Please read and respond to 2 essays from Week One. It will be called Week Two Discussion: Your Parenting Essays.
Essay # 1: A strong respect for my parents Contains unread posts
I was born and raised in Southern Maryland and truly experienced growing up in a small town. In 1995 my father moved from Greenbelt and bought a home in Calvert County. My mother moved to Calvert County at 10 years old and had my older sister when she was only 17. Shortly after my father moved to Southern Maryland and a couple years after my mother having my older sister, my parents met on a blind date after being set up by a mutual friend. They married in 1997 on February 14th, and almost exactly one year later I was born on February 13th. I grew up in a home with my mother, father, sister, and myself, as well as our family dog. Most of my childhood memory revolves around me spending time with my parents outside in the backyard or at sporting practices where my parents either coached me or cheered me on.
While I had an incredible childhood, my parents ultimately grew apart and divorced when I was 11 years old. This was a very trying time for my family as my parents ultimately had to adapt to splitting time, sharing holidays, and living on a single income. However, the moment that shaped my thinking about my parents the most involves their divorce and how the separation was handled. Although my parents were struggling financially and emotionally, as most do when experiencing a divorce, they never once allowed me to feel the effects. At no time did either of my parents talk bad about one another in front of me and never did they let me see any potential arguing or court battles. Instead, I saw my parents communicated with each other in front of me, sat together at my games and school functions, and supported me just as if nothing had happened to our family.
Although I am an adult now and my parents do not talk much as most of their previous conversations revolved around myself and my well-being, the manner in which my parents handled their divorce will always be the most pivotal moments in which I developed a strong respect for my parents. I would likely have a much different memory of my family and childhood if I would have been wedged between the two of them.
While neither of my parents experienced divorce growing up, they did in fact face hardships. At the age of 17 my mom found out she was pregnant. Parenthood can be a difficult situation at any age, and to handle such experiences as a young adult and high school student can be even more challenging. The story of my mother telling her parents she was pregnant is somewhat comical today, however a very pivotal moment in her life.
When my mom found out she was pregnant, she told my grandmother and then proceeded to leave the house and stay with a friend for a few days so that my grandmother could tell my grandfather that his daughter was pregnant. Rather than receiving a harsh reaction, my grandparents were quite supportive of my mom. They never threatened to kick her out, or scold her for her actions as they truly wanted to support her. With this reaction, and support from my grandparents, my mother finished her senior year of high school even after having a baby girl in March.
This experience shaped my mother into the woman that she is today as she is the most supportive person in my life. I know that without a doubt I can, and do, call my mom at any moment I need her help or guidance. Additionally, my family now has changed significantly because of these experiences. I now have a very close relationship with both of my parents as well as my step-father who has played a big role in my life. I live with my fiancé and our dog and hope to use these experiences in the future when I am a parent to support my children and be a guiding force in their lives.
Essay # 2: Growing up Contains unread posts
I grew up in the care of my grandparents. We live in a most African American community where everyone knew everyone and we had lots of fun. However my situation was not a very unique one where I grew up. Most of us were not raised by our parents. My situation was unique in the sense that my mother was still around however she grew up with me more like my sister rather than my mother.
My father was in and out of prison and I did not officially meet him until I was 11 years old. My mother met my step father when she was pregnant with me and he has been my “father figure” since I was born. My grandparents became my legal guardians and change my last name to theirs.
Culturally African American families like to stay as close knit as possible and I like to believe that we were in a sense. We spent lots of time together going out to the beach and having family reunions from when I was younger that I can remember.
With all of this being said I still think that I have hard feelings about my parents because my mother raised my siblings together and one home and I was raised along with my grandparents. My grandfather did not get along very well. My biological father and I still have a very rough relationship because even when he came home from prison I think he could have tried a little harder to build a better bond with me.
Today I think the fact that I was not raised by neither of my parents has shaped the way I think about my parents. My mother always treated me like I was sister and the responsibility of my grandmother so her and I never built a good bond like most mother and daughters.
My father was never around at all so I have no connection with him at all and honestly I know very little about him outside of his first name and what he looks like. I remember a lot of things my mother used to say and do to me that made me feel like an outsider at her home.
I never felt like I was her daughter growing up and it made me resent, not only her, but my siblings as well. I always wanted to loving parents that I felt like everyone else had. I never got that. I only got love from my grandmother and I will say that she gave me a wonderful upbringing.
My biological mother does not have a very good relationship with my grandmother. I honestly am not sure why. The only thing I have ever heard was that my biological mother felt like my grandmother had favorites and always treated her differently from the other children. My grandmother raised all of her children in the same home and some of the other siblings say that they grew up living a wonderful lifestyle. I think the similarity that my mother and I had was solely based on the lack of genuine relationships we have with our mothers. I am unsure of the reasoning behind why their relationship is so bad but I know that it is not very good. I think that for me my lack came from mostly her treating me so differently than she treated my siblings.
The biggest factor came in when I was forced to watch their relationship flourish more and more as time went on. I always felt like she didn’t care for me that much and it caused me to have so much anger inside of me and no explanation as to why I was so angry all the time. My grandmother never spoke badly of her and never made me feel like I was any less important than my siblings.
I will honestly say that this cycle in my family has not been broken and currently has not been fixed. At the moment I am at 31 years old and finally getting to a point in my life where I can talk about this and not get very upset.
I am currently making and attempt to communicate more with my mother about different things and particularly about how I feel in respect to some of the things that she currently does to me, and now my children. I think the communication helps a lot. I have not gotten to a point where I am ready to mend things with my biological father however. It is so unfortunate but many of the issues from my childhood in relation to my family have not been mended or every started to become resolved.
Essay # 3: What is this teaching me? Contains unread posts
My family is from Southern Maryland and we have all been raised in this area. My parents are very content when it comes to this area, they have actually never been on an airplane – me on the other hand I am really hoping to move to DC within the next year and then California in the future. I have one younger brother, and my parents have been together since they were teenagers and they are now in their late forties. I really took some time discovering what I could write about when it comes to my upbringing and an event that happen in my childhood.
The even that I chose that really shaped my and my brother’s childhood is when we found out that he had muscular dystrophy – this disease really took a change on all of our lives and it still affects all of us to this day. I remember being twelve and my mother would have to spend days at the hospital with my brother, and my dad would have to work. I would stay with my grandmother and I use to feel like I was not getting enough attention from my parents – at that age I started to feel jealous in a way. Which now I look back thinking there was no reason for me to feel that way because it isn’t like my brother wanted to break bones and then have to be in a wheelchair the rest of his life.
One of the biggest lessons I feel like I took from this at such a young age was I had to mature very quickly compared to maybe others. Responsibilities came with my brother now being in a wheelchair – and especially at that time we lived in a living space where his wheelchair limited him to the living room. Once I got past the point of thinking of myself, and how the attention was not focused on me – I was able to see what was important here. This did not prevent my brother and me from still fighting as brothers, but I for sure had a more positive outlook when it came to how strong he was.
I think the main factor here that has really helped shaped me as a man today – is life doesn’t always go as planned and that is okay. Being a successful adult is learning how to adapt to change and not always having the mindset of why this is happening to me but asking yourself what is this teaching me. Once I started thinking this way – a lot of positive has happen in my life.
Essay # 4: My family was very religious as I was growing up. Contains unread posts
When I was 3 years old my family moved to Baltimore, Maryland from DeKalb, Illinois, where we have remained for the last 17 years. Both sides of my family are Caucasian, and my great-grandparents moved to the United States from Russia and Poland directly before World War I. I have a large family, with 3 siblings of which I am the oldest, and parents who have taken in 19 children of various ages and nationalities throughout my childhood. We have been a foster family since my youngest brother was born in 2004, and since then we have adopted one of the children as of the summer of 2015. My family was very religious as I was growing up, with differing religious backgrounds on both sides. My mother was raised Lutheran, but rarely went to church and thus wasn’t very religious until she met my father. My father was another story and was raised in a devout Roman-Catholic family with many of his cousins and siblings turning to the cloth. As a result, how religion was approached in my family was a difficult subject for me growing up, and one event in my upbringing concerning religion shaped my thinking about my parents and how they treated me.
My siblings and I were homeschooled growing up due to living in a very bad school district, and with the shortage of secular homeschool programs out there my family settled on a Protestant school curriculum. My grade-school curriculum was extremely biased towards religion, so when I started going to community college in 10th grade I was given a secular view of religion and began questioning my faith. As a result, in 10th grade I told my parents about my doubts and that I wanted to stop attending church. My mother’s reaction to my decision was poor, and she demanded that if I wanted to stop attending church that I would have to take theology classes in community college as a supplement and continue my religious-based curriculum. My father had a different reaction and let me make my own decisions rather than forcing me to keep attending church. He told me that if I wanted to stop attending church it was my decision, but that I was always welcome to join the family for weekly service if I chose to. My father was supportive of my life choice and encouraged me to see both sides of the picture for myself, rather than abiding by my parent’s own wishes. This event positively impacted my view of my father and it is the reason that I still maintain a good relationship with him today. However, my mother’s reaction pushed me away from her, and as my childhood went on, she was dismissive of my decisions. As a result, it came to the point that I haven’t spoken to her since December of 2018.
A similar event to my own can be found in the childhood of my father as he was growing up. As I have said, my father belongs to a very devout Roman-Catholic family and growing up it was tradition for him to attend church with the family every Sunday and attend bible study once a week. My father was the youngest of eight children, and there was a lot of pressure from his parents to become a priest after his two oldest brothers became Lutheran ministers. As a result, my father began to look at all aspects of religion and decided for himself that he identified as an Agnostic. His parents were upset by his decision, but ultimately allowed him to take his own path, while also extending the offer to join them at church if he every wanted. Later in my father’s life he became a philosophy major with a minor focus in theology, and he eventually returned to be a Roman-Catholic and hasn’t missed a single service to this day. The support that my father got from his parents during this event was inspiring for him, and it motivated his decision to allow his children to live their lives through their own decisions rather than his own.
Essay # 5: My family dynamic Contains unread posts
My family is dysfunctional and they will never change. My family dynamic is strange and people are not supportive of each other. Petty arguments are held as grudges for decades and no one is willing to admit fault and move on to promote healing from their pain. My family lies by the notion of keeping failures of issues among them secret no matter how horrible it is because you don’t want the other family members talking about you negatively behind your back. Being raised in a dynamic as such was very frustrating and I always strived to be nothing like anyone in my family and have been known as the “black sheep” since I was 10 years old.
I am unsure of my heritage as no one in my immediate family even spoke or card to understand our history. I have taken the necessary steps to understand more about my background and the historical meaning of my last name since it is very unique. I recall being told that if anyone has our last name, we are definitely related. I joined Facebook many years ago and I did a search of people who had my last name and I was floored by the number of results I found. I actually found long distant relatives that live in other states and I am attempting to get to know them in order to include them in my family.
My upbringing was very difficult and scarring. My father was very controlling and sexually molested his own daughters. These sexual encounters resulted in one of my sisters conceiving a child by him. Many relatives, including my mother after a certain point knew of this and turned their heads and ignored what was happening. My father touched me when I was like 4 or 5 years old and I still recall the incident to this day. He inserted his finger into my vagina which resulted in pain and discomfort. My mother and father separated when I was younger, but he married soon after and remained married until he died in 2008. I went home that same day and received a bath before my bed time. I distinctly remember sitting into the shallow warm water and sharp stinging pain pulsating from my vagina and I began to cry. My mother asked me what was wrong and all I could remember saying was “ Daddy hurt me,”while pointing to my vagina. I vaguely recall her calling him on the phone and cursing him out about touching and and how he would never see me again. My memory of anything after that is gone, but that moment will forever stay with me. My family consisted of sexual abuse, drug addition, alcohol abuse, domestic violence and shame. He continued to have sex with one or two of his daughters up until he passed away from a stroke in 2008. He never sexually touched me again after my mother came to my defense. That event distorted my idea of what love was as I recall my father and I saying I love you all the time, but I think back and now question that statement coming from him. My mother never was molested by her father, but her own personal battles broke her down to no longer being a protector of mine as I grew older.
The role of a father and head of household was executed without flaw. He was a great provider and made sure I never needed anything, however his sick secret angers me that I can’t enjoy the good father daughter moments knowing that type of person he was. My mother fell short a few years later due to her own life struggles and I had to take care of myself at a very young age. I refer to them as mother and father within this paper to draw distinction as to whom I am talking about, but in the real world I call them by their names Edward and Cynthia or the people who created me. The title of mother and father should not be used for individuals such as them in my book and no one can tell me different. My views on my parents are negative and my family as a whole is the same. Coming from a broken home filled with broken people has fortunately skipped me and I live a life and raise my children in a life free from that pain and misery.
Essay # 6: The role of my family in my upbringing Contains unread posts
My parents originated from two families that are different in terms of their upbringing, culture, and economic status although of the same ethnic group. While my mother stemmed from a middle class black American family, my father rooted from a mixed lineage. The two met while working in the same region. In terms of the upbringing my father was raised by a single mother while my mother had both parents. My mother had strict parents who were very staunch Christians, and thus was raised in an environment that upheld Christian virtues. Father on the other hand, experienced a lot of challenges especially in pursuing his education. Her parents separated a few years after his birth, and he was mainly dependent on his mother who took care of him up to adulthood. The kind of life he led made him to aspire to be a better father to his children and my mother reported that he was nice to her and the extended family loved him a lot.
Unfortunately, he died just when I was in high school and it was the saddest moment in my life. This was a big misfortune to our family because we had lost a person we looked up upon in terms of mentorship and upbringing. My mother raised me and my two sister siblings as a single parent for such a long time before opting for a remarriage. Although we missed father, our mother dearly held the memories and could often take us to visit father’s grave at least thrice in a year. I must confess that mum strived to ensure that we lived comfortably by providing for the basic needs right from shelter, clothing, food and meeting the cost of our education as well as health before transiting to the next marriage. I received a lot of attention right from my mum to sisters being the last born in the family, and that made me to love them so dearly up to date.
My mother played her parenting role in the best way she could despite the demise of my father while my mother was still young at her late thirties. Our upbringing was based on religious virtues being Christians. She was as strict disciplinarian who never hesitated in correcting us whenever we went astray. She taught us to be responsible and instilled in us the spirit of hard work, something that has shaped my life.
I have also lived to pass to my children the spirit of hard work and the motivation to achieve goals despite challenges. Single parents often face problems mainly due to the need to multi-task duties without assistance, for instance, in childcare, work, parenting, and household chores combined with other issues such as drop in financial income as well as altered social life (Öztürk and Boylu, 2015). My mother was so determined to execute her roles including the male related duties although single parenting often comes with a myriad of challenges. The situation she experienced was contrary to her experience in upbringing because she was raised by her two parents in a family of two boys and a girl. My mother grew up in a set up environment where people adhered strictly to the societal norms, expectations, and religion. However, during the time of upbringing, her society still has some aspects of male chauvinism and women were restricted in pursuing certain careers as well as holding certain positions in both workplace and in the society as a whole.
I grew up as the only male in our family for a long time, and so I had to quickly learn to help my mother perform male related duties as well as the general household chores. Therefore, being raised up by a single parent taught us the essence of getting involved in running the household in practice, something that many children with both parents may only experience through observation. Past research shows that single parenting comes with economic hardship. Furthermore, a majority of single parents often tend to worry most of the time due to financial constraints (Bogenschneider, Kaplan and Morgan, 1993). Nevertheless, the kind of life we lived, enable us to develop resilience when encountering family issues. Quite often, some of children in the current generation cannot easily cope up with such challenges from my observation. We understood our mother as the sole bread winner and we could adjust to financial situation that prevailed. That virtue in addition to perseverance has immensely helped me even during my military training through service and it remains something that I have often taught other trainees in the military.
Similarly, I have also learned to appreciate and value the strength of women in the society. My perception towards gender roles is balanced whereby I understand that parents should assist each other in upbringing. When father died, my mother took over all the family responsibilities. Ideally, she challenged the expectations of the society as a single parent. My sisters have grown up knowing no boundaries in terms of gender roles. In my house, I am used to assisting in performing household duties ranging from cleaning, cooking, and looking after children. My wife often finds it enjoyable especially when I am off duties as she is assured of a clean and organized home whenever she comes from work.
My understanding of an inclusive family tends to be different up to date. Unlike some who view or are only content of a complete family to be composed of a father, mother and children, my upbringing has taught me to content as well as regard all those I stay with as a family. Actually I have grown up embracing friends as well as coworkers in the military as my family too. Besides, I often have a soft spot for widows and single parents. My children not only regard me as their father but also as a close friend who often care for them. I forever remain grateful to my mother who raised me to become a responsible man in the family despite the challenges she faced after the demise of my father.
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