How many people do you reckon say they aren’t going to treat their kids the way their parents treated them. Granted my parents are a peculiarity but I honestly can’t imagine treating my kids the way my parents treated me. I can’t help but wonder though, if despite my best efforts my son is going to say the same thing about my parenting style. I discovered today that the optical illusion where you see the same picture inside a picture inside a picture is called the Droste Effect. I wonder if there is a parenting equivalent where we perpetuate cycles of behaviour. There probably is and it’s probably got a sociological name but I’m a visual person so I like the Droste Effect to describe it.
When I was chatting to my older brother earlier we were comparing our experiences of our parents. We had exactly the same mother and father but our experiences of who they were and how they behaved couldn’t be more different.
For example, my mother regularly used to tell me what a tyrant and deviant my father was and the sorts of things he did that were the reason she was so depressed. When I was 15 or 16, I can’t even remember the context of the conversation only that my mother was in tears as usual, but she announced (as further evidence of my father’s reign of misery over her) that my father liked her to push a dildo up his bum.
Let that just sink in for a minute. I was a teenager. That was my father.
What exactly was I supposed to do with that information?
I marched straight into my younger brother’s bedroom and said “if I’ve got to be traumatised by this shit then you have too, dad likes mum to shove a dildo up his arse” to which he let out a long “eeeewwwwwwwwwwwwww” and we never discussed it again.
I can hand on heart say I have never shared this level of intimate information with any of my children. For which they should thank me.