“I don’t want to turn into my parents” is a very common belief that people share – often for good reason. If your parents were emotionally distant, for example, and you have children of your own, then of course you do not want to be like them. You can use that as motivation to be more loving and affectionate. That is a healthy choice for you to make for yourself and your family.
But it is one thing to want to be different from our parents because of past trauma or different parenting beliefs. It is quite another to want to be different from our parents *because they are our parents.*
Rebelling and Adulthood
When we are in our teenage years, it is not uncommon to be rebellious. Many of us felt like we needed to break free from our parent’s rules in order to find ourselves and know more about who we are.
But in adult life, rebelling against your parents can be harmful. That is not to say that you need to be like them. After all, your parents are imperfect. Chances are, there were things you needed or ways they acted that are not ideal to your life, and you don’t want to be like them as you navigate the challenges of adulthood. That is perfectly reasonable.
Still, decisions need to be made independently irrespective of whether it is similar or different from your parents. Not everything your parents did was right. But not everything your parents did was wrong. Most things and most people are not a binary good or bad.
Rebelling against their behaviors specifically because you do not want to be like your parents runs the risk of introducing new traumas to your own life and your own children, as you are making decisions not based on what’s right for you, but how you can be different.
Always Do What’s in YOUR Best Interests
Knowing yourself and living your best life means knowing what is in your best interests, not anyone else’s. It means making decisions not because of what your parents chose to do, but because of what will bring you the most life satisfaction, the happiest/healthiest kids, and so much more. Sometimes that will mean you have to be different from your parents. Sometimes that will mean you have to be the same. But your decision shouldn’t really be about your parents at all. Rather, it’s about learning to be objective, and really understanding your own decisions.