It all started in the 1950’s. My mother and my father both lived on Mount Desert Island in Maine. They met at Sunday school. In the mid 50’s they went to regular school together as well. They began dating when they were in their teens and off and on all through High school. As the story goes, my mother would break up with my dad every summer because of this boy who vacationed there. He still teases her about it to this day.
In June of 1967 shortly after graduating High school my parents Bruce and Sharyn got married. They got married at the same church where they had attended Sunday school. They had been given land by close friends of the family in Ellsworth and had a trailer put in that was already to be moved into.
Two months later in August of 1967 my dad joined the United States Army as an Air Plane Mechanic. My father made this choice because he knew he would get drafted anyways. This way he would have a safer position. He went away to basic Training in Virginia and then home for a short leave. He was called to duty and flew to Vietnam. He spent his 21st birthday in the air. He spent a year there. A year of awful things he would say, but that is all he would say. My mother and father moved to Texas to work on a Tank Crew in 1969. They lived there for six months until he was called out to Germany. They were in need of an Air Craft Mechanic. He was there for about a year.
When my father returned home he was done serving his time. He came home to his wife and his first child a girl Kelley who was three months old. That was in 1970. In 1972 they had their second child, another girl Heidi and then in 1977 they had their third and final child, another girl me, Stacey.
My father was a hard working man. He worked as a mechanic for many years and they landed a job at Bangor Hydro. He worked there all of my school life and retired after I graduated High School. My mother stayed at home taking care of us children and the home. My father not only worked hard at work but never sat still when he was home. He worked on the vehicles or the lawn he did a lot, but not much time spent playing with us, same with my mom.
My husband and I were both brought up in homes like that. Our mothers stayed home. Our fathers worked hard. We decided that this is how we wanted to raise our children too.
I had two older sisters. We played a lot together but there was quite the age difference between myself and them. The age difference became harder the older they got. We had a close family. We had cousins to play with. We were expected to entertain ourselves and find something to do.
We never went to daycare and only had a sitter a few times. The sitter was always a relative. The sitter was never anyone that we didn’t know. The couple that were the family friends that gave my parents their land we pretty much our only neighbors. I was closer to them, Edie and Raymond, then I was my own grandparents. Perhaps that was only because they lived right next door and not 30 miles away on Mount Dessert Island.
I grew up being a Baptist, as that was what my parents both were brought up as. I was taught to believe in god, have faith and be honest. My husband and I even got married in the church that my parents had met at and got married themselves. A tradition that has influenced me and I hope carried on. I was also taught that to do this you didn’t have to go to church every week. My parents always encouraged us to try anything and never discouraged us, but when we wanted to quit, they never tried to talk us out of it. They brought us up to make our own decisions from a very early age. I think that this helped our cognitive development grow strong. I always felt safe, protected and loved. Our emotions were never pushed too hard or too soft. Our needs were always satisfied emotionally. Socially my parents needed to interact with us a little more. Sometimes find myself getting wrapped up in keeping house when I should really be playing and teaching my own children. I don’t want to place blame on my parents for that action of mine, but it was a learned behavior that I observed. However, I always knew if I needed them they were there. If I wanted to talk to them they always listened.
When it came to discipline my parents didn’t seem to have any set rules. There seemed to be different consequences on different days for different things. There was nothing that was consistent. They didn’t raise their voice much and didn’t show much feeling about things. They set rules and we mostly followed them. I never got in trouble really as a child. I think my parents just let a lot of the little things slide.
My grandfather was totally different. He believes that a swat on the hand or butt was to happen the second that he thought that you might just be beginning to mis- behave. Just to stop it from occurring. His discipline was harsh and his tone was stern. I found that that type of discipline was more effective because I knew exactly what would happen if I did something I wasn’t suppose to do.
Edie, our neighbor who was very kind used positive reinforcement with everything. Even for discipline. For example if I fought with my sister she would make us say nice things to each other. Sometimes this annoyed us, but most of the time it ended quickly and with us all laughing. The laughter and happiness was the positive reward.
These different techniques affected my assumptions by knowing what you could do with each caregiver and get away with it. I would assume that if I was with Edie and pulled my sisters hair that we would be corrected but not slapped on the hand like we would if we were with my Grandfather. I would make sure that when I was around each caregiver I would behave accordingly.
Growing up in an inconsistent environment when it came to discipline has made creating my own style difficult. I find myself being a mirror image of just that, inconsistence. I do see that my only strength would be positive reinforcement. Reward with laughter or a chart system. For example, if you would like to do/have this, then this is what is expected for you. My weakness in managing children’s behavior is patience. I have little and really wish I could gain more.