This might seem like a strange question. But the family you grew up in plays a HUGE role in how you behave in your family now. This phenomenon is called "Family of Origin Influences." Each of us leaves the home we are raised in with a set of conscious and unconscious ways of relating to others based on our family of origin.
Our views of gender roles, themes, boundaries, play, stress, relaxation, conflict, coping with loss, religion's role, ethnic patters...all of these are influenced by where we come from. By knowing where we have come from - the good, the bad, and the ugly - we can understand why we do what we do.
Here's an example. Like most moms, I'm swamped by all that there is to do around my house. With two little ones and a husband I feel like I'm constantly cleaning up after someone. Some days the mountain of work bothers me more than others. Today it was really getting to me. After getting not nearly enough done around the house, DS2 and I went to pick up Big Brother.
Now, all week we've had plans after school. So I wanted today to be a quiet day at home (translated, they play nicely while I get some work done around the house). My boys, however, had a different plan. :-) They wanted to ride bikes in our cul-de-sac. What's a mom to do?
I decided to sit outside with the boys, a cup of iced coffee, a book, and our favorite radio station. My boys had a blast. They drew with sidewalk chalk, used their tools to break up wood, and rode scooters and bikes around the circle. I sat there watching their joy at having a long time to just play outside. I also thought about the mess inside. And I remembered the post for today. I realized that some day my children may choose to play with their children simply because I took the time to play instead of work. I also found that the house didn't seem like such a big deal after relaxing with the kids for a while. That's a big benefit...and a lesson I'm thrilled to have them take with them when they eventually leave home.