Firstly, Happy New Year to all of us!!
I believe that most parents are subconsciously parenting themselves, though overtly, they appear to be parenting their children. Think about how you were parented or how you parent your children today.
Our fears for our children seem to stem from our own unmet needs or our perceived failures and shortcomings. For example, if as a child I was rebuked for being lazy, perceiving that trait in my child is likely to evoke high anxiety. This anxiety then feeds into how I parent him/her. I may either be tough/harsh so as to make this trait "go away" or be overprotective so as to not to every cause hurt to my child. Either way, I am working on my past experiences and wishing they would change.
Similarly, someone who felt under-nurtured as a child might become a highly nurturing parent. Someone who feels regret for his/her life choices might become the "lecturing" parent and so on...The point I am trying to make (and trust me, I did not come with these ideas) is that parents would serve themselves and their children well if they looked inwards and recognized their own strengths, needs and fears. If we could do this, we would understand that our children are separate entities who may be like us in some ways but are entirely their own beings. Our children will have their own life experiences that have possibly nothing to do with our journeys.
The tendency to blame the child often arises when parents do not differentiate between themselves and their children (but rather see their children as extensions of themselves). In such cases, the blaming parent is possibly reliving his/her own hurt, not knowing how to heal. On the other extreme, the overly protective parent is, possibly from a sense of feeling alone/unprotected as a child, inadvertently preventing his/her child from growing into an independent being.
I have come to realize that the only way for me to influence my children's happiness and lives is by working very hard on my happiness and life. My fears, worries, yelling, cajoling etc., are likely to have no impact on their future experiences and if they do, it will possibly be negative. What will certainly positively impact my children's future is how I live my own life today and how I model/embody all that I want them to be as adults.
Sujata V, Ph.D, MFT
Always Learning..through the good AND not-so-good times!