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20 Reasons Why Having Young Parents Can Add Meaning To Your Life

20 Reasons Why Having Young Parents Can Add Meaning To Your Life

For most people, becoming a parent is a life-changing experience. No matter who you are and how old you are, it’s a significant time when you learn the power of unconditional love, selflessness, laughter and how to make time for those who matter.

I know this because I’m 26 and I have three young children. I wouldn’t be who I am today without the experiences I’ve had as a parent. In fact, my husband and I believe that becoming parents at an early stage of our lives has always benefited us, and our kids, in so many ways.

Here are the 20 reasons why having young parents can add meaning to your life.

1. They take you on their own learning journey

I was 18 years old when I had my first child. Although my husband and I were already talking about babies, we were not emotionally and mentally ready to have children yet. We were still in the process of learning who we were and what was important to us. But becoming parents has helped us to grow as people. It has given us more confidence, taught us to care less what other people think, to appreciate the important things in life.

Young parents may not always have the financial stability that older parents have, or the life experience, but we are always learning. We are always giving it our everything. We are always showing our children that no matter what age or stage you are at in life, you always have the potential to learn something new.

2. They make mistakes

Over the past 8 years, my husband and I have become much more patient and understanding parents. We weren’t always like that. At the beginning, we struggled to put on the first diaper, our children’s diets weren’t as healthy as they could be, and we were so focused on routines that we didn’t just enjoy being a parent.

Having children young means that we may not always know what the right thing to do is. But that’s okay.

I’ve always admitted my mistakes, and I’ve always taught my kids that it’s okay to get things wrong. My kids are learning that it’s okay not to be perfect.

3. They always strive to become better

I used to be someone who was too shy to ask questions. Someone who never put their hand up in class. I had a really low self-esteem and lacked confidence. Becoming a parent changed all that for me. I learnt that it takes a lot of courage to speak up. That there’s no shame in asking for help.

Young parents know that others think they’re not ‘up to the job’. They know that people doubt their capabilities. But they absolutely love their children and they are determined to do what’s best for them.

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4. They show you that life is filled with ups and downs

Our family has gone through many different challenges. We’ve moved house several times, we’ve overcome family difficulties, we’ve encountered other personal problems. But we have survived.

Young parents know that difficult times can come and go, but sticking by each other is what’s important.

5. They have an optimistic view of life

As a 26 year old, I am very hopeful about my future. I believe that I still have my whole life ahead of me. I have many more dreams, goals and achievements to strive for. I have places to see, people to meet, lessons to learn.

When raising my three young girls, this approach helps to encourage them to believe that anything is possible. That life is full of so many opportunities. That your life can be whatever you want it to be.

6. They remind you to laugh

My husband and I often do a lot of laughing around our kids. We believe that life can be so stressful and that this is why it’s important to see the lighter side of it. Laughter really is the best medicine.

Having young parents means that you can often bounce back easier. That you can find the humour in every situation.

7. They like being silly and playful with you

Our girls love to hang off their Daddy’s legs like monkeys. They also like to tickle him and chase him around the house. I love sipping on tea with my girls and pretending we’re all having a picnic. Young parents often love to chase their kids around, to crawl around with them in an indoor play ground, to sing along with them in the car. We know that we can be silly at times, but it’s always worth it when our reward is our child’s laughter.

8. They share their hobbies and interests with you

My husband and I first met in a car club. He still loves to tinker with cars and my interest still exists as well. Our girls have a passion for cars too. Sharing our hobbies and interests with our kids shows them that as well as being parents, we’re individuals with our own likes and dislikes.

Young parents want their kids to know that they didn’t ‘mess up’ their life. In fact, they’ve completed their life.

9. They can relate to how you’re feeling

I still have very vivid memories of my childhood. Memories of the activities I did, who I spent time with, and the times when I got upset.

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Although young parents are often seen to have less emotional maturity, they can still imagine how their child would be feeling. They can think back to their own childhood and use that as a starting point. For many young parents, it really doesn’t feel too long ago a time.

10. They show you that it’s okay to cry

My children have seen me cry, and I know there’s no shame in that. I want my kids to know that we all feel down sometimes and it’s much better to let it out. That strength comes from acknowledging how you feel, as opposed to bottling it up inside.

Young parents might be going through a lot of hardship, and struggling to keep their emotions intact. But by crying it out, they’re showing their kids that they’re only human.

11. They don’t let others’ negative opinions rule their life

As a young mother, I’ve been confronted with a lot of criticism and judgement. I’ve had strangers make snide comments. I’ve had my parenting ability questioned because I’m “too young to understand what’s best for your child.”

But I’ve had to have confidence in my abilities. I’ve had to remember everything I’ve done for my kids. All the trouble my first child had breastfeeding and the fact that I persevered. The hundreds of specialist appointments I’ve attended for my girls. All the time I’ve spent rushing back and forth for my kids, determined to do what’s right by them.

Young parents may be given so much unsolicited advice, but they remain strong and do what’s best for their family. They teach their kids that you have to do what’s right for you, not somebody else. That your own happiness is what’s most important.

12. They want you to be less judgemental of others

Being met with all this negativity hasn’t turned me into a bitter person. It’s helped me to raise my children to be kind, to respect others, and not to judge.

Young parents are often judged, so the last thing they want is to do that to someone else.

13. They learn forgiveness through you

I’ve never had the best relationship with my mom. We’ve always clashed due to our personality differences.

But after becoming a mother at 18, I realized all the sacrifices that my mom made to raise my siblings and me. It gave me the strength to forgive her for all the painful things that happened in the past.

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Young parents may have had a difficult relationship with their own parents, but they want their kids to know their grandparents. They want their kids to understand their own identity and to have a greater sense of family.

14. They want you to never give up on your dreams

When I became a mother for the first time, I put my college studies on hold. I chose to stay at home and be there for my daughter. But I never gave up on my dreams. I never gave up my ambitious nature. I never gave on my passion for helping others through psychology and personal development. I now study and work from home.

Young parents do put many of their dreams on hold. They’ve made sacrifices along the way. But they’ve also proven that if they dream hard enough, their dreams can still come true. They want you to know that you shouldn’t give up either.

15. They teach you the importance of self-love

For the first 5 years of parenting, I hardly ever did anything for myself. I was so determined to give the kids my full attention, I dismissed my own needs. But now, I’ll buy things for myself. I take a bit more pride in my appearance. I don’t always say ‘yes’ to please everyone.

Young parents may be stereotyped to be more ‘selfish’, but we just don’t want to completely forget what matters to us. We know that a child deserves a mother who is happy with who they are.

16. They share practical advice with you

When my husband and I had our first child, we’d only moved out recently. We weren’t cooking healthy dinners, we were struggling to keep on top of the housework, and had financial difficulties. But as our circumstances improved, so did our skills.

Young parents are still learning to juggle the responsibilities of being an adult, as well as a parent. But as they’re learning, they’re able to share it with their kids along the way too.

17. They believe in second chances

I have been a stay at home mother. I have worked from home. I have studied from home. My life never stopped because I had children. It simply changed.

Young parents know that sometimes life doesn’t turn out the way that you expected it to, but not to feel discouraged. They want their children to know that you can always get right back up again.

18. They teach you the meaning of unconditional love

All parents make sacrifices. They put their careers on hold. They stop going out as often and don’t remember the last time they had a good night’s sleep.

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Young parents may have to sacrifice just a bit more, but they’re not wishing things were different. Those sacrifices have just deepened their love for you.

19. They teach you to cherish the moment

My husband and I want our kids to value working hard, but we also want them to enjoy life too. We want them to spend hours at a playground just because it’s fun. We want them to dress up in costumes and pretend to be whatever it is that they want to be. We want them to experience life, try new things, step outside their comfort zone.

Being a young mother, I want to make these ‘extra years’ count.

20. They’re proud that their lives are more meaningful now

Throughout the past 8 years, my husband and I have been met with a lot of confusion and surprise. “Why would you want children so early?” people would ask. But for both of us, we wouldn’t have it any other way. Here’s a quote that sums up perfectly how I feel:

“Being a young mom means that we met a little early, but it also means I get to love you a little longer. Some people said that my life ended when I had a baby but my life had just begun. You didn’t take away from my future, you gave me a new one.” – titaa

I am sure that many other young parents can relate to the love that I feel for my kids.

And how much more meaningful they have made my life.

Featured photo credit: Takmeomeo via pixabay.com

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Last Updated on November 11, 2019

Can a Dysfunctional Family Become Functional?

Can a Dysfunctional Family Become Functional?

A dysfunctional family is more than disagreement or constant arguments. Anything from plain neglect, to abuse and even verbal and physical violence is the everyday experience of those who are part of a dysfunctional family.

You know how this looks:

  • Parents constantly comparing children.
  • Siblings in conflict because of tolerated bullying.
  • Domestic violence.
  • Adultery…
  • And many others.

For all the members, this will mean emotional pain and even trauma; which, in case it doesn’t get resolved, will have a detrimental effect on the individual’s personality and development.

Needless to say, the younger members are the most vulnerable, but that doesn’t mean the parents are out of danger, as most commonly the parents play the roles of abuser-codependent, and in some cases, both parts inflicting pain on one another.

Most like to think these problems stem from deep-seated issues, and that therefore it’s pretty much impossible to deal with them.

This is only true for families not willing to do what it takes, for if only a single member is determined and knows how to do it, the whole family can do a lot of progress.

In this article, I’ll break down for you the basic steps of fixing a dysfunctional family. Although it may seem hopeless, it is possible to turn things around.

If you have ever felt in this position, or if you know somebody who is, this article is for you.

How to fix a dysfunctional family

In a few words the solution for a dysfunctional family lies in dropping the ego, focusing on the solution, switching blame for responsibility and doing the work as a unity, for the good of the whole family.

And this will accomplish things you once only saw as a dream.

Dropping the ego? Switching blame for responsibility? Doing the work? What does all this mean?

It’s simple. In a nutshell, it’s that which will allow you to turn a dysfunctional family into a functional one.

Let’s take a look at how exactly this can be done. And near the end we will also talk about what you can do in a dysfunctional family with cynical traits.

Dysfunctional families where not only problems are well-known, but also nobody seems to want a fix or openly decide to perpetuate the harmful behaviors. Such as the case of abuse and physical violence.

There is also a solution for these, it’s just not what you are expecting…

Dysfunctional… Or just average?

Most families are dysfunctional, though at varying degrees of dysfunctionality.

The milder cases, are just marked by “typical” comically-shrouded bullying or lack of interest in other members’ development or wellbeing.

You can know a family is dysfunctional if their interactions are anything different than cooperation, solidarity, care and support. But let’s get more specific…

A dysfunctional family is one in which members directly or indirectly suffer emotional and/or physical harm inflicted by other members of their family. Most commonly, perpetrated by the parents.

Even harmful actions as “passive” as neglect, which is inflicted by inaction rather than action, signifies a dysfunction within the family.

Dysfunctional families have conflicts such as:

  • Unrealistic expectations
  • Lack of interest and time spent together
  • Sexism
  • Utilitarianism
  • Lack of empathy
  • Unequal or unfair treatment
  • Disrespect towards boundaries
  • Control Issues
  • Jealousy
  • Verbal and physical abuse
  • Violence and even sexual misconduct or abuse

You may think a dysfunctional family has very little or nothing to do with personal productivity, but you would be wrong in thinking this way…

If a person is not emotionally well, she will not be able to perform as desired, as the emotional harm that has been inflicted will hinder everyday performance in the way of inability to concentrate, lack of mental clarity and low levels of inspiration, motivation and discipline.

Having a functional family does exactly the opposite: It creates productive members with no emotional baggage.

How to turn it around

When you’re part of a dysfunctional family you know it. You can quickly identify in other members the behaviors and conflicts that create the dysfunction.

But just in case you’re having trouble telling functional from dysfunctional I will tell you the following:

One of the easiest ways you can recognize if you are in a dysfunctional family is to survey your won feelings.

We often overlook this, but have you stopped to ask yourself how you feel?

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As cheesy as it may sound it really sheds a lot of light on the subject.

What behaviors, actions and attitudes in your family you wish were better?

Do you think certain behaviors and actions from your family marked you in the past?

Sadly, we cannot go back to the past to correct it. But we can do a lot in the present…

Correction is possible

In order to fix a dysfunctional family, you must start by putting an end to the behaviors and actions that are affecting you.

Verbalize it.

All members of the dysfunctional family have one issue in common: They don’t put a stop to the harm.

Whenever you feel your boundaries being overstepped there is just one single word you have to remember: STOP.

This is the door to a better, more functional family, because after this, comes the fix.

But first you have to identify and make others know where exactly lies the problem.

So go ahead and fearlessly start with “Stop”, followed by your expression of dissatisfaction.

Putting it to work in real life

In real life it would be something like this:

“OK, stop! Every time you belittle me I feel you don’t care. I need attention and respect, and it is your responsibility as my family to provide them to me”

Or:

“Stop. When you compare me with my cousin it hurts, I feel like I don’t matter and that’s not ok. I ask you to stop doing it.

Or:

“Please stop. When you start yelling all respect is lost and it turns into a battle of who can do it louder. Don’t raise your voice and let’s work this out the way humans do”.

As you can see, here you start by putting a stop to the toxic behavior when it arises. And afterwards you verbalize why it’s wrong and what needs of you need to be fulfilled.

This is what you have to remember:

1-Stop.

2-Why it’s wrong?

3-What you need.

And this will also work well in case you need to do it for another family member.

It’s a family thing

A dysfunctional family cannot be fixed by one member alone.

Yes, a single member can initiate progress and be the leader of the change. But in order to completely become functional all members must contribute to the solution.

In other words, you will need cooperation…

So don’t be afraid of asking for it!

Approach your family member and ask to be listened.

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We sometimes feel our needs are “not that important” or we simply believe they won’t listen. But thinking like this would be like being defeated at an unfought battle.

You will be amazed by how much people listen when you voice your needs, especially if it implies showing yourself open, vulnerable and in need.

It’s not a free-for-all battle

In order to get your family to cooperate, first you must fix your individual relationships with every member of the family. Remember: Relationships are always between two people, and two people only.

No matter how complex, the quality of a multi-member relationship (like a family) will always depend on the quality of the individual relationships.

Once you have straightened the relationship with every member of the dysfunctional family you will be able to better communicate with other members and help in the betterment of their individual relationship.

And this is where we will talk about the fix itself. The one I mentioned in the introduction…

The method

1. Drop the ego

Wherever there is conflict there is ego.

You cannot fix a relationship where there is ego, because the ego will want to win. Always. Yours and the other person.

Ego craves control and satisfaction, and in many cases, to establish dominance.

What does this have to do with a dysfunctional family? Everything. Ego will interfere with every plan you have to fix it.

It will make people suborn and defensive. And it will also make them drop responsibility. This is why, the first step is to drop the ego.

After you make sure you are not going to allow your ego to interfere you must work to make the other person do the same. How? By speaking from the heart…

Tell the other person how important all this is to you.

Tell the other person that it’s not a matter of arguing, but just working things out together.

Point out how it is not possible for you to do it alone.

And ask for sincere attention without any desire of opposition, because what you are doing is by no means in the hopes of harming the other person, but just to better the relationship and stop the damage being dealt to you.

You will have to point out the mistakes you need corrected, that’s for sure. And that leads me to the next point…

2. Not blame, but responsibility

When talking about others’ mistakes we often use an accusatory tone. And that’s natural, it’s what things should be like if ego was not present.

But since we are all creatures of ego, this immediately brings the shields up. And then unsheathes the swords…

When we blame others they automatically enter a defensive state, and this only leads to a failed negotiation.

What you need to do is to shift from blame to responsibility. And even that will have to be done carefully!

Instead of telling them off or demanding change or complaining, calmly point what the problem with their behavior is.

As much as this feels contradictory, also make them feel understood. You know how difficult it is to accept a mistake, so just make them feel it’s no big fuzz… which does not mean it’s ok, but it takes tension off.

You will do something like this:

“Hello dad. Can I talk with you for a minute? I really need to tell you something.

I have been feeling pretty sad lately and I know this is something you do care about.

You see, whenever I talk about my accomplishments you mention something else that makes my achievement pale in comparison.

I know you don’t do this intentionally and I know you might have not realized this until now, but I want to let you know this really brings me down.

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It would mean a lot to me if you could stop doing it, and it would help better our relationship, because this has already forced me to distance myself from you. And I don’t want that, I want a good, healthy relationship with you”

What happened here?

We started off with making it something important, something that needs both time and attention. Then we openly show ourselves vulnerable, just as we are.

We also mention why he should listen, and shove our feelings there again, because they are important.

We describe the issue with no attachment and with no hostile intention. It’s just a description.

And then we take the blame off. Just before we assign responsibility without actually saying it.

You are not blaming him directly, but you are pointing out the inevitable fact that his actions are causing a dysfunctionality. He is now responsible for changing.

This is what “switching blame for responsibility” means. What comes next? Doing the work!

3. Doing the work

What would any of this mean if, in the end, nothing changes? Exactly, nothing!

This is why you must follow up with every change that needs to be done.

Do so in a manner that is not hostile. Bring it up in a casual manner, and emphasizing how you both reached an agreement and how that is important to the family.

If the person doesn’t follow up don’t hesitate to bring it up again, and tell them you feel disappointed that your honest try at it was not listened.

It may even be a subject in itself, and therefore the need for another conversation.

“When you go back to old habits it shows that you didn’t really care about what I said. But back in real life you just reinforce how much contempt you show towards me and my feelings.

I talk with you because I care. Because although it would be easier for me to just distance myself from you I rather do my part in nurturing this relationship.

But there is just so much I can do, if you refuse to do your part I can do nothing else.”

You need very clear and positive communication in order to make this work.

Love is all you need

You must remember that in order for a dysfunctional family to become functional, all the work needs to stem from love.

That is the single one requirement for all this to work: Love.

And what happens if it simply is not there?

What happens if, nobody is willing to do what it takes?

What happens if a member of the family refuses to change and is happy with the harm he or she is dealing?

There is only one thing you can do:

To break away.

Let’s be honest, people, especially adults, are very difficult to change.

There is a Jewish proverb that I love, which sums it up like this:

“We spend the rest of our lives trying to unlearn what we learned before we were 7”

If you find it very hard to change the very traits that make your family dysfunctional or if it’s simply impossible, you still have a card up your sleeve…

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Although nobody likes to beak away from family members, we must remember we have a responsibility with ourselves as individuals, before any relationship with anyone.

You have the responsibility of making yourself happy and free. Because you matter as an individual, regardless of any relationships you have, be it family, friendship or romantic.

Putting distance

So in case you are dealing with a family member who is simply unwilling to change take both physical and emotional distance.

What do I mean?

Learn, first, to take their damage in a detached manner.

Don’t let it hurt you further. Instead take a deep breath and distance yourself emotionally.

Don’t be attached to feelings such as “Why doesn’t she love me?” or “What did I do to deserve this?” or “If he wasn’t like that my life would be perfect”.

Simply refuse to keep participating in the emotional downward spiral and accept, even if it’s painful” that there is nothing you can do. Accept that even without that relationship you are whole, you are worthy of love and respect.

They are their responsibility and you are yours. So decide what is best for you.

Realize it only comes down to two possibilities:

I keep the relationship and therefore accept the abuse. Or…

I choose my peace of mind.

And don’t let your mind fool you. We often think that since we all are imperfect, we must take the good and the bad behaviors of people. And we are especially forgiving towards our family…

Well, guess what? We are also responsible adults who are aware and must own to their acts. Never excuse abuse or violence or transgression towards you or anybody else.

Choose your happiness and if possible, also distance yourself physically, as it will increase your peace of mind tenfold.

How to prevent it

There are two key concepts you must bear in mind in order to prevent the dysfunctionality of a family:

  • To be completely aware of one’s own mistakes and not allow them to impact others and…
  • To make sure our SO’s are also on the same channel before creating a family (i.e. having children)

Dysfunctional families are the product of irresponsible paternity, for the decades-long unresolved emotional conflict ends up surfacing in the family inevitably, and it will for sure harm those who least deserve it: Innocent children.

You may notice we went from talking about family, to talking about individual relationships, to talking about you. We went from “them” to “us” to “me”.

Why? Because in the end you have the power to fix a dysfunctional family. To correct the mistakes you have in yours and to prevent dysfunctionalities if you don’t have a family but plan to create one.

Priorities and clear thought

You may be part of a dysfunctional family, but that does not mean you are powerless or that you have to suffer the consequences.

You learned today how it’s all a matter of priorities and thinking clearly.

You learned that, if love exists, everything is possible. You learned that even when there is no love and no fix for your dysfunctional family, there are still things you can do. It’s a matter of choosing your peace, because you deserve it.

Everything will be better if you apply this knowledge. If you talk to that problematic family member. If you help them see the harm they are doing. If you make sure they do change and treat you the way you need to be treated…

If you choose yourself over that toxic family member. If you refuse to justify the harm that others can do to yourself. If you realize the most important relationship you have is with yourself.

And lastly, that you also have to be aware of your actions and be open to criticism. Because we might be unknowingly harming others. And that would be us creating a dysfunctionality. Don’t allow it to happen.

Dysfunctional families are not impossible to fix. It just takes love, cooperation and responsibility.

But if you tried and those elements are not present, just choose yourself instead.

Featured photo credit: Xavier Mouton Photographie via unsplash.com

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