You Don’t Have To Be A Product Of Your Upbringing

I thought of writing this article while watching Teen Mom 2 last week.  I do regret admitting that I watch that show, but I do.  When I watch the moms, who are not teens anymore, live lives that can be detrimental to their children, I think of why they live their lives that way and why the hell they make the terrible choices they choose to make.  Surely, their parents are to blame for their poor decisions, right?

Of course, I am also in a Fan of Teen Moms Facebook group.  Most of the fans on this page give the moms a pass because they simply weren’t raised properly, so it is their mom’s fault rather than their own. Every time I read these types of comments, I think about my mom and many other people I know who were raised in terrible home environments.

And I don’t agree; I believe we all have choices in life.  People who were raised well have made some horrible life decisions. People who were raised in less than desirable home environments have made choices in their life that have led them to a path of great success.

You DO have the choice, despite how poorly you were raised, to make good life decisions and to give yourself the life that you deserve and, more importantly, the life that your children deserve.

The childhood my mom had should have destroyed her and her sibling’s lives.  The experiences she and her siblings had to go through were unimaginable and inhumane.  Every time she tells us stories of what she went through, I have to tune her out and think of something else because I cannot imagine her mom treating her and her sisters/brothers that way.

My mom, thankfully, found a way to live her life completely different than how she was “expected” to live.  She also found a way to ensure her children (me and my four siblings) didn’t have to endure the horrible situations and experiences she had to endure while growing up.

She also has an incredible sense of humor and the best outlook on negative situations.  Her sense of humor has helped her and still helps get through trying times, especially when she thinks and talks about what she went through.  She always gives the best advice and still puts our needs above her own.

A family get together. My mom always is the life of the party! She is on the left. I am holding my now 16 year old niece.
My mom makes the funniest faces!

We lived in a big brown house on top of a hill that had a campground directly behind it.  So, in the summertime, we would always run over the hill and into the campground (for free, even better!) and we played with our friends, swam in the pool, and just had fun in the campground.

We had the absolute best childhood I could have ever imagined, and I think about it each and every day.  We still go to the campground on certain weekend as my brother owns a lot there and camps every weekend.  When we drive past our old house on the hill to get to the campground, it is still very difficult for me emotionally.  I cannot look at it or I will get a lump in my throat.  I want so badly to go back in time and relive my childhood-I wouldn’t change a thing!

We didn’t have a lot of money, though as kids, we always thought my parents did.  We took many family trips, spent lots of time together, were and still are very well loved, all our needs were met, and we just had so much fun as children.

Here are some pictures that help show glimpses of my fun childhood; I wish I had many more:

My twin sis and I played basketball, and my dad was the coach. So great having our dad there as the coach. Meant a lot to us.
Our 16th b-day party. They threw us a big party at our town hall. My mom and the rest of us had such a great time dancing! My mom is on the left.
Our first day of 8th grade. I am in the yellow, with the terrible hair. Funny thing is I thought I was hott stuff that day. Not even close! Yikes! But, we were so happy and loved living at the house on top of the hill!
Our junior prom. We lost our house, but my parents were able to get another one a few years later and still managed to stay happy even with the loss of our childhood home.

My parents strived to make sure we didn’t go without our basic needs being met and they made sure we were well loved and were treated appropriately, so we didn’t have the childhood my mom had.

My mom had been in many different foster homes, had to go without toilet paper, her and her sisters had to use whatever was around the house for their times-of-the-month, was beaten and molested, and was always treated so poorly.  She never felt loved.

She has 8 other siblings.  All but one sister turned to a life of drugs.  Some of them don’t see their own kids; some of them have stolen from each other; they have attacked my mom and have threatened her and the rest of my immediate family; they lie to each other, and there is, in general, no stability and no real sibling relationships other than my mom and two of her sisters.

I don’t necessarily blame them; they all went through hell.  However, my mom did make choices that helped her change her life and that helped her make sure our childhood was not at all similar to hers.  She also had a great support system-my dad and his parents.

I have known others who have also had detrimental childhoods and found ways to overcome the negative side-effects.  Their stories, like my moms, are inspirational and really make you think about your life choices.

As for the show Teen Mom, maybe these moms don’t/didn’t have strong support systems, but they also should use their experiences as examples of how not to live their lives and should strive to make sure they are happy and that their children are not effected by their life choices.  Currently, from what I have seen on the show, the kids are either currently effected or will clearly be effected in some way(s) as they grow up.

I am still not sure how I feel about this show.  Maybe I don’t know everything, but I do know that these moms receive a hefty paycheck, which is nice because they need it, but I feel like they also need consistent and effective counseling to help them through the hardships they have experienced and are currently experiencing, such as deadbeat fathers, dysfunctional families, drugs, and even mental health problems.  I am afraid if consistent counseling doesn’t happen, their kids will be unhappy and will be unable to live their lives to their fullest potential.

I thank God every day that my mom was able to get out of the hell she was in and was able to live a happy and fuller life.  We are one big happy family because of the choices she made and continues to make every day!



2 thoughts on “You Don’t Have To Be A Product Of Your Upbringing

  1. I agree with you on so much of this. I have a love/hate relationship with the Teen Mom show. I see some of them learning and growing, making “better” choices than what they had/know, but I also keep seeing the repeated bad choices that they are obviously now aware of how bad and damaging they are. My husband had a rough, bouncy childhood and he continues to try and better himself daily, although his two younger siblings have fallen into the “rough life” as if it is excusable because of their upbringing. They continue to abuse drugs, alcohol and play the poor me/victim card. It is very frustrating living and seeing it and not knowing how to help them.

  2. My reply must not have submitted!

    I am happy to hear your husband has taken control; it isn’t easy! But with determination and effort, one can change his or her life for themselves to thrive and for those they love to thrive! These teen moms, in my opinion, are not doing what they should be doing for themselves and for their children. Props to your husband, to my mom, and to others who have overcome difficult upbringings!

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