Help! I Sound Just Like My Mother

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Help! I Sound Just Like My Mother [EXPERT]
How to break the outdated parenting habits you inherited from your mom.

It seems to be an unavoidable phenomenon that occurs as we age and have our own children. I actually heard myself say once, in a heated moment with my oldest daughter, "If you don't stop crying, I'll give you something to cry about."

That wasn't one of my finer parenting moments but I knew where it came from. The sting of "mommy guilt" kicked in when I remembered how I felt when those words were spoken to me by my mother when I was younger.

In these moments, we as parents have an opportunity to repair not only the hurt we caused our own child, but also the hurt we experienced as a child.  

For those who grew up in families that were less than ideal, sounding like your mom can be a reminder that you are repeating an unhealthy pattern and may feel scary or disconcerting. Family patterns will be repeated from one generation to the next without a conscious awareness of the impact that your ubringing had on you.

Often, we will make promises to ourselves that we will never allow our child experience what we did as a child. However, without doing your own healing, you will likely go to the opposite extreme which is just as unhealthy. 6 Ways To Know You've Met Your Prince Charming

I once worked with a mom who talked about how her mother played favorites and she was clearly the least favored of her sister, brother and herself. She swore to herself that her children would never feel like the "unfavored" child and she was committed to treating her two daughters, in particular, equally. 28 Dos & Don'ts Of Divorced Parenting

The problem here was that she was feeling exhausted trying to make sure neither of her daughters felt cheated and the sibling rivalry between her daughters was over the top. She also reported that neither of her girls seemed to acknowledge her efforts to treat them equally but instead made every effort to point out any failure on her or her husbands part for giving one something that the other didn't get.

Her intention was actually back-firing. The opposite of this scenario is one I see regularly in my practice as well, where a child is being treated as the unfavored child but the parent(s) are blind to it.  

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Article contributed by
Advanced Member

Leslie Petruk

Marriage and Family Therapist

Leslie Petruk is a Child & Family Therapist

Location: Charlotte, NC
Credentials: BCC, LPC, MA, NCC
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