I didn’t have a happy childhood. My Mum was so temperamental that I could never judge what mood she would be in. So I was always on tenterhooks.
I didn’t like friends coming over because one of them might have said something that upset her and she would shout at me as if it was my fault when they left.
Nor did she let me go to sleepovers because she said I was so easily led and she didn’t now what I was up to. So she couldn’t sleep properly.
I could never do well enough in school. She never said I looked nice and my home life was always about how I let her down and didn’t think about how she felt.
Well, now I am away at university I have a bit more perspective. I can see that her approach to life is negative, mean spirited and selfish, which strangely is making me more confident. I even told a friend the other day that I am grateful to Mum because she has shown me exactly how I DON’T want to be.
I was so sad when Dad and Mum split up five years ago. Dad and I had such a special relationship. He always called me his ‘best girl.’ He had met someone else and one day he was there and the next he wasn’t.
I really missed Dad and kept asking Mum when I could go and see him. She said he was busy. It was months before he came to pick up my brother and I. He told us he was going to introduce us to his new friend.
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I was sad as I just wanted to spend time with him but that was obviously not going to happen. I thought his friend Joanne looked a bit like Mum. He also introduced us to her two daughters and the younger one sat on his lap while we had tea. I was so jealous.
It was months before we saw him again. He even forgot my birthday. On his next visit he told us they were getting married and Joanne would be my other Mum. ‘No she’s not’ I thought. Joanne told her daughters to take us up to their rooms because ‘we are all family now’. My brother stayed downstairs. I wish I had because they both showed me the new clothes Dad had bought them. When I got home I burst into tears because I didn’t have a Dad any more.
Helicopter Parents, so named because, like helicopters, they hover overhead overseeing their child’s life, and paying extremely close attention to what and how they do at school and college.
They are essentially well meaning, but can be obsessed with failure, which they want to avoid at all costs. It’s one reason why they take them to so many self-improving after school activities. When their child leaves school for college the Helicopter Parent still contacts them endlessly and stays closely involved with their progress. These parents focus on watching their child’s every move rather than being concerned about what their child actually wants. As a result their child can feel their parent is not genuinely interested in them.
Amy Chua’s book Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, (2012) created a huge reaction. It revealed her rigid and controlling stand with her daughters and wouldn’t let them to make their own decisions. For example, they were not allowed to watch TV or have sleepovers with schoolmates. Her book led to the use of the term Tiger Mother for parents who control their children excessively and shame and coerce them into meeting their own high expectations. It is hard for a child to have this type of parent who ignores their feelings and insists on micro-managing everything they do
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Do take a look at our video. It is addressed to teenagers.
Thanks to Dragon Drama
Being confident is important in many aspects of life but hard to feel it if your horrid parent crushes your spirit. Fortunately there are several quite simple steps that can help. For example, try to picture smiling at yourself - you can look at a photo, in a mirror or just imagine looking at your face. While you’re smiling kindly, think about some of the things that you most like about yourself. These might be qualities that your friends admire, or positive things that only you know about. Perhaps you have recently helped someone, achieved a goal, however small and learnt something new. When you have collected these positive thoughts, if possible, say them out loud. Repeat them at least once a day and choose a favourite, for example: ‘I am a warm and loveable person’ to say as often as you can.
Another self-confidence builder is to become aware of the times you criticise yourself. It’s natural to be judgmental but being too negative can be corrosive, especially if you judge yourself as harshly as your horrid parent judges you. If you have made a mistake, or forgotten something, admit it, think how you might do better next time then let the thought go.
You may have a friend, classmate or colleague who you see as an ideal person and long to be the same, but comparing yourself unfavourably with others can undermine your confidence. We are all different and have qualities that make us special and loveable.
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It’s also important to be realistic about your goals in life and not to expect to be perfect - this is an opportunity for self-criticism. Aim to be the best that YOU can be. Remember that most things take time to master so allow yourself to get them wrong. Set small goals that you can achieve and when you do, celebrate them. Try to understand what is in your power and what is not. Unkindness by your horrid parent may be beyond your control, but choosing to be kind to yourself and others is up to you and the more you do it the greater love and affection you will feel.
I have a horrid mother. It’s difficult to admit but she does such nasty things that there is really no doubt about it. I am fifteen now and am beginning to have views and likes and dislikes of my own. But I am not allowed to disagree with my mother. Her view stands and that’s it. I am not talking about politics. It’s more petty stuff like how long my hair is and wanting to be vegan when she likes meat.
If I say anything she disagrees with, she starts shouting, saying I will never amount to anything. That she wishes I had never been born and that while I live in her house – it’s Dad's too but that seems irrelevant – her views count. I feel so crushed and it’s so unfair. All my friends seem to get on with their parents even when they disagree with them.
I think the way my mother treats me is wrong and I don’t like her for it. I’m not perfect, but I am okay and her stopping me from being me is just horrid.
And yet…sometimes when we are out at a family celebration my mother is the life and soul of the party. She looks beautiful and is funny and charming. I feel proud of her and even love her. It’s natural to love your mother, not least because as a child you need her so much. But some of her behaviour must be a façade. Once we get home she starts shouting at me about things I said that she didn’t like. How I interrupted her and ruined her evening. ‘Can’t I enjoy anything?’ she says.
I meanwhile have no idea what I did wrong. Worse than that I don’t have anyone I can trust to understand me if I explain that although I do love my mother I also really, really dislike her. I don’t know how to manage it.
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We've been thinking a lot about what we want to do with your life.
There is an expiry date on blaming your parents for steering you in the wrong direction: the moment you are old enough to take the wheel, the responsibility lies with you.
If you feel you don’t have any control over the way your horrid parent starts and/or manipulates an argument, mindfulness can help by creating space between you and what is going on.
With practice it can remove you from feeling you are in the situation to observing it. There are many different techniques you can use. The best known is meditation. This involves being conscious of your breath and letting your thoughts cross your mind, with their associated emotions, without you trying to get involved in them.
The special breathing can be done anywhere, at any time and involves being still and focusing on your breath. Try it initially for one minute.
Breathe in through the nose counting to three and out through the mouth for another three. Take it easily and gently and try not to think of anything else. Be aware of each breath as it travels in and then out of your body. Once you manage to concentrate for a minute try two or three.
This breathing technique and becoming more aware of your surroundings will help you stay in the present moment and relieve your stress. It can also prevent any feelings of anxiety from past or possible future events from overwhelming you.
Committing yourself totally to the present moment isn’t easy and you need to be patient with yourself. Try to take each day as it come. It will also help if you can enjoy some of life’s simple wonders like the way the clouds move, the flight of birds and even drops of water when you turn on a tap.
Also try looking at an object like a tree as if you are seeing it for the first time. Think about how it has grown from a tiny seed, how the branches lift to the sunlight and the extraordinary way leaves open in the spring. Concentrate on it for a couple of minutes without letting yourself think about anything else.
If a negative thought comes into your mind, take a moment to recognise what it is and then try to release it by willing it away. With practice mindfulness can help rid you of automatic negative reactions and replace them with positive ones.
Mindfulness works for many people but not everyone. If it makes you feel uncomfortable stop doing it. Seeing friends, listening to music and reading are other ways of helping you escape from stress.
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