Parenting is one of the toughest jobs on the planet. It does not come with a guidebook or a “how-to” step-by-step instruction plan. When women become mother’s themselves, they don’t stop being a “child” of someone else.

When you have had a toxic upbringing, that tends to severely influence the way you parent. New mothers say that they are going to parent completely different than their parents in hopes of bringing about change. However, our past lives are very tricky. They tend to always find a way to creep into the present, or for that matter, the future if not dealt with in a proper manner. Effects of abuse and other damaging upbringings, do in deed, echo from generation to generation.


Here are four parenting things that you don’t realize you are doing because you had a toxic upbringing.

1. Letting the Past Creep into the Present
“Many people vow, ‘I will never be like my father, or I will never be like my mother,’ but they end up being surprised when they find themselves saying and doing many of the things they vowed would never happen,” explained Sarah H. Krcmarik, Psy.D, Clinical Director of the Center for Personal Development in Chicago, Illinois to Romper. The way you are parented directly effects the way you parent. “People are often surprised,” Krcmarik states, “at just how quickly they begin to re-create negative patterns in their new family, “without much conscious thought.” Yet, negative influence tends to be deeply rooted but not beyond the scope of change.

2. Are you overcompensating?
Overcompensating is an indication of when mothers have had a negative experience with their own moms in the past. New mothers tend to “overcompensate,” trying to create the perfect family life. That is an incredibly stressful scenario and the new mom is unquestionably setting herself up for failure. Life is not perfect. Enjoy the imperfection of being a parent. Love your child and try your best. Be there for them when it counts and that will matter more than being the perfect parent.

3. Does anger take over?
Anger and abuse are two things that tend to stay with you for the rest of your life. When you have a past history submerged in both, it is easier to become quick to anger and the possibility of continuing the cycle of abuse or acceptance of abuse is more likely. It is imperative to professionally address triggers and abuse sooner rather than later.

4. Forgetting to take care of you.
This is one topic that seems to come up repeatedly. No matter how busy the world seems to get, it is important to make sure to take time to take care of you. Find a yoga class, therapy, try a new hobby-do what makes you feel happy. Nothing makes you feel better about life in general than engaging in an activity that you enjoy.
If you take care of you, renew and reinvigorate, that will translate into bringing a piece of happiness home to your family. Remember, you are setting an example for your children.

“There is an axiom in family therapy known as repeat and repair; you either repeat the same mistakes or repair them,” explains Kathryn Smerling, Ph.D., LCS to Romper, a family therapy professional who practices in Manhattan. “Either you mindlessly keep the same cycle going that you experienced as a child or you decide to be the one to make the change . . . you can educate yourself about healthy parenting practices and put your knowledge to work each day as you endeavor to ‘break the cycle.’”

Tiffany Silva

Tiffany Silva

Writer and Editor

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