Have you ever seen traits in yourself that come back to haunt you in your kid? Of course, most of us have. I attended a parent/teacher meeting yesterday for my daughter at her elementary school and the dreaded "attitude problem" reared its head. "Your child is very intelligent," said one teacher,"but she rolls her eyes at us like she thinks we are idiots." As I hear this, my own mind floats back over thirty years to first grade where I cursed a teacher for giving us too much homework--I kept this little tidbit to myself but thought about how much genetics plays a part in our dispositions. I used to think my rebelliousness was purely a response to my socialization as a kid, but now I see it is more than that. So my kid is just like me--now what?
I think the key here is "what do you do with characteristics that society says are undesirable at times, but that are part of your psychological make-up and integral to who you are?" I remember once my MMPI
results showed that I had a high degree of hostility towards authority but no other "negative" traits. Is this hostility towards authority such a bad thing--especially if someone in authority is an idiot? I am not sure questioning some authority figures is so bad but there are more appropriate ways of dealing with this feeling than cursing at a teacher or rolling one's eyes when annoyed. I learned over the years to downplay my outright contempt for others as best I could and I turned my anger into a job working with others with the same "authority problems."
When kids or adults come into my office looking exasperated with "the system" whether that be school, work or society, they generally find a kindred spirit in me. The difference is that I teach them to sublimate their anger or hostility into something more positive or at least not dangerous. So the kid who threatens teachers, caregivers and others learns to channel their anger into working with computers and the adult who feels angry with the system learns to become a political advocate etc. There are always positive ways to channel the energy of anger, rebelliousness, or anti-authoritarianism that can help the individual live a better life and to benefit society.
Anyone else have what society would see as less than desirable traits in themselves that they see in their children and if so, how are you coping with it?