Some People Want Children to Recreate a Relationship They Never Had With Their Parent/s

Disclaimer: I think all reasons to have or not have children are valid and reasonable if they are to the person deciding.

As a psychotherapist, I have come to the understanding that some individuals want children to recreate a relationship that they never had with their parents or caregivers. There are two themes that I have noticed with these individuals, though I am not suggesting these themes to relate with all individuals who decide to have children.

The first theme I have recognized is an ungrieved relationship with their real and/or fantasized version of their parents. Sometimes we unconsciously live with a version of our parents that is pure fantasy, denying the reality that they may not have met all of our emotional or physical needs growing up (and still may not), as much as they did/do their best. There is no such thing as a perfect parent, but a "good enough" parent would have provided their child a sense of security, warmth, unconditional love and regard, so much so that their child grows up to be courageous, brave, and confident enough to be their authentic selves. When you don't grow up having said experience, you might want to become a parent so you can provide your child with such an upbringing. However, it can sometimes be difficult to give your child a "good enough" parent, when you yourself did not have one, though it is not impossible.

Unmet childhood needs can no longer be met by your parents or caregivers because you are not a child anymore; the time to influence your upbringing, personality, and security has passed. However, if you would want to try to resolve these issues as an adult, you could do so by re-parenting yourself and giving yourself these needs (unconditional positive regard, love, affection, care, understanding etc.). Re-parenting is just what it sounds--this means giving your self all the things you missed out as a child and practicing self-love as an adult.

The second theme I have noticed is that, individuals who want children to recreate a relationship they never had with their parents can sometimes be deficient in self-love, self-understanding, and self-security because their own parents did not provide them with the foundation and tools for these individual strengths.

Again, though you can try to build a better relationship with your parents as an adult, you cannot remodel your childhood into something else, or something that it was not. It is sad to say that you (soon-to-be parent) have missed out. It is also sad, though noble, to try to give your child something you have never had growing up, or do not have towards yourself. Self-love is vital to be a "good enough" parent, but so is grieving your fantasy mom or dad in order to be an authentic person and parent.

Experiencing trauma or multiple traumas in your childhood can also make it difficult for you to recognize what a healthy attachment towards your child consist of, and how to cope with stressors along the way.

I would encourage folks who want children for the reasons described above, to pause (maybe enter psychotherapy) and reflect on what exactly you feel you may have missed out on in your childhood, how you can begin to forgive your parent/s or caregivers, and how you may start to give these unmet childhood needs to yourself, as an adult. These practices can help one become a better parent for their future child.

By Jasmine Celeste

No Nest