“The Child Is Father of the Man”: Dr. Kevin Leman on Childhood Memories
by Alicea Jones from an interview with Christian psychologist, author and humorist, Dr. Kevin Leman on how our pasts affect how we parent.
Q – You’ve talked about parents who overcompensate in their parenting because they feel bad about their own upbringing. What impact does overcompensation have on parenting?
A – Number one, guilt is the propellant for most of the lousy decisions you’ll make in life. There are certainly more guilt gatherers who are females than males. Men generally don’t run on guilt. Lots of women do. Because they feel bad about the circumstances they bring to their family with their children, they overcompensate. “I’m just going to love Little Buford, love him, love him, love him.” Which ends up creating a little monster because she doesn’t have the guidelines she needs to have. She doesn’t have the firmness she needs to have. So that combination of guilt with no model to really follow in her family—she survived and she’s coping, and now she’s got kids and she doesn’t know what to do.
Okay, so how many of us haven’t made parenting decisions because we felt guilty? I certainly have, more than once. If I were starting all over again, I would ask myself before deciding to buy that new toy or whatever article of appeasement: “What is my purpose for doing this and what message am I sending to my child?” If my answer is that I feel guilty, then I’d try to give myself some time to think about what I was doing before acting. At least that’s what I hope I’d do. How about you?