Staff writer - Maureen Gordon

When we talk about culture, we know it is a set of beliefs and traditions which a society, a country lives by. Cultural beliefs and practices are often passed down from one generation to the next and it is ingrained in a society. Our culture dictates what we do, and plays a big part in child rearing practices. I am from Jamaica, but brought up in the West, however it did not matter that my parents had changed location, they were still Caribbean and strongly attached to their cultural norms in regards to child rearing practices. As children we knew our place, we had to be respectful; at all times, knowing please, yes and thank you. We knew how to address other adults whether friends or family and we did not enter into a conversation when adults were talking because they were not talking to us. Our boundaries were clear and discipline was consistent if we stepped outside of those boundaries.

As an adult I can look back and see that some of that discipline was quite harsh. Although at the time I am sure my parents thought they were disciplining us in the right way, because that is all they knew. They did not want us to become wayward children, but children they could be proud of, they had their own parenting style.

Indo-Caribbean parents with impressionable teen

Parents need to know and understand the world their children are growing up and living in now, so if you can think back to your own childhood, what was that like? What are the memories you cherish, which ones would you rather forget? Our past experience of the parenting we received from our own parents or carers often has a profound impact on us and helps to shape the man or woman we become. Often because of these experiences we can struggle to know the best way to discipline, set boundaries and generally care for our own children.  We often repeat the patterns of our parents, some of which are not helpful to our children who are growing up in the 21st century. We cannot change what happened in our past, but we do have a say in how our future and our children’s future turns out. How can we ensure that our children and their children do not repeat the same patterns of family life we perhaps experienced?

Question to ponder

How does your past parenting experience impact on the way you parent your children?  I’d live to hear from you…