Kids tend to possess traits of their parents. In some cases, it can be your eyes or your coloring. In other cases it can be personality traits. If its your personality, most parents probably hope that it will be a positive attribute. After all, you want your kids to have the best lives that they possibly can.
I am definitely OCD and anal retentive. And I’m not saying this in a cute, funny sort of way. And I’m also not saying it in the sense that I have received a diagnosis. But anyone close to me knows I have strong OCD tendencies. Some are basic things like I prefer certain toys to be in certain organizational buckets (i.e. the sports toys in the sports toy bin). Others are a little more obscure, as in the position of certain picture frames or direction of light switches.
Adam has learned to live with some of my idiosyncrasies and others have improved by shear nature of not being able to control everything when you live with three other beings. I have gotten better with most of it but there are also some things that have gotten worse after having kids and having more things to manage.
Being anal retentive is a personality flaw but being OCD is at times completely my nature. There are times I do things that I’m completely unaware of doing because it’s so unconscious. Clearly I can work on the anal retentive components of my personality – not insisting on toys being in certain boxes or allowing beds to stay unmade. Whatever amount of letting go I do, there is still some habitual crazy behavior that I just do because I just do it.
If I were to design a perfect human being, obviously an oxymoron because no human being can be perfect but as well balanced and successful as possible, I would not want them to have any of the hangups I do. I do not get joy out of living a life of obsessive behavior, it’s just who I am. And I have come to terms with some of it and continuously try to improve the part I can control but some of it is just my basic nature.
Drew has recently been more obvious with some of his own OCD behaviors. And as much as I believe that my OCD tendencies are ingrained in me, I hate to think that they have at all rubbed off on him. I do not wish him a life of obsessing over minuscule details. But just as I passed my blue eyes on to him, I have apparently passed some of my behaviors down to him as well.
I know that no kid is going to go through life scot-free. As much as well intentioned parents try to raise their kids to the best of their abilities, some where along the way kids develop issues that can only be attributed to their parents. That being said, OCD and anal retentiveness are not qualities I would like to pass on. I’d be happy if they died with me. So now I have given him yet another reason to complain about me in therapy when he gets older. Joy.
So, I was looking at the August edition of Parents magazine, and noticed a few articles I found interesting…”Bring out the best in your kids”-learning to parent to your child’s personality, “Oops! discipline goofs” and “Be a more mellow mom”. Haven’t read them all yet, but while reading the mellow mom one, I thought of your most recent blog. The article is written by a Zen Buddhist mom, who finds that some of the Zen principles apply to parenting. the one that made me think of you is “leave no trace”. you are supposed to take responsibility your yourself and your mess, and teach your child the same…so maybe its not OCD or AR, you’re just Zen?
Oh and there was one more article on the 6 germiest places and how to deal, while still letting your kid be a kid.
Now, if i just can find the time to read all the articles!
I think there may be plenty of words to describe my parenting style but I’m not sure Zen is one of them! Maybe more like emotional, hot headed, crazy, etc. A little more fitting! I breezed through those articles too and am thinking I maybe need to go back and be more thorough. I do agree, though, that there is something about being accountable for your actions. So I’m embracing that all of Drew’s OCD tendencies come directly from me. So maybe I’ll make him a more empathetic adult who can fess up to his faults as a result. Or maybe I’ll just make him into an OCD nut like me. Either way it’s gonna happen so I might as well just deal with it.
I think we share the same parenting style. By the way am not passing my traits down by nature, but nurture seems to be working in full force over here.