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how to not cause foo issues?

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Alyssamd24 posted 7/9/2014 19:20 PM

As a parent this is the biggest question I ask myself almost daily. ...how do I NOT screw up my kid? How do I make the right choices now so that she will grow up to be a happy and successful person?

Im sure there are other parents out there who feel the same way.

Tickingtock posted 7/9/2014 19:39 PM

Wow, that's a tough one. I think the fact that you worry about that means your children will be fine.

My parents divorced when I was 2. Hated each other for years. I had to listen to them yell at each other. I had to listen to them talk shit about each other.

My parents decided to fight each other for full custody when I was in 8th grade. A court official, who I thought was just a counselor who would keep everything I said confidential, reported to the court that I wanted to live my mother and not my father. Fuck you.

Honestly I'm getting just thinking about it.

But I turned out just fine. I am a healthy and educated 31 year woman who is confident, has never wanted or needed a man just for the sake of having one, and I love myself.

I did struggle for a while as a teenager. Sex, drugs, depression. But that was all brain chemistry. Even then I could feel that my brain wasn't right. And as I grew and matured I grew to love myself.

My parents have always loved me unconditionally. They have always had my best interest at heart. They both got along really well at my wedding last October.

The only specific thing they did that helped me not have FOO issues was to listen to me. They put me in counseling and after a few sessions the therapist sat them down and told them that I didn't need to be there, they did. I clearly articulated to everyone that I simply did not want to listen to them fight or talk badly about each other. That was it. And it was hard for them at first, which is why the therapist had to intervene, but they both tried and stopped those terrible habits.

Both of my parents have always encouraged me. They both think I could be president or work for NASA if I was so inclined (spoiler alert: I couldn't). They always focused on my accomplishments without being perfectionists. They celebrated the As, celebrated the Bs, and lectured me for the Cs. They loved that I was good at basketball and tennis but didn't care that I sucked at softball.

One thing that did mess with me and my self-esteem was how my dad would focus on cheerleaders at sporting events. He has taken me to sports my whole life; that was our thing. And he wasn't creepy or gawky or disrespectful to my step-mom. But he always commented on how pretty they were and encouraged me to approach them at events for a signed group picture of them. So subtle, but I think it still messes with my self-esteem and views of what men want sometimes.

Wow I can't remember the last time I spent this much time talking about myself. I hope there's something in this that helps.

ETA: I don't have kids.

[This message edited by Tickingtock at 8:28 PM, July 9th (Wednesday)]

WalkinOnEggshelz posted 7/9/2014 19:49 PM

I have a 13 and a 10 year old. Both girls. I see just about every possible FOO issue, dysfunction, and general craziness on a daily basis. I've come to the conclusion that there just is no avoiding giving your children some sort of FOO issues.

I try to reason with them. I tell them that I speak from experience. They hate it with a fiery passion when I make them own their actions. I tell them that I want them to learn these life skills when they are young rather than have to do so in their forties. I'm pretty sure they think I am bat shit crazy half the time. They'd be right but that's beside the point.

Just be the best parent you know how to be.

wheredoigo posted 7/9/2014 21:04 PM

I'm pretty sure they think I am bat shit crazy half the time. They'd be right but that's beside the point.

WOES, are you sure you aren't talking about me and my girls?

Great post Alyssa. I have thought about this a lot lately.

My conclusion? I think every child goes through issues, the key to it all is watching how they cope with every situation. If you see an unhealthy response over a long period of time, then counseling is definitely needed.
(Warning, this is a little by of a t/j for example purposes)
My DD, 12, had an issue with a girl bullying her. The girl was a former friend who had even went on vacation with our family. Unfortunately, that girl's FOO issues bled into my daughter's life. Her mother works as a VP of a very large company, travels 90% of the time and makes it up to her by buying her anything she wants; unfortunately, the that isn't the attention she wants, so she demands it from her "friends" in a negative way.

I knew then that was NOT a healthy view on a friendship for her and unfortunately the situation escalated due to the "friend" accusing my daughter of harassing her (the friend later told the counselor that she thought harass meant to ignore ), then the teacher handled the situation entirely the wrong way without following school protocol and made a huge deal in front of his class. (The teacher nearly lost his job over it all.) I began to see a change in my daughter over time with this friendship. My daughter would say things like, "I'd rather let my 'friend' be mean to me and I take it for my friends, rather than she be mean to my other friends."

I immediately put my daughter into counseling where she has since found better tools and a new outlook on what truly happened. It was one of those moments where O thought, my daughter is going to hear "Mom will always say I'm the best, but she's my mom" ; I knew she's need another adult to listen, validate her feelings and give her healthy tools without being a parent in her eyes.

End t/j

My point, it's knowing when to step in and provide the right tools to help them deal with a situation. Sometimes that can be you, while in other times it might call for counseling.

Teach them that mental health care is just as important as going to the dentist and doctor. Sometimes you need an extra ear and eye on how to approach a situation or thought process.

authenticnow posted 7/9/2014 21:09 PM

.how do I NOT screw up my kid? How do I make the right choices now so that she will grow up to be a happy and successful person?
Hell if I know!

rachelc posted 7/9/2014 21:14 PM

What a very good question and one I've not seen addressed on here.,, i know my children are conflict avoidant. They have never seen hubby and I fight or even call each other on anything, two have been to therapy.
They're all ok but I'm starting to see my daughters as chronic worriers and controllers. We go on vacation next week and I'm Going to have a sit down with them.

[This message edited by rachelc at 9:15 PM, July 9th (Wednesday)]

badchoice posted 7/9/2014 21:49 PM

Great thread!!

Someone please give the answer!

I see my 6 year old struggle for the last year in school, and it can be traced back to when BW and I S. I asked him last week why he was so sad and angry, and he told me because mom and dad are not together. It broke my heart.

I know he will have FOO, but I am trying so hard for him to figure out healthy coping skills, and have the ability to express himself to me. I make sure both my kids know they are loved by both BW and I, and that they can talk to me about anything, ask me anything, and that I will be honest. I haven't decided to put him in IC yet, but when he gets older I will most likely try it.

I think that is all i can do…Right?

wheredoigo posted 7/9/2014 22:18 PM

One more thing- (Can you tell you've hit on something I've really been chewing on?! )

Today I was watching Top Model (guilty pleasure but I call it bonding with my teens). I kept hearing all these kids talk about their FOO issues. It lead me to believe that I think that it has to be some part of the process of growing up, some find healthy ways to understand terrible, negative things that happen to them, while others do not. I really think there is no way to wholly protect them from it, but you can teach them the healthy way of thinking and coping skills. (I often use other similar situations a personality in one of the shows might experience--other than their own self since it a easier for them to see what someone else is doing rather than their own. Then we talk about it.)

I truly wish I could of had counseling as a teen and in my twenties; I think my life would of turned out completely different. (In a good way for both my BS, children, family and I.)

I think this could be the same for any WW. Counseling at the beginning of my poor coping habits could of deterred so much pain. Is that what you are kind of asking? How to cut them off at the pass before it evolves into something bigger?

In the end, I don't think we will know until they are older... And even if they do, you can only take responsibility for your wrong in the situation and then steer them in the correct path of how to appropriately deal with the situation in the most healthy manner by your own example.

I will try and remember to continue to take my own advice...it's so hard not to get caught up in life sometimes, but I've grown now to know that it must be stopped and dealt with; which I think you are totally doing as well by facing your own past and growing in your own healing.

[This message edited by wheredoigo at 10:23 PM, July 9th (Wednesday)]

Alyssamd24 posted 7/10/2014 05:51 AM

Thanks for all the replies....good to know I am not the only one confused about this whole parenting thing

I guess it comes down to communication and support....to give my daughter the confidence needed to come to my BH and I when she needs something.

My DD is the spitting image of my BH....physically she is his mini me, and looks nothing like me...but when it comes to personality she is just like me...and this is what worries me. A few nights ago when I was putting her to bed she was over tired and therefore emotional. I asked her why she forgets to listen and (crying) she told me "mommy its so hard to be little sometimes".

I wanted to laugh cuz it was pretty cute, but realized what she said is totally true...she is five and only knows how to be little....I cant argue with that....I have to let her feel what she feels, and then help her figure out how to deal with the feelings.

walktheline posted 7/10/2014 07:10 AM

I don't have children, so I am probably the least qualified person to chime in on this…but I did grow up with a pretty unhealthy family. What would have helped me not have FOO issues:

1) Parents who actually made an effort to get to know me and to parent me as an individual. I still don't think my parents really "get" me.

2) Offer support, even when I made mistakes. Teach me how to live as a person who makes mistakes and how to cope with them in healthy ways.

3) Model healthy communication, commitment, and love. I know this is probably the hardest thing to do when two spouses are trying to reconcile after infidelity, but of course I think this is pretty important.

Take it for what it's worth. (About a half penny.)

HobbesTheTiger posted 7/10/2014 08:11 AM

Great question!

Some of my suggestions of what I wish my parents would have done:
1. Get yourself into individual counselling to figure out if you have any FOO issues and address them
2. Regularly check with kids' teachers etc. regarding their behaviour etc.
3. Get kids to see a family therapist to see if there are any FOO developing, and address them. If there aren't any, get your kids to see one once every 6 months, kind of like you'd take them to see a dentist, doctor etc.
4. Make sure you read good books on parenting, showing bad and good examples (Families and how to survive them - by Skynner; Toxic parents - by forward;-both available online...) and follow them as you see fit.

Best wishes to all of you parents!

tired girl posted 7/10/2014 08:44 AM

HL and I can look back and see areas that we fixed from our own families and areas that we have passed on. Now that our children are grown we talk to them when we see then continuing cycles. We give them books to read. They have seen our struggles and trying to save the marriage. Sometimes they listen sometimes they don't. You do your best and that is all you can do.

Didact posted 7/10/2014 11:48 AM

I have decided that the only way to avoid causing FOO issues to someone involves condoms or birth control pills.

No one is immune, no matter how hard you try. Make sure your kids know they love you and that you're doing all you can for them. We are all broken in some way or another.

familyfirst posted 7/10/2014 12:19 PM

I will be following this thread!

My kids are very involved in sports. I've seen them have pressure at such a young age and try so hard to not make their identity and self worth rovolve around "winning". I read that the best thing I can do after an event is to not comment on the outcome or offer suggestions on how to improve but rather say "I love to watch you play". I've been trying this. I'll let you know in 20 years if it worked or not!

DrJekyll posted 7/10/2014 12:52 PM

I am working on my FOO issues so as to stop the cycle that my grandparents handed my parents, and they in turn handed to me. C is in the future for my DC

But I agree that the only way to not cause FOO issues is to not have children.

Actionsoverwords posted 7/10/2014 17:45 PM

This is a topic that hits so close to home for me. I am the least qualified person to comment on this thread so I will cast my vote with the lot that says the only way is to not have any children.

However, for those of us that do, that answer doesn't apply. One thing my BW and my numerous counselor's have told me is that your children are their own person. It doesn't help to project our own insecurities onto our children. They may have a lot to overcome due to family history, but no matter how hard one tries, it is impossible to try to save them from every variable.

t/j here.

I grew up without my biological father. I didn't find out who he was until earlier this year, and it turns out that he died at a young age from his excesses, some of which I have inherited. My mother made poor choices and they affected me tremendously. Every man that I can recall that she was ever with abused me. I have so many FOO issues, issues with boundaries, etc., that I am working on, but if I am honest with myself, the choices that I made were mine, and not my parents.

Just food for thought. Don't be too hard on yourself. Love your kids, teach them well and try to set an example for them.

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