Since my family consisted of only two people, most of the time the communication took place between me and my aunt. Between the two of us, my aunt did most of the communication whether it was verbal or action. There were very limited subjects that were considered taboo between us as my aunt wanted to act as both my mother and father, always trying to balance the two roles, along with the natural feelings of being an aunt. My aunt tried very hard to keep our communication panels open as she was the one I could always turn to. However, often there were periods of silence when I would not share certain matters with her, like school troubles, which I now see hurt her feelings to some extent.
The powerful head of the household was my aunt as my parents were mostly out of the picture. She was powerful because she made all the rules regarding my school, friends, schedules, eating habits and homework timings. Even though she was strict most of the time, she was also highly flexible as she allowed me to experiment with different types of friends and breaking various rules such as not doing some school assignments. She did, however, provide incentives such as a video game or a night out in return for good behavior and getting chores completed which definitely proved that she was in power.
I think that my family did not have rules that were extremely different from other families. For example, the rules were in regards to school work, getting it completed on time, not missing classes and getting reasonably good grades. My aunt was specifically strict with the company I kept even though she allowed me to have an array of friends with differing personalities. She expected me to do certain things, such as chores, homework and having good manners. She also expected me to avoid things like bad language and excessive video gaming. In return, my expectations from her were to take care of my needs such as cooking, cleaning and being my guardian.
My family was definitely chaotic and loosely structured but it was also organized in certain aspects which were predictable. For instance, having lunch and dinner around the same day daily was expected along with going to school and work. It was loosely structured in the sense that my aunt and I allowed each other to be alone and do as we wanted and even though my aunt held up a strict façade, she let me get away with many things and I learned to take advantage of this over time. At first, I was distant from her but over the years, I believe that we became very close knit and connected as we didn’t need words to always communicate. I think if my parents had been there, I would not have been so close or comfortable with them.
Both my parents suffered from drug abuse and were not available. I cannot speak much about their strengths as they left me alone since the age of five but obviously to me, their weaknesses were that they preferred drugs over me and were not capable of being fit parents. My aunt became both my parents.
8. Even though my aunt was not the perfect parent, I hope to carry her optimism and flexible attitude with me as a parent for my daughter. I also hope that my aunt disciplines my daughter the way she attempted with me (I think girls are easier to discipline). Even though my parents will not be there for my daughter, I hope and know that she will not miss their presence with my aunt. My aunt’s attitude and manners have also given me a great way of treating my spouse, which she highly appreciates.
I did not have any pets, but I do believe that if I had a pet such as a dog or cat, I would have been able to cope with my emotional problems in better ways. I will definitely get a pet for my daughter as they are great therapeutic friends and are extremely positive for a family.
Our social class was middle working as my aunt worked multiple jobs and my parents were not very well off because of their repetitive drug abuse.
My parents were both unemployed for many years, going from job to job and suffered drug addictions. Their behaviors changed my entire life as I could not be raised by them and had to live with my aunt since the age of five until I was 18.
I was disciplined rarely through physical spanking and for the most part, my aunt took away my privileges, worked with the school to discipline me through things like detentions and grounded me from going out or seeing my friends.
I was born in 1987 and now I am 25 years old. My generation was different than previous ones as family was not the biggest support unit and the center of our lives as opposed to the traditional family values of the past. Technology played a great part in creating this gap between family members as we had more ways to entertain ourselves than relying on family such as video games and computers. Also, I believe that my generation takes friends more seriously than family members and this is because I felt closer to my best friends than my family at times and I still consider them to be my family.
My aunt was not strictly religious but she was spiritual as she prayed and went to church. I was not very religious myself but I respected my aunt’s opinions and prayed as well, especially during emotionally challenging times. I was not very active in church though. I often thought about the moral consequences of my behaviors and sometimes pushed away the thoughts that made me feel accountable or guilty. However, I think that my aunt instilled certain moral values that I could not push away even if I wanted to and I was thankful afterwards as they prevented me from doing many inappropriate and stupid things.
My family background was not exceptionally educated and most members simply had high school diplomas. Due to this, I did not have a passion for school and slacked in some academics. However, seeing my parents and aunt, my aunt always encouraged me to educate myself and held education on a great pedestal. Through my experiences, I will definitely want to put stress on education for my daughter and encourage high grades and a college degree in order to be successful in society. I personally joined the US Air Force when I was 27 and my wife is in the military, leaving me to stay at home as dad. I strongly believe the quality of life one has is directly related to the quality of education received.
Even though I did not physically move around a lot during my youth, I had to change households by age five and live with my aunt. This definitely affected me in various ways as I was shy and depressed most of the time, seeing other people’s traditional families consisting of a mother, father and siblings. This affected my relationships with my aunt as I could not accept her as a credible authority figure during my teens and often took out my anger and tension out on her because of the family instability. Now, I believe that living in a traditional family set up is important but it is simply a restriction that society has made up and what matters is how children learn to deal with changes in living conditions because they are inevitable.
Raised in a single parent home with my aunt, I was affected by the imbalance of the conventional family set up which required a male figure. This greatly affected at times when I needed a father to guide me through certain aspects of life such as personal hygiene and friendship advice. Even though my aunt tried her best to be that father figure, it was not the same and I hope that my daughter has her mother and my son has his father for those special times in life.
There are many things I have learned by being raised the way I was. The advantages are that I know which things to avoid through my own mistakes and the mistakes my parents and aunt made in raising me. I know that I will make my own, new mistakes as no one is perfect but I would like to avoid the mistakes that other people have made and improve my family. For example, I now know that not all parents are the same as my parents chose drugs over me and I would like to be the best parent I can be for my daughter.