How My Own Childhood Abuse Has Shaped My Parenting Style

by Emma Longden

When I was twelve years old, I was sexually abused by a male who was close to the family for over a year. I kept the abuse to myself, too scared of what he might do to me if I told anybody. In fact, I was so traumatised by what happened to me that I didn't tell anybody for years, and I only reported the abuse to the police, and opened up to my parents, a few years ago, in my late twenties. 

Having experienced abuse as a child myself, I have at times struggled with being a parent to my own children, worrying about the world and all the dangers that exist out there. How can I protect my children if my own parents didn't know what was going on with me? Along with the additional anxiety, I have found that what happened to me has shaped me as a parent, and not all of these are negative. 

For a start, I have found that I encourage the children to be open and honest with me, and I give them the same back. I want them to know that I am here for them no matter what and that nothing is off the table when it comes to discussions. I was so scared to tell my mum what had happened to me, and I don't want that for my kids, so I am conscious of making our conversations a safe space for them from an early age. Additionally, I want them to understand what is normal and what isn't, in language that they can understand and deal with. 

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I also try and be a fun parent, allowing them to be wild and free within some set boundaries, whilst encouraging them to enjoy their childhood. I lost a part of my childhood because of what happened to me, I shut out the memories and I stopped enjoying playing with my siblings and being a child. I was no longer carefree, and I don't want that for my own children, I want them to have happy memories to look back on. I want them to be free spirits. 

Finally, I am more cautious about elements of parenting that I wouldn't necessarily be without my own experiences. Sure, it makes me a little more anxious, but I would rather be safe than sorry, and I am always extra careful about the people I introduce to my children, and have in their lives because of it. What happened to me when I was a child, it was done to me by somebody who was meant to be a safe adult, somebody I was in the care of. That means that I am careful and cautious with the people who are a part of our lives, just in case. 

Childhood abuse is awful, it has a long-lasting effect decades after the event itself, but the experience has shaped the way I am as a parent myself, and I am determined to give my own children the happy, carefree childhood that I was denied in the past. 


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Written by

Emma Longden

Blogger, Social Media Manager and Mum of Three
Emma-Louise lives in the seaside town of Bournemouth with her husband Ed and three children Cameron (8), Carly (6) and Benjamin (2). A freelance blogger and social media manager, Emma-Louise writes about her life and everything in it, including beauty, style, travel and motherhood. With a history of mental illness, Emma-Louise also covers mental health issues, including her own experiences with both depression and anxiety, including both antenatal and postnatal depression.

Articles on YourBabyClub.co.uk are a mixture of informative pieces, anecdotal accounts and professional advice from our panel of Bloggers, Writers and Experts. The views and opinions expressed in these articles are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official view of Your Baby Club UK

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