Here is a spiritual direction session I had with my Aunt Betty many years ago:
Betty: The best way for people to help their children work on their issues is for the parents to work on theirs. When parents do their work, their kids often get healed as well. Frequently, what is going on inside the parents, the kids will act out. It’s often what the parents don’t own. Thus, as the parents deal with their underlying problems, the kids can be set free. Parents need to get unhooked from their family members, and take back their own stuff. They can be tempted to blame others for something that’s in them.
Who we grow up with helps shape our character. It’s important that we become who we are meant to be. We have to trust that we are put into our families for a reason, and that God has a purpose in all of it. The anger and rage often comes out at the safer parent, because we know they won’t leave. We can get into the habit of negative judgment that’s projected outward.
AM: I have found this to be true for myself and my family. My children have helped me to see the areas I need healed. It’s a good gauge for me to always ask myself if there’s something in me that’s hooking in with something in my child. As my Aunt Betty and I do the work, I have seen my children get better. Plus, I don’t get hooked with them projecting my anger at myself into them.