“You need a license to buy a dog or drive a car. You even need a license to catch a fish. But they’ll let any [butt]hole be a father.” – Keanu Reeves, “Parenthood”
It was the movie quote above and a recent episode of the podcast Gettin’ Grown called “Daddy Lessons” that prompted this post.
Before you get married, people often suggest that you and your bethrothed attend premarital counseling. Whether from a pastor or a non-religious counselor, the counseling is meant to prepare you and your soon to be spouse on how to conduct yourself as a husband and wife. The idea is that these roles are so complicated to pull off that people need extra coaching to know how to communicate and how to resolve conflict.
But, there is no such coaching suggested for people prior to becoming parents.
I’m not talking about the childbirth classes where you learn how to hold a newborn, change a diaper, and breathe during labor pains. I mean some soul-searching counseling or reprogramming to prepare people to become parents before conception.
All of us have, in some way, been influenced by our childhood and the way we were raised. Too many of us are so unaware of the damage that may have been caused until it comes out in our own parenting style years later.
To be honest, the trauma from our childhood has a heavy impact on the way we view relationships in general. Addressing what has happened in the past is the first step in healing. The next steps…are up to you. You can choose to forgive your parents, who most likely only did and continue to do the best they can. Forgiveness is normally contingent on whether the offensive party shows remorse but unfortunately, that is out of your control.
Forgiveness is more for you and less about them. Holding on to that anger, guilt, torment, or whatever you feel will only cause you to sabotage any relationships you find yourself in later on down the road, and this includes a relationship with your children.
Better to get counseling now than to ignore your issues and lead your children to seek therapy on their own for any damages you might inflict on them.