Intergenerational Parenting: Dealing with our Mothers.

What is intergenerational parenting? First let me ask you this- how many times have you butted heads with your in-laws, and even your own mother, because they made a decision about your baby without consulting with you first?

Intergenerational parenting can be loosely defined as the process where the earlier generation’s (our mothers and grandparents) psychology and behaviours influence the parenting attitudes and behaviour of the next generation.

We are all made up of our thoughts and behaviours, traumas and experiences. When we become parents, our parenting styles and parenting choices are based on this. For example, a lot of black parents used to discipline us with spanking, hitting with a shoe, a belt or a stick (that you were made to fetch yourself). As much as their intention was love and discipline it was violent and traumatic. As a parent you might decide that you don’t want to discipline your children in this way. Your parent, who is now a grandparent, might decide otherwise.

How do we strike a balance between figuring out how we choose to parent our children and letting our moms and in-laws take over? We often have to leave our children with our parents and only hope they will respect our parenting decisions. A mother once shared her story in a facebook group of how she didn’t want relaxer chemicals to ever be used on her daughter’s hair. She was resolute about this! She once left her daughter with her mom and when she returned her daughter had straight, oily and very relaxed hair. She was fuming, rightfully so.

In this episode of Ask a Parent, Karabo Mokoena (previously Motsiri) discusses intergenerational parenting differences with a grandmother of five and first-time parent. They each open up about setting the boundary between helping out and taking over. Sometimes it can become mom vs grandma/mother in-law especially with African parenting. We’re exploring how to find that balance and mutual respect between each generation.

Another great video to check out is Refilwe Modimo’s Mama Mantics blog on how to raise children who love themselves.