Parent Club Podcast Ep. 2: Generational Trauma

Editor’s Note: In this second episode of the CUNY SPS Parent Club Podcast, members met to share and explore the impact of generational trauma on family dynamics. Tune in as the parents talk about mental health, alcoholism, the expression of love, the immigrant experience, and more.

Parsh Lal: All right. Good afternoon, everybody. Welcome to the Parent Podcast. My name is Parsh Lal, and I’m a student life coordinator. I’m joined today by three amazing students. If you can introduce yourself, talk about your major—and yeah, we’ll start with that. So, Goseema, do you want to start off first?

Goseema Persaud: Hi, everyone. My name is Goseema. I am studying my master’s program of nursing education at CUNY SPS. I’ve been a nurse for 10 years, but I’ve also been a parent for seven years. My oldest is seven, and my youngest is four.

Parsh Lal: Awesome, awesome. Jean, do you wanna go next? 

Jean Gabriel Calderon: Sure. Hi, everybody. Good afternoon. My name is Jean Gabriel Calderon. I am an incoming—oh, excuse me, I’m a transfer student at CUNY SPS. I’m a liberal studies major. And for nearly the past decade, I’ve been working with children, both teaching in and out of the classroom and in social work. Right now I’m back working with students, with children, as an assistant teacher at a preschool. Although I’m not a parent myself, you could say I’m playing a pseudo parent role when I’ve been teaching children. 

Parsh Lal: Awesome. You know what, it’s really good to hear the perspective of somebody who’s not a parent, because you still work with children. So that’s what counts, and you’re definitely teaching them to become the next best thing in the world. So thank you for that. And Esser. Do you want to introduce yourself and your major? 

Esser Charles: Hi, hi. I’m Esser Charles. And this is my first semester at CUNY SPS, my major is research administration and compliance. I’m a mother of three, my oldest is 26. My youngest is nine. So, I’m still learning every day. Because every day is something new. I’m happy to participate.

Parsh Lal: Thank you. And don’t worry, you’re doing a great job, Esser. Your kids are going to be so proud one day when they see back to how much their mom’s teachings have done for them. I could say that myself—I’m the youngest out of three, and I still look back at what my mom taught me and I use it every day. So you’re doing a great job of that. 

So basically, today, we’ll be talking about generational trauma. I know that most of us were either first generation in this country or second generation. So you guys probably all experienced at one point about what it was like for your own upbringing. And then, when you’re faced with the next generation, it’s like, “Oh, my God, what do I do now?” Like, how do I make sure that I’ve put myself in a place where I can learn from what the past generation taught me and what I’ve learned myself? And what can I do differently or do the same? You know, it’s a very, I think it’s a very interesting time because we’re seeing right now how much of our teachings or how much of our influence in our upbringing affects the way our kids or our future kids are going to act. So it’s a very interesting topic, and I want to talk about that today. So I’m gonna start with the first question. And this is for Goseema. The question is, what generational curses has your family taught you growing up? And how are you changing them with your parenting?

Goseema Persaud: Alright, so I’m speaking on my experience from my family. We are of South Asian Guyanese descent. And a major problem with our culture is alcoholism. Seeing it growing up was very, very evident on how mental health plays into that. A bigger part for my family is the coping mechanism. There weren’t really any means of coping, especially as an immigrant family. From what I saw from my parents, they kind of left everything behind and came to a new country with their three young kids. And my father’s coping mechanism was alcohol. And his father. And when I questioned, it’s the same thing on my mother’s side, her father—and I see it with her as well. 

Alcoholism is big. Growing up, that’s what we saw. And as teenagers, you kind of go through a lot. And as adults, you see the same thing—you kind of want to pick up the same habits. And there was a part of my life where it’s like, “Okay, I’m having a stressful day, and everybody says that I’m having a stressful day. I’m gonna have a glass of wine after work, I’m gonna have a drink after work.” But where do you cross that line where that one drink, when that one glass, turns into two or three every day? So I feel like that’s one generational curse that I have with my family. 

How I break it with my kids—I am more open with them. I try not to rely on alcohol, even though it is present in my home. And we just try to pose it as a social thing, a gathering. So they’re not seeing it being related to an argument after the fact or any kind of issues. I hope I’m wording it correctly. Or anger, related to anger—any mental health issues. But, that’s one thing I stressed with them. I say try not to be influenced by what’s going on around you in a negative way. And just find words to express yourself first, before relying on anything physical. So that’s our generational curse. And that’s how I kind of teach my kids how to stray away from the dependence on alcohol.

Parsh Lal: That was such a great point you brought up. I know, like alcoholism has been—I mean, you hear it a lot, not just in South Asian households but every kind of household, either with alcohol or some kind of substance that people use to kind of cope with what they’re going through instead of actually using healthier methods. You know, I think we’ve all seen it to some degree, on some level, whether it’s with somebody who will use food, some people use alcohol, and we use drugs. So it’s definitely good that you take a different approach to that. Kudos to you for that, you know, I know it’s not easy sometimes. Especially when you’ve seen that growing up, and you see, okay, that worked in the past. But was it the best way? But thank you for that. That’s a great answer. Next will be Jean. And Jean, the question is, what generational curses has your family taught you growing up? And how are you changing them? I guess for you, it would be with your students.

Jean Gabriel Calderon: I guess. So. Let me start with what Goseema said, because  her experience sort of hit a point, it hit close to home. Because a very good personal friend, almost like an aunt, to me, and she was a good personal friend to my mother, recently died of alcoholism. And the reason the part of the alcoholism was stemming from you know, so family, they had a problem with alcohol. And then she herself had alcohol issues. And then she was depressed too, because her son died nine months prior. So, just goes to show you how cyclical that is and whatnot. So what goes in was a really, really hit home. 

Shifting focus back to the question part. Yeah, I think for my family, you know, even though I’m born in the United States, I am of Dominican descent. Both my parents are from the Dominican Republic, my family’s from the Dominican Republic. If anybody’s read anything by Junot Díaz, or anything, or any Latino or Latina folks out there, you know that love is a complex issue with us. And by that, I mean more so how it plays out. How is it expressed? How is it shown? Yes, we can be, we can be both very outspoken, and we can show our love with hugs, kisses and all that. But at the same time, there’s also the darker side that we don’t really express love in healthier ways and we don’t really try to maintain relationships. I say all this to say, because I’m reminded of a very famous African proverb that goes, “A child that is not embraced by the village will burn it down to feel its warmth.” 

And that, for me, personally, I was loved—let me put that out there, I was loved. There wasn’t—it wasn’t like I was neglected. However, the way the love transpired, even though my mother and I—I was mostly raised by my mom and my mom, being educated in psychology, she showed me love and affection in more ways than one. In all ways, you know, very healthy. I was able to also experience the other side from other family members, and see that my cousins didn’t receive the same love and affection. And that curse is very much carried to them throughout their growth, their development. And some, some, I’ll give credit to—they’ve tried to mitigate that and change that when it comes to their children. They’re trying to be more loving, more affectionate, more open and transparent, other than hide feelings and expose them to negative stuff. 

Just to finish this off, as to your question Parsh. To the students I teach, especially right now with the little ones, I’m working with preschoolers. I try to show them, you know, because it’s still a bit of a nebulous concept to them, what the basic thing is, what we try to show them is how to regulate their emotions. And how their actions and words can affect other people. 

So for example, with children, a big thing is learning how to share. You guys have seen it, everybody’s seen it. Everybody has seen it, like when two kids get together, and they’re playing with things, one kid will snatch a toy or the other kid’s hand and you’ll get the classic, “No, mine!” We have to show them to share, right? We show them to share. And when that escalates. And when they get upset and the other one reacts, either by hitting, by biting, by saying—what I try to do, I try to show them. I try to show them, look, you know—though we don’t say biting at work, we say eating—you say, “Look, why did you eat your friend? You don’t eat your friends, you eat food, you eat apples, you eat oranges, you don’t eat your friends.” And what I do is I try to show them like, “Look what happened to your friend, when you tried to eat them, see how they’re crying?” And right then and there, the children realize, “Oh, okay, what I did wasn’t good. That hurt that person.” And then vice versa, the one or the other says, “Okay, what I did, made them upset.” And this is the reaction that sprung out of that. And that, in summation, is how we try to show love and affection and emotion to children. If any of that makes sense. 

Parsh Lal: No, no, you were spot on, Jean. I think I’m surprised that like, even despite not having kids yourself, that you got to give such a good answer about that. I really liked the point you made about how children regulate their emotions, you mentioned earlier, because I think that when children don’t really regulate their emotions as a kid, it really transpires in their adulthood as adults, right? I mean, I’m sure all of us can probably know that sometimes you meet people who aren’t the most expressive, they have a hard time understanding their feelings as adults. And then that will lead to more conflicts, more problems, right. So I really liked that point you brought up about that. You know, if we teach them from a young age to regulate their emotions, understand what they’re feeling. It really helps as they go to a grown adult. Thank you for that. 

Jean Gabriel Calderon: Of course, of course. Yeah. Simply hug your children, everybody. Love your children, get some good night. You know, when they do good, praise them when they do bad. Don’t scold them, but make it into a teaching moment.

Parsh Lal: Of course, of course. And Melissa in the comments, I think it went to me though. She’s also said she’s a fellow parent and Dominican here. So that was for you Jean.

Jean Gabriel Calderon: Thank you, Melissa. I see you.

Parsh Lal: Awesome. All right, Esser. So you are next. And the question is Esser, what generational curses has your family taught you growing up? And how are you changing them with your parenting? 

Esser Charles: Okay, so I’m like the two previous because I’m also an immigrant. I came here with my two-year-old daughter. So growing up, it’s not like, like he just said, my parents were not really affectionate. Like, it was not something that they did. They didn’t show emotion. So that’s not something I got a lot of. 

It was very hard for one of my kids. I really tried to do it. But it wasn’t like me, because I’ve been conditioned like that, because I didn’t receive it. It was hard to give it. But I tried my best. I really tried. And I think I overdid it. Sometimes I overcompensated for what my parents didn’t give me. And sometimes I think it backfired to a certain extent. 

Because my 16-year-old son has an anxiety disorder. And he’s kind of saying it’s because of me. I’m not really, I’m not really warm, or stuff like that. But I, in my mind, I try. I really try. But unfortunately, it didn’t. I mean, it doesn’t always work. Even if you do your best and you think you’re doing your best as a parent, there’s always room for growth, right? 

So I’m thinking because there isn’t somewhere you go to find out how to be a parent. It’s something you do as you go along. You make mistakes along the way. So my generational curses would be that like my parents didn’t do it. If they loved me back, they were cold, they were not warm. So that was a gen—that’s the culture, where a lot of kids, people my age that grew up back home, they didn’t get that love from their parents. But they still excel and stuff like that, but some people I guess, it was different for me to to love my kids that way because I try, I did my best, but I guess I didn’t do it the way I was supposed to. So I’m learning, I’m learning as I go along. And that’s my take on it. It’s still a working process for me. Because it’s hard after how many years I have been brought up a certain way. It’s kind of hard to break the cycle, but I’m trying my very best. Thank you. 

Parsh Lal: No, thank you Esser. I mean, listen, you gave a beautiful answer. I think, first off, you should know that you are maybe 50 to 90 percent better than most parents out there. A lot of parents don’t want to change their old ways, especially the old school people. They do not want to change how they’ve been taught. They think that’s the right way. But the fact that you said that you want to learn, and you mentioned also that a lot of things you never had growing up, it’s I think the hardest thing as a parent, right? You never got that kind of love and care. But how do you give something you never had to somebody else, right? That is the hardest thing in life to do. Because, you know, sometimes it’s like resentment. Oh, “I didn’t get that growing up. Why should I give it to the other person, right? To my kids.”

It’s a lot of different things that come along the way. But the fact that you said that you’re willing to learn, you’re willing to see things for more than what it is. You’re doing a great job as a mother, trust me. Like I said, maybe not now, but when you’re a little bit older, your kids will realize, like, you know what? Our mom taught us very well. Our mom did this for us. She taught us how to love.

And you’ll see that when they get to their own marriages and relationships. I don’t know if they are right now, but whenever they do know, and you see as a parent, man, you know what? I raised them right. I raised my son right. Raised my daughter right. It just takes time. But you know what? Kudos to you for that. Yeah, the fact that you’re trying, and you’re giving something you never got, it speaks volume. So don’t be hard on yourself. Parenting is a lifetime job.

Esser Charles: Yeah. Thank you.

Parsh Lal: Of course. I love these answers you guys have given this morning. It’s just making me all sentimental here. Wow. All right.

Jean Gabriel Calderon: Parsh, if I could jump in. 

Parsh Lal: Yeah, go ahead. 

Jean Gabriel Calderon: I’m sorry. I just want to piggyback on what you’re saying and say to Esser, you know. Esser, you’re doing a good job, you’re doing a terrific job, to your child, that anxiety. The fact that you recognize that and you’re seeking to help them. That’s already, you already have a leg up on like hundreds and thousands of parents, unfortunately. Especially from us, people of color background where mental health is shamed upon, it’s frowned upon, it’s tossed under the rug, tossed aside under the bridge. So you’re already doing the leg up, and your part about how you—your story about how you weren’t really shown love. But you still grew up, it is reflected to all of us. 

My mom was the same—my mom had a similar upbringing. My grandma was very harsh, extremely harsh. It’s almost totalitarian and they didn’t really show love and affection to their children. 

And, again, this goes back to two quotes, right? “If you weren’t raised with love, it’s hard for you to show love.” And again, to the African proverb, I said, you know, “A child who was not loved by the village will burn it down to feel its warmth.” And it all just goes to show you that the things that are deemed silly and little, like telling your child that “I love you,” telling your child that “I believe in you,” giving them hugs, checking in on them, talking to them—those little things add up over time. And like Parsh said, your child will appreciate you. Have faith in your child, that you’ve taught them the best that you could, to the best of your ability.

Esser Charles: Yeah, I appreciate that. Because you’re right about the mental thing. We island people, immigrants and stuff, called minorities. They taught me growing up that mental illness was something that was nonexistent, right? We frowned upon it. 

Like you have to be strong all the time. You can be strong all the time, you understand? So that’s how the island mentality is, but you cannot. I mean, we are only human, we break. Yeah.

Jean Gabriel Calderon: And tie back to Goseema. The downside of that is that when you do break, it’s not always going to be—you’re not always going to cry or have a breakdown. You know, it manifests itself in other ways. To tie it back to Goseema, some people use alcohol as their escape, drugs as their escapism, it’s all coping mechanisms. Psychology majors, please go off on me in the comments. If I’m wrong on any of this.

Parsh Lal: No, you’re definitely right. I mean, it’s all about the coping mechanism. I think the way I look at it is that you can’t fill somebody else’s bucket with love and care if yours is empty, right? You have to make sure you have some for yourself always, right? And how you cope through those things. So I definitely agree with you on that Jean. 

Jean Gabriel Calderon: Yeah, thanks. 

Parsh Lal: Of course, of course. So let’s move on to the second question. And the question is for Goseema, what are your views on changing with the times in terms of generation to generation? Do you still follow some of your parents’ generational thinking, or are you completely opposed to it? 

Goseema Persaud: So, great question. I actually, as a parenting style, something that I do is I tend to step back and see my experience and how I can apply it to my kids. And I could choose whether to go the same route or not. 

For example, my oldest son, he’s in karate, and he does pianos on Saturday mornings. I’ve been recently hearing things like, “I quit, I don’t want to do it, I just want to stay at home and be on my iPad.” And I’ll start, I told him, I told him a story and said, “Listen, growing up, I did not have these opportunities. I wanted to do dancing, and I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t take a dance class, my parents had no means to drive me to and from it.” And I look at that, and I say, you know, I’m doing better than my parents did financially. And I’m trying my best to give my kids what I didn’t have. I didn’t have these opportunities that my parents couldn’t afford, either by driving or even financially affording them, they just didn’t have the time to. 

So I give it to all my children, both my kids are in karate, doing all these extracurriculars. So I look at it like, I’m trying to do better for them. But then the fact that sometimes I feel like it’s not appreciated. And I’m like, “Should I just take that away?” But I don’t want to do that. Because that just gives them the opportunity to sit at home and do nothing and be nonproductive. 

I’m not gonna say that growing up, my parents left us at home to be nonproductive, because we had a room full of books that we were supposed to get through. So you know, I think a situation does require some reflection, where you kind of have to rationalize, was that the best choice? Because, as Esser said before, there is no handbook given when you are having a child or have a child. There’s no parenting handbook that goes and says, in this situation, you do XY and Z. 

I think, personal reflection on your experience, or just someone else’s experience and just rationalizing what will be the best in the situation. So for me, some things I do look back on and say, you know, maybe it wasn’t the right thing to do, that my parents did. And I just move on, and make my own choices. And then I just, you know, reevaluate it, then. Yeah, I just wanted to add a little bit from what everyone else was saying. I was just jotting down some notes. 

Another generational thing that we had was definitely tough love. There were no hugs and expressions of love and saying, I love you. And I did, just as Esser said, when I had my kids, that was something I was focused on. I was like, “No, I have to make sure they’re developing mentally,” and showing them that I love them and care for them in every way that I can. I’m making sure that I do give hugs, and I’m affectionate, and I communicate with them. But most importantly, I’m honest with them, to let them know everything that’s going on. Because you would think that your children aren’t picking up on certain behaviors or actions, but they do. And they’re smart enough to kind of question you afterwards, like, “Hey, you know, what’s going on? You and grandma were arguing, you and dad were arguing.” And they’re inquisitive, and they want to know. So that’s one thing I did change. I’m more honest, I don’t hide away from the fact that there’s anything from them. That’s my little tidbit. 

Parsh Lal: Wow. That’s awesome. Goseema, especially, like you mentioned about the honesty. I know, like most of our parents growing up—I mean, for me they always kind of hid away what was happening. “Oh, don’t worry about it. Don’t worry about it, you don’t need to know, you don’t need to know what’s going on.” And it kind of makes you feel like disincluded from the conversation, right? Like, “Oh, don’t you trust me enough to understand?” So kudos to you for that, you know.

Goseema Persaud: I used to get the, well, there was a phrase my parents used to say, “Oh, this is an adult conversation.” So yeah.

Parsh Lal: And now we’re adults and they’re like, “Why don’t you want to be part of the conversation?” “Oh, I thought I was a kid still,” you know. Thank you for that. That’s an awesome way to put it, you know. 

Next is Jean. There we go. So Jean, the question is, let me scroll up a little bit. All right. So the question is, what are your views on changing with the times in terms of generation to generation? Do you still follow some of your parents’ generational thinking or are you completely opposed to it? 

Jean Gabriel Calderon: Okay, so to all my Caribbeans, Latinas, people of color, and who are listening, who are in the chat, we all know that the number one and the go to method of discipline was a good ol’ beat down. And I, you know, a bit trigger warning to anybody who’s—I didn’t mean to say so but you know, a bit trigger warning to anyone who was a child or victim of abuse. 

And when I say we were disciplined, we were disciplined with what? In Spanish we call it the chancleta, la chancleta, sandals, belts, wooden spoons, anything and everything our parents could get our hands on, right? And we all know that, that does more harm than good, that does more harm than good. 

So because our parents, the previous generation, it’s like, “Okay, if you won’t listen, I have to make you listen, and to make you listen, I’m gonna have to force this upon you,” because it was done to them, and so on and so forth. And also because to—having the patience to sit down and talk just isn’t, to them, it’s not as easy as grabbing something and threatening a child with that. 

I say all this to say because what the new style is coming out, if we’re on parent Tik Tok, if you’re on the forms reading, there’s a new style called, what is called gentle parenting. Yes, as the title says, we want to be more gentler. But what some have, I guess misconstrued, is that by gentle parenting, they think that also means passive, to be passive and to just let a child do whatever they want. No, that is obviously not true. When we mean gentle parenting, we mean, instead of being impulsive, and instead of immediately trying to use fear, pain, and the threat of discipline to bring about order, and instruction to a child. We do like, what Goseema and Esser said, we sit down with them, we talk to them, we show affection to them. 

Again, circling back to my example, with the little ones, when the little ones start fighting, and they don’t want to share and I have to tell them, “Okay, we don’t eat our friends, we don’t hit our friends. You know, hands are not for hitting.” When I talk to them, I have to get down to their level, I bring them close to me. And I explained it to them. I explain to them saying, you know, obviously they’re crying and they’re having their moment. 

Again, going back to regulation, but you also want to explain to them like, “Okay, hey, are you okay?” And they’ll calm down and then you can break it down to them. “What happened?” Right? 

Preschoolers, little children, some are verbal, nonverbal, they’ll tell you—some little kids will be like, “Eh, eh, eh,” and they’ll point and you’re like, “Okay, yeah, you hit a little Sarah, why?” They’ll point to a train and you’re like, “Yeah, but she was playing with that train. You can’t take people’s train, you have to ask, you have to say please, can I have it?” And then I say, “Are you okay?” “Yeah.”

And by then I say, “Okay, look, next time, ask. If they don’t answer you, come to me. Say Mr. Jean, look, and then I’ll help you.” That is, even though I’m teaching, but that is an example of gentle parenting. You can break it down, you can talk to a child, like Goseema said, children are very intelligent. They are observational learners. You can break it down to them. You can be candid and honest to them like Goseema says, and talk to them, and express things and explain it to them. Because when you walk them through it, they will understand and they will give you their point. 

But again, and I swear I’m almost done, guys. What also is gentle parenting is people think that there’s no such thing as discipline. No, we’re rethinking disciplining in the sense that you want the child to really think and ponder about what they did and how it affects others. Again, if a child bites or eats another child, you want to show them what happened. You say, “Look, look what you did to your friend’s finger. You don’t eat your friend, right? You see how they are in pain.” 

So you put them to sit down and you have them think and reflect and see what happens. That being said, us POCs sometimes, we just gotta, we have to take a deep breath. Like, I’m not a parent yet, but—I’m not a parent yet, but  I’m not gonna lie to you guys. If I have children, specifically a son and I see him or them engaging in misogyny, I will do the nicest form of gentle parenting, you know? So that, there’s room, there’s room. What my basic point is, guys, don’t be turned off by this. This is the way to go. And just because you’re being gentle doesn’t mean you’re being passive, those who are not the same.

Parsh Lal: Thank you for that Jean. I think you brought up a lot of good points in this response. I think one thing that made me think a lot is when you mentioned the discipline, and I think communicating more about it versus like, a lot of us, because I grew up like that as well. You know, the belt, all that good stuff. South Asian household, same thing happened to us. So I think, I think when we rethink how we do that, and not become more aggressive towards children, it really helps them become a better adult. 

Because think about it as a kid, if we face that kind of stuff, then when we get into relationships as adults, then we kind of let things slide, right? When it comes to physical abuse, that’s part of why it happens. Because when you were taught, when you grew up seeing that kind of thing, then you think that’s okay. Then when you’re in a relationship with somebody, you’re kind of like, that’s okay, as well. Right? So that’s what made me think about your culture around that.

Jean Gabriel Calderon: 100 percent, Parsh, 100 percent. And take it even a step further, this affects a child’s development. Because let’s say you’re a much more quiet and reserved child and you are disciplined a lot. That makes you very self-conscious about basically doing anything, because you basically feel like you’re walking on eggshells. And then that can, if you have any natural anxiety, that’s just going to take you over the top. And that’s going to affect you and how you interact with others, how you try to form relationships and whatnot. 

Parsh Lal: Definitely. And there’s a comment for you in the chat from Melissa. She said, “As an honorary Jamaican, because my daughter is also half Jamaican, that is one thing I never want to do. There are so many good ways to. Discipline violence is never the answer. We should never resort to it.” And she also mentioned how it’s definitely a Caribbean thing. And then she said, “Maybe I’m too American.” Thank you, Melissa, for that. Wonderful. 

So next we have Esser. And so the question is, give me one second. What are your views on changing with the times in terms of generation to generation? Do you still follow some of your parents’ generational thinking? Or are you completely opposed to it? 

Esser Charles: Well, I don’t know what to say. One thing I carry over from my mom, to my kids is being more like having a relationship with God. Like, I’m more into my religion and stuff like that. So I tried to, I don’t foster my kids, you understand? Because my daughter says she’s an atheist. So I keep an open mind. I try to tell them about my religion and stuff, like get them involved. But if they do not, I don’t force it on them. Like, my mom would force it on me. I have to go to church every single day, I give them a choice to choose, you understand? So it’s not something I think, although I want to keep it for myself, I won’t foster my kids. I would like them too, but I don’t force them to. So I think there’s a difference there. 

And what she said about, what Goseema said about our parents were not able to afford to give us a lot of things. We tried to give the best to our kids, what our parents could not give to us. And sometimes we, the kids are not, because they haven’t walked that path that we have walked, they don’t understand what we are really trying to do. So when you say “Oh, they seemed very ungrateful.” They’re ungrateful because they haven’t. 

Like my mom went to school without any shoes. So she made sure that I had shoes when I went to school, but I’m doing a step further. But my kids weren’t exposed to that kind of environment. So they do not know. All they know now is what we showed them. So yes, we pay for the piano lessons, the karate, the basketball, we do everything, soccer, and everything. And they might just say, “Okay, I don’t feel like going this weekend.” Like my daughter did. My daughter was in a whole bunch of stuff. She went to dance classes, tap dance classes, whatever. She said, “Okay, okay.” But she ended up like she was always dropping off. But because I guess they haven’t trod in our shoes. Goseema, that’s why I think they don’t understand the sacrifices we’re making for them. 

And even if we tell them, they still don’t understand until they themselves get to be parents and they see the sacrifices we’ve made. So I will say that I tried to keep an open mind, I’m not close- minded like my parents. So, I think I can relate because the generation is changing, the internet and all kinds of stuff. So I try to just you know, and it’s more liberal thinking now. So I have to kind of get in that path. And that way I can be a better parent and not be a judgmental person or be judgmental parents just judging them. I accept the changes that come with the changing times. It’s not something I always readily accepted. But I do accept, try.

Parsh Lal: Thank you for that, Esser. I mean, the fact that you’re trying, I know it’s very difficult. I know that each generation faces their own issues, right? I think this generation, generation Z and stuff like that, I think most kids are in that kind of generation. They’re facing all these tough challenges, right? Social media, finding their identities, a lot of challenges that a lot of people face nowadays. So I know it can be quite tough, because most of us are from the previous generation and the one before that. 

So you know, the fact that you’re trying and adapting, that’s all that matters, honestly, because I think every generation faces their own problems. Ours was trying to balance having immigrant parents and trying to adjust to this lifestyle of being living in America. So it’s hard. And I guess the next generation has their problems that they’re facing. But the fact that you’re trying, that’s all that matters honestly. 

Esser Charles: I think it gets harder with each generation, because they are exposed to way more. Like they can get bullied online. We were not exposed to that kind of bullying. So if somebody wanted to fight you, they fight you right at the school. But they get trumped on social media, they get trumped in person. It’s very hard. 

I mean, I’m on a PTA board, and I see these kids, so many kids sitting in the cafeteria, and their heads are down. You know, it breaks your heart. Because there are cliques, they have so many cliques. I know, in school, there are cliques. But it actually breaks your heart to see and they don’t talk because they keep everything bottled up inside. And then when it comes out, and they have so many anxiety issues, they have panic attacks. I’m like, it breaks my heart. And young kids, really young kids. Right, right. Yeah. So as parents, it’s tough to see, it’s tough to see.

Parsh Lal: No, definitely. I’ve been seeing a lot nowadays that a lot of people in Gen Z, when they’re around their 20s, they’re deciding not to have kids because they realize how messed up our world can be sometimes. And they’re scared to have kids in this world. I mean, yeah, but I get scared sometimes too, as well. 

Like, how am I going to raise my kids in this kind of generation, the kind of time that we live in now where their online presence is a new identity, their in-person presence is a whole new identity. It’s just like there’s no escape. There’s like, everywhere there’s something going on.

But thank you for that. It’s definitely a great answer. And you have some lovely comments in the chat as well. Jean said, “Kudos to you, Esser. We need more parents like you that are trying and are very empathetic to the children.” And Goseema said, “Thanks Esser, I appreciate the explanation.”

Esser Charles: Thank you so much. Thank you so much. 

Parsh Lal: All right. So now let’s move on to our last question, because I promised one hour and I will definitely deliver one hour. This is the last question and feel free to express however you want. So for Goseema. The question is, what is your advice to the upcoming generation about generational curses?

Goseema Persaud: Okay, my advice. I’m going to think about my kids and growing up. And kind of just thinking before they act, I know it seems so common or cliche to say that, but just before you make any kind of decision or action, just think about whether it’s going to benefit you or hurt you even more. 

Like we mentioned, a lot of things on social media that we’re seeing are very rash. People are just in the moment, and they just do things without thinking, later to have regret, or have to come out and make public statements about what the words that they have said. So for my kids, I always tell them, I said, “You know, think about what you’re about to do before you actually decide to do it. Think about the consequences of it.” Also, when I see them act mean to other kids, I was telling them to reflect afterwards to say, “You know, how could you have done that better? Or how would that have made you feel if someone did that to you? “And it kind of, what I see with my oldest—my youngest, he’s little, he’s four, so sometimes he doesn’t really fully understand when I do those methods with him. But my seven-year-old has come to me, he kind of processes it and then later that evening or the next day, he’ll come to me and he’ll say, “You know, Mom, what I did was wrong,” or he’ll say, “You know, it would have hurt my feelings if it would have happened to me.” 

So I think in certain ways, I am getting through with them just trying to break some of these things. So that’s my advice. So just keep telling them to think about their actions before they actually do it.

Parsh Lal: It’s great advice because I think a lot of times, I think I became more cautious when I talk to somebody. How are my actions gonna affect this person? What if I offend this person? It’s just like nowadays, it’s like, a lot of people don’t think about that kind of stuff. It’s good that you’re teaching your boys that. 

Because I think especially for men, for us, it’s hard for us to express our emotions to begin with, because we’ve been conditioned like that, right? You’re trying with your boys, making sure that they become not just good men out there, but men that could express themselves. Yeah, they are going to be great, great men as they get older.

Goseema Persaud: I really hope so. I mean, their father is like that. And by ‘that,’ I mean, he is very closed off emotionally because it wasn’t something he was allowed to express when he was younger. He wasn’t taught emotional regulation, how to communicate what he’s feeling, how it makes them feel. So with them, I tried to do it so that they can pick up on these things. 

Parsh Lal: Of course, and kudos to you. Watch, like I said Goseema, when your kids are older, they’re gonna really see how much, you’ll see exactly as a parent, like how much of your time as a mom has affected them, and how—you’ll see them, like, when they find their partner, when they grow up, and you see how they treat other people. 

You’ll say like, you know what, kudos—that’s when you’ll have that wineglass but then you can be like, I did a great job as a mom. You know, these are great men that I raised, and you’ll see it one day, trust me. For sure.

Goseema Persaud: That is my hope. That is my hope.

Parsh Lal: Awesome. All right, Jean, you are next. And the question is, what is your advice to the upcoming generation about generational curses? 

Jean Gabriel Calderon: Oh, sheesh. It’s kind of like asking which one of your 50 kids do you love? You love them all, man. And like, there’s so many options here. I guess the first thing, and this isn’t just to the upcoming generation but it also to everyone in general, is that we need to, all of us—and by ‘we,’ I mean, the royal we, all of us, really need to sharpen up on our media literacy. Because as both Goseema and Esser said, we’re terminally online now. We’re so connected to everything. We see everything that’s going on. So we need to really sharpen up on media literacy. 

And by media literacy, I mean, recognizing and understanding how media affects us. How they can shape our ways of thinking or viewpoints, recognizing trusted sources, actual sources, from fake sources. 

And what’s becoming popular, as psychologists are calling it, doom scrolling and rage baiting. Those are two, in my opinion, I feel like it’s becoming the end of us as humanity. Doom scrolling is when people just scroll, scroll, scroll infinitely. And then it just progressively, progressively worsens your mood and condition, but you don’t stop. Because the way the algorithm is designed, infinite scrolling is to give you this negative feedback loop of, like a car crashing, you just want to see how deep the rabbit hole gets, you can’t look away from it. 

And the other thing I would like to say is that when we’re raising and when we’re looking out for the next generation, we also have to consider—again, part of the thing is you want to teach about respecting boundaries. Understanding that no means no and accepting the rejection and respecting someone’s boundaries. You respect someone’s boundary when they say, “Hey, no, I don’t want to hang out with you today.” Or, “Hey, no, I appreciate you trying to buy me this coffee, but I can buy my own coffee.” 

So to summarize, yes, two points—in one, let’s stop, all of us, not just children, but let’s say to children too, be mindful of what we’re consuming on the internet. Be mindful of what’s going on. In and out the internet, let’s not give credence to things that are gonna purposely seem to make us upset and set us off and basically send us into a depressive cycle. And at the same time, let’s respect people’s boundaries. People’s boundaries go a long way. And it’s overall just going to make us better.

Parsh Lal: Great answer, Jean. I think especially the boundaries discussion. That was my first initial thing I was gonna follow up with you on. And I think, in this generation, that people’s boundaries get crossed. I have a lot of female friends, they tell me that when they go on dates, that they feel kind of uncomfortable that certain men don’t know their boundaries. It really just shows how much the word “no” was never taught to a lot of people, that it’s become like a scary thing for people especially in this generation. 

So the fact that you brought that up that teaching people it’s okay to say no, understanding what boundaries are, and consent and all those things. It really goes a long way into somebody’s upbringing, right? It’s scary that like a lot of people, they haven’t even heard the word “no” growing up. So when someone says “no” to them as an adult, it just kind of leads them off the wrong way, right? And they become something that they’re like—you never expect them to turn out like that. But you really bought a great point about that. 

And now lastly, we have Esser. And so you are going to be the closing out person for us. So the question is, what is your advice for the upcoming generation about generational curses?

Esser Charles: Okay, it’ll be short and sweet. Number one, the internet should not be the go to place for advice and stuff. You have to have strong convictions. So whatever, the internet, you don’t use it as the law, as the Bible. The internet is not the Bible on everything. So you have to have your own personal convictions that you would with, like maybe they say, a boy, a kid, went on the internet and he committed suicide. His parents came to his room, and he used his curtain to hang himself. And it’s your child. So I mean, I don’t know, it’s not a parent’s fault, or whatever. But whatever he was listening to, watching on YouTube, made him want to do that. 

So I’m saying that it’s just not the go to place you have to have strong convictions. Teach your child in a way, so they know. The common sense that this is good and this is not good. And they should know, even at a young age. And also audit, audit, audit, audit—whatever they are watching on the phones and everything on tablets, you have to pay attention to those things. You have to pay attention because that is very important. That’s my tip. 

Parsh Lal: Oh, definitely. I think you brought up some great points, especially about like I said, the generations changed a lot. The times are changing. So it’s really important to be vigilant about these things, and know what’s affecting children. So great answer about that, Esser. Is there any comments in the chat before we close out today?

Jean said to Goseema, “Goseema, your oldest is a clever one, pulling the oldest trick in the book. As long as you and dad show a united front, that kid is no match.” Thank you for that Jean. That’s a great answer. 

Any other questions or comments from our audience before we close up today’s podcast? Just giving it about a minute, the floor is all yours guys, just to sort of close out. 

Goseema Persaud: I just want to say that curses can be broken. And it takes a lot of work and effort. And I think if you just keep at it, it will be broken because we’re all here to provide a better future for ourselves and our children.

Parsh Lal: Awesome. Thank you Goseema. And Melissa said in the chat, “Enjoying all the little milestones along the way. Thank you so much for that.” Thank you, Melissa.

Jean Gabriel Calderon: I’ll just like to add one last point. Yeah. Basically picking off what Melissa was saying. Enjoy the time with your kids, man. We all know, life is both short and also really long. So just appreciate all the milestones or the moments you have with them, good or bad. Just be there and appreciate them, because they’re also going to look back and reflect and be appreciative of that, too. 

Parsh Lal: Of course, of course. I think like a lot of people, they always thank their parents for what they turned out to be. We always see those give-back videos for the parents. We see that all the time. 

So it’s always important to spend time with your kids because time is precious. We don’t know what the future holds. But we know that if you have kids, hold them closely tonight, spend time with them, let them feel welcomed. That’s all it is about, besides that money, all that stuff will come and go, but it’s about the love and care that we raise our kids with. And that’s what it’s all about.

Leave a Reply