Challenge Accepted: 3 Lessons I Learned Growing Up Without Parents

June 25, 2019

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When I was born, my parents separated, and my sister and I were cared for by our grandmother. I remember as a young kid, I've always prayed for my parents to get back together so that we can have a complete family. Growing up, I've always envied seeing families.

In a separation, it's the child who is affected more, especially if they are young. The effect may not manifest immediately, but it would come in some form in the future. No matter how amicable or favorable the situation is, the separation will still have an impact on the child. As for me, I struggled with shyness, low self-confidence, and the mindset that I need to stop being a child and learn to fend for myself.

Don't get me wrong, we were cared for by other family members, but my sister and I were still longing for our parent's attention and love. Both my parents eventually had their own families. I was only able to accept that our parents were never getting back together when I reached high school. It took me a long time to accept it and be okay with it.

"Kids from broken homes have to grow up fast and make do with what they've got."

I had every reason to be rebellious or to do stupid things, but I didn't. I learned fast as it was needed. I mastered how to cope up with the things in my life and make do with whatever is available. I can't say that I'm successful, but with all of the things that have happened to me, I'm proud of all the challenges that I was able to surpass. Through the process, I've learned three powerful lessons which I'd like to share with you.






1. Talking about your feelings is okay


As a grown-up man, I know that it can sometimes be shameful to talk about your feelings and be vulnerable. But over the years, I realized that talking about what your feelings help desensitize it. Your emotions remain in check when you've normalized it through opening yourself up to people. I've written about my childhood several times, I've talked to people about it, and I'm no longer worried about being judged because I have learned to accept my situation.

When you talk about your feelings, you can control your emotions better, which helps you make decisions rationally.

2. Never get pressured to do things


In my teenage years, peer pressure was intense, just like with other kids. The only difference for me is that I was free to do things on my own as no one was around to check my every move. But even with that freedom, I've always reminded myself never to get pressured by anyone.

Peer pressure can lead to experimentation with illegal substances, skipping school, and sex. While I've had my fair share of it, I always know where my limitations were. I've never done anything that I know would be bad for me. Having several good role models also helped me make decisions better.

Even as an adult and as a parent, I rarely get pressured by social influences. When I do, I check myself and asses my behavior and take a mental note never to do it again.

3. Be grateful for what you have


I can't stress how important this lesson for me is. Growing up, I was constantly envious of people, and I've always compared myself to my peers. I was always looking for the thing that I don't have.

Not until I became an adult did I know about the power of being grateful. In the past, I would write down things that I was thankful for in my daily journal.

Being grateful makes you appreciate the things you have, and it helps you become more intentional with how you look at your life. I consciously practice gratefulness, and I make an effort to tell people about its power.






Takeaway


As a dad, these are the lessons I hope to teach my son when he grows up. I also hope that this shows parents out there the effect that their separation may have on their kids and why it's crucial for them to play an active role. Challenges are in abundance nowadays, and it's up to you how you will find ways to accept those challenges.

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