Relationships: The Parts Of Us That Our Parents Broke


In all the years of his life, I never hugged my father, I loved him more than anything in this world, maybe even more than myself but I never got to express it. When I was growing up, telling people you loved them was a foreign concept; they were just supposed to know. Words of acknowledgements and appreciation were never accorded especially for people who grew up with my generation of parents. We grew up with no validation just promptings to do better in life and be better.

According to the Journal of Marriage and Family 1989, after studying the reciprocal relationship between parental support and self-esteem among children, the results suggest that parents’ supportive behaviour- as measured by children’s reports- affects the children’s self-esteem. It also affects how much support children report their parents give them. In addition, parents have a greater effect on the self-esteem of girls than boys. Finally, mothers and fathers have similar effects on both sexes.

Parental acknowledgement of the efforts we make is one of the most important things to a child. Now because some of us did not get it as children,  we now have a society that young people are doing bizarre and unmentionable things for the sake of public approval. As the crowds cheer them on in their reckless behaviour they continue to invent new ways to shock the ‘upright’ folks and please the ‘cheering squad’.

Over and over again I have seen people make jokes about African parents online. Making fun of their hard upbringing which in essence is something children should never have to go through. But because we were taught to make lemonade, we laugh at our own pain, and why not? There is not much we can do to change what happened to us.

The problem we seem to always ignore as we laugh is the fact that the damage that was done to us still lives in us. The pain we had to grow up with, we filled with laughter not really confronting the fact. So now we are a bunch of individuals walking around smiling and laughing but broken on the inside.

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It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken adults. Image from

Some people had to grow up fast, they had to show up for their younger siblings where their parents left gaps and that was not their fault. From them, we get adults who are going through a regression. A grown person who is doing ”childish things” is dabbed as not fit for society or is an embarrassment to their parents. In essence, many of these people are making up for their lost childhood.

Then there are those children who were never taught how to love. Grown men and women are struggling with partners who don’t know how to show affection and the insanity that is in this world is that we always blame the victim. The lack of discussion on these issues becomes a threat to the next generation we are raising.

For a child who grew up being told that they would not amount to anything, they grew up believing that about themselves. This is the kind of damage that people are walking around with, insecure, broken, unbelieving and crushed.

If only we could come out and talk about how our experiences with our parents and how they made us into the broken people we are. Or how we feel it affects the people that we are now, maybe we would have a chance to create a more positive, hopeful society. I know there is this fuss about loving your parents regardless of anything but that should not be a universal standard. It would be impossible to love the person who broke you without first mending your broken parts. Here are 5 Signs That You Need To Walk Away From Toxic Family Relationships

Are you a parent? Here are 10 Tips To Avoid Becoming A Toxic Parent

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Broken but mending. In love with words woven together into art. Guided by love. Teacher.