I often think about my parents. I ponder their strengths and weakness. I remember the younger versions and I feel the cord around my soul that pulls me toward the path they’re on.
There have been times when I wanted to be like them and times when I wanted to distance myself. Often these thoughts were simultaneous. Even at this age I still want their approval. I want them to notice the picture of life I’m drawing and hang it on their fridge. Then, when others are around I want them to point to me and smile proudly.
I am a parent of emerging adult children. I see them struggle with feelings I had at their age and wonder if I’ll be able to bring them all the encouragement they need from their father. I am inspired and in awe of my children. They make we want to grow into a more loving and communicative parent. I want share the world with them in so many ways.
I think about Jesus and the inspiring relationship He had with His Father. I compare myself and immediately become aware that His was a superior love. It’s higher, deeper and shows commitment in ways that I do not. There is a love between fathers and sons that can conquer the world. I want to experience that more.
From the University of Connecticut, authors Ronald Rohner and Abdul Khaleque have done extensive research into the influence of parental acceptance and rejection and how it affects their children. Over fifty years of research yielded some stunning conclusions.
"Children and adults everywhere -- regardless of differences in race, culture, and gender -- tend to respond in exactly the same way when they perceived themselves to be rejected by their caregivers and other attachment figures."
Looking at 36 studies from around the world that together involved more than 10,000 participants, Rohner and co-author Abdul Khaleque found that in response to rejection by their parents, children tend to feel more anxious and insecure, as well as more hostile and aggressive toward others. The pain of rejection -- especially when it occurs over a period of time in childhood -- tends to linger into adulthood, making it more difficult for adults who were rejected as children to form secure and trusting relationships with their intimate partners.[i]
How has your parent(s) approval and rejection shaped your personality and expression of parenting towards your children and others?
[i] A. Khaleque, R. P. Rohner. Transnational Relations Between Perceived Parental Acceptance and Personality Dispositions of Children and Adults: A Meta-Analytic Review. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 2011