Little kids usually think their parents know everything and don’t question it. During the teenage years, kids begin to doubt everything their parents say and do. This is also only natural; nature programs teens to start seeking independence and separation from their parents at that age. Most people will then come to a point at which they gain a whole new respect for their parents—they understand and appreciate what their parents had to teach them.

Others of us will realize we got dealt a bad hand; that our parents, even if they did their best, were just not good at parenting. So how do you get past your parents mistakes?

Accept It

The first step in overcoming bad parenting is to accept that you’ve had bad parenting—you were put at a disadvantage. Even if you still love your parents and want a good relationship with them, you may have to forgive them so that you can move forward from it.

It can be difficult to go against your upbringing but you can make a conscious decision and a concerted effort—once you are determined to change, and willing to take the steps to make change occur, you can guide your own destiny.

Identify their Biggest Mistakes

Reflect on your life, and consider what some of their biggest shortcomings were. Perhaps they failed to give you structure and discipline. They may have been irresponsible, and you needs for security and stability were not met. They may have been cold and hard on you, leaving you feeling emotionally unsatisfied. Even worse, perhaps your parents were outright abusive or neglectful, and it left you with scars and horrible memories. Identify their shortcomings so that you can identify your problem areas.

Work On Your Problems

Once you can see the damage your parents did and how it affected you, you can begin to work on those lessons they failed to give. If you know your parents were irresponsible and see yourself falling into the same pattern, you see where that kind of behavior ends up—not just for you, but for your own children.

If your parents were violent and it left you with bitterness and anger, you will know you need to get counseling to help yourself heal and handle your own problems more civilly. Read self-help books, join support groups, etc.—it’s time to learn the lessons that you did not learn as a child. It’s time to undo some of the damage.

Don’t Use Your Parents As an Excuse

You had bad parents—it may be a fact of life. But as soon as you’re old enough to realize it, it becomes your responsibility to deal with it. You can’t spend the rest of your life making bad choices, or behaving badly, and pointing behind you saying, “Blame them. It’s their fault I’m like this.”

No matter what your parents have done wrong, or what lessons they failed to get across, you ultimately come to a point at which you are responsible for your own behavior. You have to accept that responsibility and move on, rather than using it as an escape goat.

It can be done, though. You can overcome those issues. You might even be able to repair your relationship with your parents and accept them again, flaws and all. It can be difficult to go against your upbringing but you can make a conscious decision and a concerted effort—once you are determined to change, and willing to take the steps to make change occur, you can guide your own destiny.