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Woman Seeks Advice For How To Deal With The 'Toxic Things' Her Mother Tells Her Children

Photo: fizkes / Shutterstock
Frustrated (adult) daughter argues with her mother, displaying a generational divide between the women

A woman expressed her concerns about the “toxic things” her mother tells her 9-month-old baby and asked the people of the internet just how they might approach the situation.

The woman worries that her mother may be teaching her child toxic behaviors.

In her Reddit post on the “r/breakingmom” subreddit, where moms can seek advice or share their personal experiences on all things mom-related, a woman asked Redditors how they might deal with their own parents passing down outdated and potentially harmful teachings onto their grandchildren, and where to draw the line.

The user shared that her mother had recently offered to help care for her 9-month-old baby; however, she noted that she “couldn’t help noticing toxic stuff coming out of her mouth.”

“Like for example, ‘Aww you don't want to hug Grammy? Grammy is going to cry (fake crying)’ and when my daughter bumped her head on the handle of her play horse, my mom was telling her to hit it with her finger and saying ‘Bad Horsie,’” the user explained.

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woman seeks advice after her mother tells her kids toxic thingsPhoto: fizkes / Shutterstock

The woman realized how her mother’s toxic teachings have shaped the way she responds to situations as an adult.

Upon witnessing the way her mother interacted with her baby, the user realized a few things about herself and how she became the person she is today. She wrote, “It definitely made me realize why I'm a people pleaser and also why I have to suppress the urge to react in violence when upset.”

Unfortunately, this user seems to have a hard time expressing this to her mother — a “typical boomer” — who holds negative views of psychology and believes it to be “just a tool to make children hate their parents.” 

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“If I said my concerns, she would roll her eyes. Best plan I have is to always say I’m busy when she wants to visit,” said the user.

To clarify, the woman added that despite all of this, she’s a “functioning adult” and doesn’t feel any animosity towards her mother. To that end, this revelation has made her feel apprehensive about allowing her mother to influence her daughter.

Drawing a line between your own parents and the lessons they try to impart to your child is challenging, but necessary.

Responding to the original post, one parent empathized with the user’s situation and shared their own experience, having had to explain to her mother that she was drawing a line.

“She definitely used to ‘bribe’ [my kids] for hugs,” the commenter wrote. “I told her in no uncertain terms, ‘You know I was sexually abused. I’m raising my kids differently. I don’t ever want them to tie physical touch to bribery or getting gifts. Their body is their own property and they will never be required to touch, hug, or kiss at any time they don’t feel like it. You can ask, but you may NOT imply that there will be ANY consequences for them withholding physical affection. Ever. Period.’”

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Generational differences on parenting have been a much debated and divisive topic. Of course, it’s important to note that each generation holds distinct perspectives associated with the times.

With that being said, it isn’t exactly wrong to say that older generations had a much more uncompromising approach to parenting. Historically, much of the stigma and lack of discussion surrounding mental health among previous generations was likely a factor in the teachings they passed down to their children.

woman seeks advice after her mother tells her kids toxic thingsPhoto: Evgeny Atamanenko / Shutterstock

In the wake of modern research regarding mental health, best parenting practices, and the like, our societal attitudes have evolved in a way that allows us to become more open with one another compared to our older, stricter counterparts

While it’s completely normal for parents to want to set firm boundaries and parent differently than their own parents, it never hurts to invite open and honest conversations so that perhaps, one day, we may break the cycle of generational trauma one step at a time. 

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Xiomara Demarchi is a New York-based writer and frequent contributor to YourTango’s news and entertainment team. Keep up with them on Instagram.