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Growth Spurts: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

I was born at 5:05 pm on March 5, 1975, which was my Granddaddy’s 50th birthday. I love the month of March…and the number 5! I also love that I was named after my Granddaddy’s mother, Carrie Elizabeth. In turn, I passed down the middle name to my own daughter, Callie Elizabeth. And I really, REALLY tried to get her to be born three days before she actually was, so that she could share a birthday with my mother. I just thought it would be so neat to have four generations spaced out by exactly 25 years between each generation and to have every other one share a birthday. We got close!

I think it’s fun to share these kinds of things with your family. They’re part of those ties that bind us together. My youngest child has my husband Kevin’s mother’s middle name and my mother’s facial features. My son has Kevin’s mother’s smile and Kevin’s demeanor. My eldest child strongly takes after both me and my mother in personality and in love of grammar. There are plenty of other ways you can see the Bevell and Partridge strains running through my children, and I am fascinated by it.

A lot of these features and tendencies are fun to see. But then there are those that aren’t so fun to see. They’re actually pretty hard to watch, because I know exactly where they came from…me. Whether it’s a personality trait, a bad habit/tendency, or anything my child has picked up just by observing me on a daily basis, I find it difficult to avoid feeling completely at fault and guilty. And sometimes I feel helpless to help my child, because I struggle with the exact same thing he or she does.

There are times when it’s entirely appropriate–and beneficial for all parties involved–for me to hand off a particular issue/instance to my husband to handle with one of our children. There are just times that he can better handle the situation, especially if it’s one in which I’m “seeing myself.” And he would tell you that the reverse is also true. There are many times when I need to step in and allow him to step away from the all-too-familiar situation. (Oh, how I’m thankful for TEAMWORK in parenting!!)

Of course, sometimes the flip-side is what might be more beneficial. Sometimes I’m the one who needs to remain in the situation because I can identify. It is during these times that empathy is a powerful parenting tool. I can assure my child that I understand what he/she is dealing with, and we can talk about different methods that are helpful for each of us in these situations (as well as what triggers to avoid). And even though I’d really rather not be able to relate to those difficult traits and tendencies I see in them, my children are thankful that I do understand and am willing to admit it.

The good, the bad, and the ugly. It all gets passed down through the generations. And that’s okay. Just don’t let the bad and the ugly get all the attention. After all, we pass down some pretty great stuff to our kids, too!

 

Carrie Bevell Partridge sees a bit of herself in all three of her children. And it’s not all bad.

About The Author

Carrie Partridge

Carrie Bevell Partridge grew up in Memphis, TN with her parents and four siblings. She attended Mississippi College, where she met her husband Kevin. They have been married for 20 years and have five children. They live in Ridgeland, MS. Carrie has written the “Growth Spurts” column and managed social media for Parents & Kids Magazine since 2011. You can read more of her work at carriebevellpartridge.com and Facebook.com/carriebevellpartridge.

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