"I would choke my kids and bite them when angry to discipline them." An elderly man grieves lost family relationships

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*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events I experienced firsthand; used with permission.

"I live with my sister because I don't have much strength to take care of myself. My children no longer come to see me and don't want anything to do with me. When they expressed how I treated them poorly as kids, I dismissed them and told them never to talk to me. I was a no-nonsense father who would choke her kids or even bite them when angry to discipline them."

This man regrets the way he treated his children. He has tried to reach out to his children to rebuild the relationships so they can take care of him but none of them want anything to do with him. It's unfortunate how late he has come to the realization of how he pushed his kids away thinking he was helping them.

Exploring a bit of his own childhood, he grew up in the same kind of environment where his father used physical force to discipline. The kind of parenting where parents use extreme forms of discipline including aggression and corporal punishment is called authoritarian parenting.

"Authoritarian parents punish children for failures while ignoring their achievements. They expect the child not to make mistakes and to obey them. However, the children they raise are typically good at following rules".

In this situation, it's unfortunate the relationship between the parent and the adult children did not work out. It's a good reminder for parents to also deal with their own shame and trauma from their past so they can create a nurturing and safe environment for children to express themselves. No perfect parent exists. However, being open to receiving feedback from adult children and also open to empathizing and validating their perception of their experience growing up may help strengthen the relationship in adulthood regardless of what happened in childhood.

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Disclaimer: This article is written for educational and informational purposes only and is not a substitute for individualized support. The National Domestic Violence Hotline is 1-800-799-7233.

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I am a writer who writes about her own life experiences and what I have learned while acquiring my clinical experience. I hold a master of arts degree specializing in marriage and family therapy. The content shared here is for educational purposes and is not a substitute for seeking therapy.

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