Your style of parenting or teaching has been influenced by the people that taught and
parented you. This is important for you to know because some of the styles that you adopt.
don’t really represent who you are or how you want to be. Think about your own.
experiences and history and notice where you can see some parallels, where you can see
some crossover between the experiences that you have had and the experiences that you
are now creating for others.
It is true that some parents and teachers are very conscious of undesirable experiences.
that they had and they make a real effort to provide an environment which is the complete
opposite. This can be favourable but it’s still worth evaluating because sometimes people
go too far the other way, like a pendulum that swings from one extreme to the other. For
example, if you had a teacher who was aggressive in how they interacted with their class,
who made people feel humiliated and embarrassed, it could really influence your teaching
style to be one where you are a good listener, gentle and considerate. So, the pendulum
has swung in the opposite direction. It might also mean that they sometimes got taken
advantage of, not necessarily by pupils, but by colleagues or other people in their life.
It’s still worth doing the audit, even if you feel that you have already been very conscious
of the influences that you have experienced yourself and you have already made efforts to
do things differently – by doing things in a different way may also be too extreme and it’s
worth thinking about how to get the balance right. Another reason why doing the audit is
important is because most of the time we are not terribly conscious of the things that we
do say and how we react and behave, where the programming we received really leaks
out unnoticed. If you have realised that sometimes your home is chaotic, it may have
something to do with the chaos that you experienced yourself as a child. If you’ve noticed
that you get stressed out in particular situations, you are probably recreating the stresses
of one of your own parents and you don’t need to do this.
Here is a good analogy – a daughter had her mum over for dinner and she was preparing a
big piece of pork for the Sunday roast. She said to her mum “before I roast the pork, I need
to cut the end off of it” and her mum said, “that’s correct”. The daughter said, “I learned
that from you but why do I do that?” Her mum said “Well, that’s the way that grandma
taught me”. So, the daughter learnt it from the mum and the mum learnt it from the
grandma. Then the daughter says “well, why did grandma do it?” And the mum says,
“that’s the way that her mum taught her”. So, they go to the grandma and they say, “when
you cook the pork, you always cut the end off before you roast it, why is that?” Grandma
said, “well, that’s the way great grandma taught me’. So, they go to the great grandma.
And they say, “Great grandma, I cut the end of the pork before I roast it, mum cuts the end
of the pork before she roasts it, grandma cuts the end of the pork before she roasts it, why
do we do this? Where did this tradition come from.” And great grandma says, “I always
used to cut the end off of the piece of pork before I roasted it because it was too big for my
So, sometimes there are things that once had a function that gets passed down through
our heritage, through our genealogy and in all sorts of other environmental ways. Those
things served a purpose once, but they do not serve a purpose anymore. But even if they
do there may be a better way of handling things, you have your own mind and you have
your own circumstances to work around.
There may be better ways to deal with some of these challenging situations at home or in
the classroom. You don’t necessarily need to do what you were taught or were
programmed to do, you can think of a better way. Is there a different way that you can
handle a situation, that would maybe bring about a completely different result, maybe it
would give you a sense of better control? That’s not to say that every time you do
something in a new way you’re going to get the right strategy straight away. For example,
you decide next time your child gets feisty with me I’m going to ignore it rather than trying
to calm them down or appease them. The first time you do this, it’s probably going to feel
slightly uncomfortable and you may get some resistance, you may need to lean into it and
do it a bit more. But it may also be a sign that that was not the right way to handle the
situation, in which case, you try something else. You don’t always get the right solution the
first time, you have to keep being creative and trying out new and different ways of doing
Let’s think about the things that you do, especially when situations are negative and
unwanted. What are the things that you do that were never your behaviours in the first
place that you have adopted from those that influenced you? Is it time to set those aside
and come up with some new ways for the future?