Breaking Generational Curses
At what point do you decide that the life skills you’ve been taught simply are not enough? At what point is “doing what mom and dad are doing” not enough? Many have been blessed with guidance and amazing lessons from their parents, which they hope to pass down to their own children someday, but can those lessons be deemed harmful?
BEWARE THE GENERATIONAL CURSE
A generational curse is a habit or behavior that has been passed from one generation to the next. Parents strive to make sure that the life they lead will help their children live a better one. Children practice what they have learned on their own and what they have gathered from generations before them. This is not automatically a terrible thing, however, how does this align with where you are in your own life? The lessons you were taught when you were younger can be a guide for you later in life. If you want to see the trajectory of where your family will end up, looking back often paints a clear picture.
HOW ARE GENERATIONAL CURSES PASSED DOWN?
As noted above, generational curses are passed down through the actions of our parents and our own experiences. They’re also passed down through story.
We can all remember the stories we were told growing up and the explanations we were given. Some will remember the way they were treated. Those are all lessons we take with us into our adult lives. Some of those practices and stories are not necessarily the best to take with us, so what do we do when we weren’t taught anything better?
Growing up, I can remember listening to the adults tell stories about situations they found themselves in and how they got out of it. Those stories ranged from something as big as figuring out how to get to school for a final exam during a hurricane, to an emergency stitch job the morning before a first-ever job interview. These stories had some powerful messages and taught me a lot about making a way when there seemed to be none.
These types of stories keep us connected to our past by causing us to act in certain ways. Our actions, especially if they are repeated actions, can create roots that become embedded even deeper than the original story.
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HOW ARE GENERATIONAL CURSES HARMFUL?
People hold those stories near and dear to their hearts and, without thought, walk the path of those stories knowing that it could play out poorly. This practice is very harmful, as it holds the person back from learning and developing on their own. It’s not bad to want to hold on to the stories, but times are quickly changing. While the essence of the stories will still hold true, every person’s situation is unique to them.
Some things to think about when you start reaching for that one familiar story:
Generational curses can be passed along from the things we hear, see, and experience. There are quite a few things that happen in families that we don’t learn about until we are “old enough to understand.” Thinking back on how not knowing affected you, now the question is: do you follow your roots and do the same to generations to come or do you break that curse and find a way to create healthy family habits.
HOW ARE CURSES PASSED DOWN?
Having gone over how generational curses are formed and passed down and how they are harmful, here are a few examples of what they might look like passed to you and your children.
CURSES PASSED TO YOU
There is nothing wrong with wanting to walk in the footsteps of those you admire. However, think about how far their journey got them and think about how far that will get you. Imitation is the best form of flattery, being stagnant and not able to progress is not.
Take all the life lessons your parents taught you and improve on them. Instead of doing the same exact thing they did, try taking lessons from their actions. Some key takeaways might be: great work ethic; determination to succeed; the zeal to better themselves, both for their kids and for themselves. This is something you can apply no matter what direction life takes you.
Having parents who are able support you and give you everything you ask for can offer you a worry-free life as a child. It’s easier to enjoy your childhood when you are able to do extracurricular activities and not be told there isn’t money for that. As an adult, you realize the sacrifice your parents made to keep you happy. Hindsight is 20/20 and looking back you can often see, as clear as day, how exhausted they were. You can see why they never had time to attend your games and why you were alone at home until bedtime.
How to break the curse:
Set real life goals. Look at where you are and make plans for where you would like to be. Knowing what you know now, make necessary sacrifices and be as transparent as you can with your children to help them understand what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. Set realistic expectations and follow through on promises made both to yourself and to your children and family.
CURSES YOU PASS TO YOUR CHILDREN
Sometimes the stresses that we deal with daily might cause us to do things or say things that we don’t mean. It’s easier to dismiss the people who are closest to us, especially children. Children tend to hold on to everything and you would be surprised with some of the things they take with them to their adult lives. This is prime example of generational curse transference.
How to break the curse:
Apologize to your children when you’ve done or said something harmful. Listen to them and talk things through with them. Understanding creates room for forgiveness. Things you think your children are not ready to learn may be a segue that leads them to better understanding. Keep in mind that children are very impressionable and will take what you teach them into the world.
Children learn quite a bit in school from teachers, as they should. However, what about those things that they are supposed to learn at home—not only home care, but everyday life skills. Think back on the things you wished you had learned before you left home. These are some of the same tools your children will need before going out into the world on their own.
How to break the curse:
Include your children in little projects in and around your home. Use every opportunity you have to teach your children the skills that require them to use their hands. Take them to the bank with you, teach them the value of knowing how to fill out a check, how to count cash and how to balance a checkbook. The same questions you had when you were first on your own should not be the same ones your children have. If you think they are too young to learn something, modify your teaching skills to make it so that they understand.
Breaking a generational curse can look like many things. One thing for sure is that more people are breaking them without even realizing. People have been setting up shop on the foundation of the stories they were told as children and making it their own. People are thinking about restoring what was broken in their families and strengthening the families they are creating. The tiniest step in the right direction is you breaking a generational curse.
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The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of VSECU.