EP19 – Are You Teaching Your Kids To Treat You Badly?

You are the example of how your children will treat you. Break the cycle. Forgive. Do it for your children and for yourself.

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Hello and welcome to this episode of, I don't know Jack, about parenting, where today I'm going to talk about how if you aren't loving on your parents, if you don't have a good relationship with your parents, guess what? You're teaching your kids to have a poor relationship with you.

Children are going to mimic whatever we do

Hey, welcome back to today's episode of, I don't know, Jack, about parenting, where today I'm going to talk about how if you don't have a loving, nurturing relationship with your own parents, in essence you are probably teaching your kids to treat you the same exact way when they are adults. Now you could say, well, you don't understand. Listen, I've heard it all, if and it may be in this episode to wasn't playing, maybe I'll share with you my broken relationship with my parents, and how I chose to forgive them so that I can be a better father for my boys. Look at the end of the day, children are going to mimic whatever we do and they're going to mimic that same behavior when they get older. If it wasn't important for you to call mom or dad or send them Christmas cards or birthday cards or gather on special occasions, they're going to mimic that behavior as adults.

You're just teaching them right now through your behavior, how it's all right to treat their elderly parents. And that is you. So if you choose not to have a relationship for whatever reason, if you choose not to mend that relationship, if it's broken, if you choose to speak negatively, when your parents names come up in conversation, whether with a spouse, friends, siblings, if, those are your choices around your children. Guess what? You are absolutely teaching them that it is okay to speak negatively about you when they are older. So let me share a story if that's okay with you. Wow. I didn't think I was going to go here but. But I, I guess I will...

I want Santa to bring these presents

For those of you have read the book or order book... be the best dad you wish you had. I always talk about in there or one of the things I talk about it as I was abandoned by my father at age five, but what I don't do is go into the story. So I'll go into the story. And the story is this. When I was just about five years old, it was right before my fifth birthday. It was right before Christmas, a couple of weeks. And I remember sitting there at my mom's house is the parents were divorced and saying, mom, you know, I've been a good boy this year. Over at Dad's house, I want Santa to bring these presents. And over here I want them to bring these presents.

And at that time, my mom basically shared with me that I no longer would be going to my father's house and then I wouldn't be seeing him any longer, but rest assured that Santa would be bringing all of the toys to her house. I guess that was just her way of easing the painful message that I had just heard. Um, we're not going to get into the details of my childhood, but I can honestly say, although subconsciously it probably affected me in a great way, consciously. I didn't really think about not having a dad. I had older brothers. I had coaches, I had teachers, I had mentors. Uh, the lack of a father in my life obviously affected me at some level. However, it wasn't something where I doted on as a child.

But men want that approval of their father

It really didn't hit me until I was about 22, 23. Graduated College, had a good job, was doing what I consider to be well for myself. And I thought to myself, there's someone out there that created me that would be proud. And I think every man, right, uh, at every child period. But especially men want that approval of their father. So I sought him out, took me till I was about 25 to go and see my father and at that time I poured my heart out to him. I showed him how I was a scholar athlete, how I had gotten a scholarship to play sports in college, how I was all county won championships, how I had graduated college, first person in my family to do so I shared all these things and I had one question for him at the end of a, for lack of a better term, a four hour presentation of what a great person I had become all for him to say, I don't want to speak negatively about your mother, but I don't believe it was so. So what? He said, I want to speak negatively about your mother. She obviously did an excellent job with you. He goes, but I don't believe that I'm your father.

Now let me give you a little preamble to that. Which was I had asked my mom shortly before that, mom, I'm about to go see dad. Is there anything I need to know and she may have shared some things, but she didn't share that thing.

99.97 percent chance

She kind of said, you know, we, we had our differences. We went our separate ways and that's where she left it. She left me to go speak to a perfect stranger that whom I thought was my father who was not. How did I find that out? I asked him if he would do a DNA test. And he said yes, and he came back 99.97 percent chance that he was not my father. Uh, and when I shared this with my mother, she immediately shared, um, oh, it's this other man.

So not only was I rejected by who I thought was my father at that point, I felt betrayed by my mother for having me become that vulnerable with a perfect stranger who she knew was not my father. Anger is an understatement for what I felt in that moment. To be honest with you, I didn't get a lot of answers for the next 10 years. No matter how many letters I wrote or how many times I asked mom for some answers, maybe she felt as though there was no answer that would satisfy my craving for wanting to know what happened or, but no matter how much I conveyed to her, I wasn't getting any answers. And again, maybe. And I look back on it and she's wiser than I am, right? She, she probably knew, no matter what she said, I'd still be upset and angry. So she chose the silent treatment. So I was angry, pissed off at my mother for 10 years. I'm from 25 to 35. And through that anger, it didn't serve anybody. It didn't serve our relationship, didn't serve any of the relationships I was in, right?

So now I'm rejected by him

Anytime a woman did anything in my life, I felt as though she was betraying my trust at some level. Um, you know, I didn't trust my own mother. How could I trust another human being that's a woman. So, so I had some relationship issues. My father, when she told me him, I called him, got up the courage to become vulnerable once again. And his response was, I'm going through some health issues right now. This is news to me. Uh, it's not something I want to deal with right now. So now I'm rejected by him, rejected by who I thought was my father, rejected by my father, lied to by my mother about my mere existence. Like I'm just questioning my existence and where I come from and nobody wants to tell me where I come from, who I come from. And a lot of its a lie. There's betrayal in there. There's infidelity, there is, um...

I came into this world of unintentionally, and now I am questioning if I was even wanted or desired, in this life. So talk about confused, frustrated, angry, any negative emotion you can depict in your mind. That's what I felt. Um, when I found out that I was a product of basically my mom cheating on her husband.


So fast forward, I'm 35 years old. I get married to the woman of my dreams. I find out I'm going to be a father. I start doing a lot of soul searching and personal development. I need to be a better man for, for me, I'm telling you this, I don't know Jack about parenting, but something I know about life is this is something I've learned and it took me 35 years to learn it. Uh, you have to truly forgive those who have hurt you and honor them because if not, you're going to carry those burdens and play victim. The rest of your life. And victims aren't victors. Um, we must take responsibility.

They didn't break the cycle

I'm here. So, so I did some personal development and somebody said something very intelligent to me. It made a lot of sense to me and said, listen, your parents made mistakes. They're human. They didn't break the cycle and know whatever mistakes they made with you, they learned it from your grandparents and your grandparents learned it from their great grandparents. Now you could continue the cycle or you can choose to break the cycle. And I've heard this about three weeks before my son was born.

So I chose to break the cycle. I went at that moment, they said, your parents gave you the greatest thing they could ever give you in that was this thing we call life. So be in gratitude for them, giving you life, and now that you're an adult, you get to choose how you live that life. You can live it being a victim or you could choose it being a victor and, and the only way to bridge that gap is to forgive your parents for anything, for any mistakes they had ever made, and thank them for the greatest gift they ever gave you, which is this life you live. Two days later, I showed up on my father's doorstep. I met my maker, if you would. I saw a lot of myself in this person. We shared stories. We laughed, we hugged, I forgave him for any, uh, for anything, anything like, like there wasn't even anything to forgive.

I knew I was loved

He apparently didn't know, but if he did know and he lied, I forgive him for that. I forgave my mom... truly because there's, my mom was a great mom. She did everything she could in her power with the knowledge she knew to raise a good child. I knew I was loved. I had shelter over my head. And more importantly than that, she gave me a even greater than life. She gave me wisdom in this life through her actions. Um, and that is irreplaceable. Now I could focus on, um, her not knowing how to share maybe what she considers to be, one of her bigger mistakes, whether that was the infidelity and, and creating me, I don't think she considers me a mistake, whether that is her not knowing how to communicate with me. 

Um, and, and, and honestly me not knowing how to receive it, all that gets squashed because she gave me the greatest thing she could ever give me, which is life. I often talk to my mother and I when we get on the phone. Um, mom, if you're watching this it's for hours, uh, I can talk to my mom for hours about anything. And I love that part of our relationship. I still don't have a relationship with my father because he chooses not to. But I often send him pictures of my boys and what's going on and, and, um, and, and just what's going on in our life and how he receives that and, and, or how he doesn't.

I can't control. I can only control me. So I don't know Jack about parenting, but I know this. We must learn to forgive those who hurt us because if we don't, we will continue to play a story in our head of negativity if we haven't forgiven and they will continue to hurt us, but it's not them hurting us. It's the story we play in our head. So I encourage you, I don't know Jack about parenting. I know this.

Forgive them for it

Our kids pick up on everything they pick up on your lack of relationship or negative relationship or hurt relationship with your parents. All you need to truly do is thank them for what they gave you, which is life. Any mistakes they made, forgive them for it. And regardless of how they receive it, have zero expectations and move forward with loving on your children and acknowledging your parents for the things they did right in your life.

Stop focusing on the negative because that's not empowering your children. As a matter of fact, it's a detriment to their development. It's a detriment to your development as a parent because all you're going to say, well, I do it this way because my mom did it this way. I did it this way because my dad did it this way and they didn't do it right and I don't know any better. Dammit, you know better. You're an adult. You could research.

You have all the information you need

We have access to all kinds of tools we have access to and people say, oh, I don't have money for a therapist. I don't have money for the right doctors on it. If you got a cell phone in his country and you have access to Google, you have all the information you need. The only problem is, is you're playing victim as opposed to moving forward, uh, and making better choices for yourself and your family. So I don't know Jack about parenting, but I know that if you continue to have a poor relationship with your parents, your kids will mimic that behavior and potentially have a very poor relationship with you. We'll see you in the next episode.

Ryan Roy

About the Author

Ryan Roy

Ryan Roy is the father of two boys and on a mission to be the dad he wished he had... and to help other fathers be the best they can be too.

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