps.

If parenting were an art, it would seem that the greatest gift a parent could give a child would be the strength to self-reflect and ability to find appropriate mentors (in the form of friendship and possibly therapy), to offer guidance in areas where the parents fell short. Not every parent is able to provide healthy role-modeling, particularly if unresolved about his/her own childhood trauma; however, fulfillment of personal, relationship, and professional potential can still take place. Perspective heals. It is a skill that allows one to embrace gratitude, let go of pain, and have the insight necessary to see past distractions. The ability to experience perspective comes from one’s internal make-up; however, to some degree, it can be learned – depending upon the motivation of the individual. Some argue that motivation may be hard-wired into the personality. When absent, it often causes extraordinary frustration for all – including the suffering, undeveloped person stuck in the ‘wounded-toddler’ stage.

Some child-development and parenting experts suggest that healthy role-modeling is best offered by a parent who achieved self-actualization and who has a sense of perspective; an adult who accepts responsibility for self-reflection and personal growth. Along that healing journey, we begin to recognize our own parents are/were products of their own interpretation of their upbringing. What if their parents (our grandparents) failed to set healthy examples that provided tools to help their children (our parents) achieve self-actualization?

Without proper personality traits, a healthy parenting environment might have been impossible for our parents to offer to us. What if a well-educated mental health provider was brought on the scene to assist with perspective? In this case, our parents might have developed skills to break the toxic patterns they couldn’t break on their own. If raised in an environment lacking in open communication, trust, mutual support and emotional safety, how likely is it that without perspective one can break that pattern unassisted? It is indeed possible to create a healthy home environment for future children, even if yours was lacking.