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Children of disfunctional families, afraid to be parents

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Yes, sometimes we want to go back and wrap ourselves in the comfort of childhood. When our smiles and laughs were more sincere than cynical. When you would wake up in the middle of the night to your parents’ arguments in the living room, and you’d have no choice but to poke your sleepyhead out the door, because watching meant you could intervene if you had to. You knew your power as a child.

When you turned 10, or maybe it was as late as 13, you realized the beauty of becoming an adult. You discovered individuality outside family.  You practiced mathematics with your parents’ flaws. It was incredible how easy they multiplied. You applied world history terms at home—those tyrants. You found hobbies to keep you busy, struggling for identity outside home.

You went to college, sniffing the environment and letting your lungs fill with freedom. Here was your chance to be independent and irresponsible for once, to try your skills as a chemist and experiment. Here was the time for self-absorption and discovery.

I can honestly say I’ve always had issues defining “family.” The word usually triggers the smothering sensation of a scarf wrapped around too tightly. Family is an entity much stronger than government: we can’t escape being members and, once in, we must contribute to its prosperity and survival or watch our own blood disperse.

Just as we resent some scenes in which our parents were the villains, every good kid has also hurt their parents. We don’t realize this growing up; we spend much of our teenage mediocre wisdom accusing our parents of being too strict, too old-fashioned, or too demanding. I’m not saying there are not careless parents; I’m saying we should come to appreciate good ones.

After dating I hope you have learned how relationships work, and how much work it takes to sustain them.

The custom of building families is ancient. Despite shift in lifestyles, traditions and mindsets, it appears having a family is the ultimate purpose of our existence. Or is it?

After growing up within a dysfunctional family, many people my age, including me, shrink at the thought of becoming parents, and I suspect it is for fear of “screwing up” someone mentally.

We are young and uncertain, but self-conscious. Because we want to avoid the drama played out by our own parents, we are likely to choose our partner wisely.

Although we are outgrowing sexist customs from the age of Pancho Villa, there are still double standards in older generations that hinder a happy marriage and that doubtlessly were the cause of midnight arguments.

With dating experience, I hope you have learned to discard someone who degrades or mistreats you before jumping into anything more serious, like marriage.  Never go back to a person who does not believe in Saint Monogamy. Please use protection if you practice polygamy. Children deserve stable families.

We can’t escape our biological family, but we can definitely choose with whom, when and if we will create our own. Instead of being resentful, we should appreciate our parents’ attempts to stay together for us kids, despite their differences. After all, not all our comrades were as fortunate to grow up with two parents.

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