Parenting’s Troubled History

This excerpt from The Bullying Antidote was recently published on ACEsConnection:

As we learned from the CDC-Kaiser Permanente ACE Study, negative childhood experiences are often kept secret, downplayed, or repressed because ofthe_belt our powerful desire to put such things behind us. Unfortunately, our minds and our brains don’t work that way. Patterns can play out automatically, no matter how hard we try to be original and create our own realities.Just as it is important to know family medical history (e.g., diabetes or tuberculosis) it is equally important to know about our social inheritance.What is your ancestry? What destructive patterns did your parents and grandparents overcome? Think back to your childhood, to how you were disciplined. What were the consequences in the short term? In the long term? There is a chilling quote from Time magazine essayist Lance Morrow, from his ACES-informed book, Heart: “Generations are boxes within boxes; inside my mother’s violence you find another box, which contains my grandfather’s violence, and inside that box (I suspect but do not know) you would find another box with some such black secret energy—stories within stories, receding in time.”

Punishment and Fear-Based Leadership

Authoritarian or autocratic leadership, the very strict style predominant in early 20th century European countries, was also the predominant style in the U.S. before the 1960s. Many families and subcultures in America still abide by this style. The primary goal of authoritarian parents is obedience; their tools are blame, shame, guilt, threats, force, and abuse. Their goal is to control, and their greatest tool is punishment.

Keep reading at: Parenting’s Troubled History | ACEsConnection


Discussion Questions: Chapter Fifteen

“Restructuring Family Power”

Anytime you have two or more people in a group, there is a power dynamic. This is also true in families, and always has been. Every family has its own power structure, and understanding how yours is built can give you insight into what your children are experiencing.

“This chapter explains in detail the dynamics of families that support a culture of bullying, and shows how those families can be restructured so that all those involved can be happier.” (p. 252)

Q: Looking at the bullets on pages 252 and 253, which of those common and widespread childrearing practices sound familiar to you?

“This section will illuminate some familiar parenting patterns that emerge when we are parenting on automatic.” (read “Autocratic Parenting Style” pp. 255; “Permissive Parenting Style” p. 258; and “Finding a Balance” p. 260)

Q: Were you raised by autocratic parents? Permissive parents? One of each? Ping-pong parents? What are you? 



“Old family patterns feel ‘right’; they seem like the way we ought to or have to do things. When unexamined and unquestioned, old patterns get automatically passed on from one generation to the next…. Evaluate each one, and then repeat the good stuff, repair the bad stuff.” (p. 254)

Q: Thinking of your childhood, what patterns helped make you a good person? On the other hand, have you ever declared, “I’ll never do that to my kids?” Talk or write about the troublesome and/or painful family dynamics you do not want to pass on to the next generation. Do you have a plan or strategy to help you do that?

“Nurture and structure are both important. Without structure, a nurtured child becomes self-centered. Without nurture, a structured child feels unloved. Both permissive and autocratic parents attempt to build these dimensions—but fail.” (p. 262)

Q: Why do children crave structure and thrive on routines? Why is nurturing essential? Working together, how can moms and create develop a balance? 



This question is always a good one:

Q: What sentence, paragraph, or idea popped out at you, or stuck with you after reading?

Reply in the Comments, below!

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