Whether we want to admit it 1, the fear of becoming our parents is not only real but also terrifying.
After all, what self-respecting teen or young adult would want to become the fuddy-duddies who gave them life and ushered them toward maturity. The concept is unthinkable. On a good day, the parents allow them to muddle through life until they find their life path. On most days, the guiding grownups are restrictive, behind the times and clueless about the world and life in general.
Then comes the day when the same young people look in the mirror and find Mom or Dad staring back at them. Physical resemblance to your parents is unavoidable because the horizontal mambo mixes genes in a cauldron of love.
But with the advances in modern vanity procedures, appearance is the least of your worries. Little nip here and lop off there, and you no longer have Daddy’s bulbous nose or Mommy’s thunder thighs. If a balding pate is part of your inheritance, hair plugs or other techniques are there to fix the problem.
The final proof you morphed into your parents is when words flow trippingly off your tongue. “Don’t make me stop the car.” “When I was your age (fill in any of countless retorts you heard the folks say).”
This writer’s personal favorite parental exclamation “What will people say?” To which she broke all rules the parents instilled in her by replying, “We are not Chinese! And saving face is not a Western tradition.” Mother did not like that one bit because talking back broke a bunch more rules.
Some believe if they concentrate and examine every word before speaking, the regression process will disappear. Those same folks are delusional because many of the things parents spouted were spoken to them as well. It is all a matter of repetition and not always genetics.
When you hear something repeated over and over again for a good chunk of the most malleable portion of your life, it will seep into your pores. Even when you try to suppress those words, they will pop up like zits on a teenager’s face the day before prom.
Since the focus of the young is not to become their parents, what do you suppose are the goals of those who gave them life and raised them? What are their fears?
Without a doubt, some parents expect the little urchins to become “mini-me” while others want the fruits of their looms to spread their wings and fly to whatever destination calls to their hearts. One thing no parent expects or foresees is that their offspring will become the exact opposite of them.
But the times change. If you do not adapt, you are left behind losing connections with the most important people in your life. Some differences are a direct result of “education” or what passes for it, but many changes are because nature needs balance. The Haves and the have-nots. The realists and the idealists. The contained or conservatives and the radicals, etcetera. Without the constant push and pull in life, stagnation would end everything.
Consequently, our children espouse beliefs often opposed to ours. But in the grand scheme of things, we should rejoice in the fact that opposites attract on some level. When everyone in your world thinks as you do, there is no growth or lively discussion among think-a-likes. There is something worse than stagnation. There is atrophy. Opposition stirs the blood, the mind, and the soul.
In our family, one child can turn on a dime in the middle of the most benign conversation. This child has more triggers than an army. What we have to remember is the child is loved and respected. No matter what they think they hear or know, no outburst will change the fact that they are a treasured member of the family.
Although the other child has triggers as well, they manifest in volume. The more impassioned the conversation, the more deafening the voice. The most effective response, “Yelling does not prove your point.”
The child calms, and balance reigns.