I often say every parent comes pre-wired with everything she needs to be a great parent to a great kid. And it’s true. Parents have all the tools they need to be an excellent parent already inside them
But as much as this is true, parents are also preloaded with ideas and misconceptions that subconsciously affect their parenting. I call this the parenting preload.
The parenting preload is a collection of our experiences growing up with our parents and in our families.
Your parenting preload comes from what your parents were like and how they parented you. All of us experienced different types of parenting. Some of us had passive parents who wanted to be our friends more than they wanted to discipline us. Some of us had authoritarian parents who disciplined us too much. Some of us had helicopter parents who were too involved in our daily lives and schedules, or absent parents who weren’t involved enough.
You may be very aware of the type of parenting you were subjected to growing up. You might not be aware at all. Regardless, we all carry preloaded parenting habits with us, and once we become parents ourselves, our preloaded parenting will begin to show up.
It’s important to note that your parenting preload will make an appearance whether you want it to or not. Many of you have probably gone into parenting determined to not make the same mistakes your parents did. But the parenting preload is subconscious. We repeat what we know and what we’re comfortable with, not what we want to do.
The parenting preload will show up in your tone of voice, how you speak to your kids, and how you react to them whether that is the way you want to react or not. This is why your preload is usually most evident when you are disciplining your child because we are often reactionary when it comes to discipline.