I bet you grew up in a family that wasn’t perfect. We all did, because we’re human. Those imperfections often leave gaps and holes in the development of the children. Those gaps and holes exist because the parents have the same thing missing from their own growing up years. So if you grew up in a family that wasn’t perfect, and so did your parents, then they couldn’t teach you what they didn’t get from their own parents.

Take boundaries for instance. You weren’t born with them. For you to learn boundaries, they must be taught to you. What if your parents weren’t taught about boundaries by their parents? How could they teach you about boundaries when they don’t know about them? They can’t.

This is how a child grows up in a family and doesn’t learn emotional regulation, or critical thinking, or boundaries, or self-control, or self-care and moderation. Because they weren’t taught those things.

This is not about blaming parents. This is about recognizing, understanding and accepting that, for whatever reason, you weren’t taught something that you needed.

What about your gaps and holes? If you weren’t taught something important by your parents, how can you fill it in for your child? By learning about your gaps and holes, doing something to resolve and fill them in, you improve the development of your child.

Like you, my parents weren’t perfect and they made mistakes. They did the best they could with what they had. They didn’t know what they didn’t know. Now that I am older, I can look back and recognize that their parents didn’t know either. It would be easy for anyone to blame their parents, however that wouldn’t be accountable. I am responsible for my own choices regardless of the actions of others, parents or not.

If we give ourselves the knowledge our parents didn’t have, and fill in those gaps and holes, our children benefit. Walking through life with gaps and holes is like driving down a street riddled with potholes. Filling in those potholes makes the ride a lot smoother.


Todd has been a therapist for over 20 years in a variety of settings. An unconventional therapist who tells the truth, Todd has taught undergraduate and graduate level courses, and authored his first book, Simply Relate.

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