24. Describe your family dynamic of your childhood vs. your family dynamic now.
Comparison of certain elements:
I'm the oldest child and I have a younger brother. My oldest is a girl, the youngest a boy. SAME :)
My mom is a francophone, my dad an anglophone and we spoke mostly French in the home, though my dad would speak to us kids in English. In my own marriage, we also speak different first languages (mine are French and English, husband's is Arabic). We speak French as a main language to the kids, English together.
Religion: I was raised as a non-practicing Catholic, both parents are Catholic. In my family, my husband is a Muslim, I'm whatever-I-am, an agnostic theist... Kids are Muslim. So far, we are not really practicing, but we're still more spiritual than my family as a kid and when the kids start to ask questions, they will be lead towards religion unlike me and my brother.
Financially: It was tougher for my parents than it has been for me and my husband. My parents (especially my mom) had to take super crappy jobs to get by. My mom went back to finish high school when I was a child to be able to get a better job and it worked, since then they have been in a more stable financial situation and have better jobs. Both me and my husband started our lives together having completed "some college/university" which is where we still stand... But me speaking and writing French and English fluently coupled with luck got me the good job I have now and my husband... it took some time because of his limited French (he's really good now) but he got a job in a shop which they considered him overqualified for the very first day there, and since then 3 years ago he has been moving up positions and salary. Thank God for these opportunities to live a stable life financially and for not having to live through too many hardships in that area.
Home: Though it was tougher for my parents financially for some years, they had their own home. Me and my bro each had our rooms, we had a pool outside. We had a dog. Right now, we rent and often go play at my parents where we keep a lot of the kids' things (trampoline, bikes, sandbox, etc). We now have a cat at home and I love him, but it's not the same for me as a dog person.
Discipline: Me and my brother are completely different children than my kids. We were a lot less to manage... Not hyperactive, just regular kids with regular energy levels and pretty good obedience overall. I remember being sent to my room a couple times but I just climbed out the window and that was that - no extra punishment for the disrespect. We punish our kids a lot more, there's timeout (aka "the corner"), going to their room, losing privileges. It feels like we've been trying everything since my daughter was 1 year old. It's tough! They are quite a lot to manage, very high energy, very stubborn, etc.
Parents: I don't remember my parents fighting much at all. They would go out partying together maybe once a month or two. They didn't show physical affection in front of us very much (kissing, holding hands, etc.) but they called each other nicknames and we were a pretty tight unit. With my husband there have been A LOT of ups and downs which includes fights that I regret that my kids (especially daughter) has witnessed or at least heard. My husband is less "into" the family than my dad was, doesn't always eat at the table with me and the kids and if he does he's reading his own thing, there's no family conversation during the meal. His presence has been less reliable than my dad when it comes to routinely being there for the kids. When it comes to affection, me and my husband are more open about being affectionate with one another when the kids are there (in the house) when we feel like it.
Activities: My dad was the main guy for activities for me and my brother. He would bring us to hockey, soccer, basketball practices and be our coach. He'd be the one to bring us sliding in the winter, he's the one we took walks with outside, he brought us grocery shopping. He's the one who came to play with us in the pool, he brought us to our activities, he talked to our teachers to find out how we were doing. In our case, I'm the one who takes care of all that for the kids.
Outings/vacations: I never had an actual vacation as a kid. We would have a couple day outings here and there but hardly ever further than 1h away by car. I didn't really get to experience the outside world as a kid - I mostly only knew my life here in my little city. With my kids, we go away from our city A LOT more often and it's not a huge planned trip to go 1h away, it can be spur of the moment, unlike my childhood. My daughter has been to Egypt twice and we might be going again this year. My daughter knows a lot more about other cultures and languages than I did at her age, she knows there's a lot out there to discover and is interested by it all.
I would say my parents allowed us a more stable childhood than what I've been giving my kids. Their relationship, living at the same place my entire life, their routine. It taught me a lot of good things and allowed me to always feel secure. I was an extremely happy child, not a worry in the world!
I don't think my kids are worried or have any stress on them because of our lifestyle, but they have certainly not seen the most stable of marriages to give them an example of what they should look for in adulthood. We talk about things a lot me and my daughter and I think that our conversations and being able to see my parents as often as she does will help her know a normal relationship from a dysfunctional one when the time comes.
We have some work to do as a family but we also have some strengths over my parents which add another little something to our kids that I might not have had...