Psychologists can often be very hard on parents. Talk to a psychologist about a problem with anxiety, depression, an eating disorder, low self-esteem, and just about anything else and there is a good chance he will want to know about your childhood and your parents.
While it is fundamentally true that who we are today is, at least in part, a result of how we were treated by our parents, it does not give us an excuse to avoid responsibility for the people we choose to be today.
"The pressures of being a parent are equal to any pressure on earth. To be a conscious parent, and really look to that little being's mental and physical health is a responsibility which most of us, including me, avoid most of the time, because it's too hard. To put it loosely, the reason why kids are crazy is because nobody can face the responsibility of bringing them up." John Lennon
Childhood, no matter how bad it may have been, is a part of our past. And while it may help to explain how we got where we are, it cannot be used as an excuse to stagnate. We cannot go on forever blaming our parents for the mistakes that we choose to make today. Psychology helps us to understand how and why we became the people we are, but it does not give us the justification to remain that way.
The past is the past and it is gone forever and we need not reflect on it any more than we choose to. The present is what matters and in the present we are each responsible for the choices that we make everyday.
The truth is that in most cases our parents did the best job they could with what they knew. They did not have an instruction manual or parenting classes and they certainly did not have the benefit of Dr. Phil or the Learning Channel. They had to learn everything as they went along; and often under extreme circumstances. They had to make a living, pay bills, take care of a home, try to get along with each other, and raise babies all at the same time.
Were they perfect parents? No, of course not. But then again we were not perfect children.
There is tremendous power in forgiveness and forgiving our parents for past mistakes is not only a wonderful gift we can give to them, but also it is a gift of healing we can give to ourselves. Because whatever else they may have done or not done, if it were not for them, we would not be here. Our parents gave us the gift of life and, if nothing else, they deserve our thanks for that.
"The more people have studied different methods of bringing up children the more they have come to the conclusion that what good mothers and fathers instinctively feel like doing for their babies is the best after all." Benjamin Spock