In my opinion, one big way people can and do, mess their kids up, is by not being aware of and integrating their own shadow parts of themselves.
Shadow parts of ourselves, are the parts of us we reject, and don’t want. It could be anything, including negative feelings we don’t want like anger, sadness or fear. Or it could be personality traits, or other ways we are lying and denying parts of our own nature, to ourselves.
In my view, it is a false division of ourselves. Some parts are allowed by us, others must stay in the unconscious, subconscious. To not know that these parts we reject, actually exist, is to act them out unconsciously.
For example, when a homophobe is aggressive to a homosexual person, the homophobe could have homosexual desires in their shadow/subconscious that they are suppressing. And through attacking others, they are projecting their disgust at themselves onto others, because they reject that part of themselves. But it is an unconscious rejection that they are not aware of. (This is NOT always the case with homophobic people, just one example of how the shadow can work).
So parents, if they aren’t aware of their shadow parts, they can then project whatever issue they might have, big or small onto their kids, and the kids grow up and do the same to their kids and it perpetuates.
“We’ve spent lifetimes thinking about our problems, but so little time actually shining the light of awareness on what is actually happening.” – Joey Lott
All is not lost though, because at any time, anyone can do this inner work, although hard, it’s possible. And we can undo our conditioning and integrate our shadow parts, not only for the wellbeing of kids, but for the wellbeing of ourselves and every single person we have relationships with/interact with.
We don’t have to do anything, we can do what we want, but if people are suffering, I believe this is important work.
Carl Jung’s, Jordan Peterson’s and Joey Lott’s work on this is a God send.
For anyone suffering with problems for a long time that they have never found a way to fix them; problems like depression, anxiety, eating disorders, addiction, obsessions etc. Joey Lott has an incredible online course that I can personally vouch for, that you can check out here. (Hopefully it’s still open to join, if not you can sign up to his email and receive updates of when it will next be open) Obviously this isn’t the only way, and there’s lots of good help out there. But this is one that I have found to be very effective and really get to the root of my problems.