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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm wanting to know how others feel about this. I noticed as a mother that I make decisions, many times, based on how my own childhood went.<br><br>
Example, I hated having the feeling I was not welcome in my step-family. Therefore, I irrationally imagine my children feeling unwelcome (I'm sure they don't!) and go out of my way to give them extra warm loving attention. This isn't too bad of an outcome, but consider this. I felt most "welcome" in my family during holidays, when my stepmother would make me, her, and her daughter matching dresses. So I have this immense urge to sew matching dresses for my identical twins and me. Well, that might NOT be such a good idea since identical twins may need more individuation. See, if I indulge my own inner child by recreating a situation I liked in my childhood, I could do damage to my girls.<br><br>
My family counselor advises me not to make the biggest parenting mistake ever: assuming my kids are living my childhood. They are not. I need to address my own demons in my own way, without letting it affect my mothering.<br><br>
Is that even possible? Thoughts? Advice?<br><br>
CurlyTop
 

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I think that the first thing to avoid it is recognizing the situations and you are already doing it. We all hope to be the best Moms in the world though we will commit thousands of mistakes but may those ones be not because of lack of information or investigation from our side.<br>
I liked very much what your family counselor adviced you.
 

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I deal with this every day. I was raised by a teenage mother who eventually got into drugs and abandoned me. I constantly feel like I am torn between indulging my son too much and setting appropriate limits (none of which were set for me). DH and I battle about discipline all the time. And he is only 2.5! All I can do is love him as much as I can and try my best.<br><br>
Jenn
 

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Absolutely.<br><br>
There's a great book that deals with this. "Giving the Love that Heals" by Harville Hendrix. It's about how we are affected by the way we were parented and our experiences growing up, and how they tend to manifest themselves when we find our selves in the same situation with our kids.<br><br>
Recognizing it is a really important part of overcoming it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Piglet, I have that book! I am a big-time reader (hoping the answers are in there somewhere <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> ) and I bought that one. I'll pick it up.<br><br>
Listen to all the books I bought recently:<br>
Giving the Love that Heals<br>
Getting the Love you Want<br>
Keeping the Love you Find (for my single friend)<br>
Everyday Blessings<br>
Positive Discipline<br>
Simply Natural Baby Food<br>
Siblings Without Rivalry<br><br>
That's just off the top of my head. I'm keeping the bookstores in business.<br><br>
Thanks for the tip.<br>
CurlyTop
 

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I seem to be able to parent without reference to my own childhood, which I'm surprised by. Dh and I talk a LOT about our methods and try to do this in advance. It seems to me the more I practice/research AP/GD stuff, the easier it comes to mind. But, my true test is coming up.<br><br>
My biggest childhood issues revolve around my sibling, a sister 2.5 years younger than me. I'm due in February and have already read Siblings Without Rivalry. I already feel my back going up whenever I think of the sibling relationship.<br><br>
I so hope I'll be able to get over it and do my best, or keep doing my best.<br><br>
Thanks for the thread! It's been on my mind too.<br><br>
Jen
 

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My own childhood certainly colors the way I parent. In fact, I have found my own childhood to be an extremely valuable resource in my own parenting. Sadly from my perspective, in many areas, it was an example of <i>what not to do...</i> *sigh*<br><br>
My biggest issues had to do with self-security/esteem, and fear of being left--I had separation anxiety up the wazoo until I was 12 or so. I do find these are things I hold dear in my own parenting: no CIO, being with my son when he needs me, period.<br><br>
DS had extreme sep anxiety from about 4 to 13 months. During this time, I left him next to never and I can't count the number of times I heard, "you just need to leave him more so he gets used to it." Then of course there was the time my step dad told me that I needed to 'teach' him to go to sleep on his own (out of nowhere, I never complained about nursing to sleep?): "you know, let him cry." He went on to tell me that he let his own daughter (my dear sis) CIO and it only took three nights of crying <i>FOR AN HOUR!</i> I was apalled, told him that this was outdated, outmoded, and not in keeping with my own instincts. My mom had also told me a time or two, "sometimes you just gotta let 'em cry... " *sigh*<br><br>
Both of these things (of course!) went against everything I knew to be true in my own life and such things had affected me my whole existence, so I held fast to my convictions. For my son, for me, a victory. By 14 months, his sep anxiety had subsided on it's own. He is very secure with himself and being with others, enjoys it to the fullest. At 2 1/2, we talked about it and he decided he'd like to try to fall asleep on his own after nursing at night... he's been doing so beautifully for several months now.<br><br>
Case closed.<br><br>
 

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CurlyTop, I never thought that this would make my parenting easier, but I can rarely remember things that made me feel good about myself and my life as a child. It's very easy for me to look at something from my childhood and decide not to do it, because everything made me more miserable. I don't have any happy holiday memories to color my view.<br><br>
I agree that recognizing the problem is the best place to start, and you seem to have already done that. I think the next step is to look at your motivations more closely. For example, you felt like you belonged when you were all wearing the same clothing, and like you didn't belong at other times; was it really the clothing, though? Or was it simply the fact that you had tangible evidence that your step-mother was thinking of you and including you in the family? When you look for the reasons behind your feelings, you may be able to put it all into perspective and glean more positives from them. Then you can use that information in your own parenting. Your girls don't need matching dresses, they need evidence that they are part of the family; maybe they can have that through a vote in family meetings, or participation in family projects.<br><br>
Does that make any sense? I think I'm falling asleep at the keyboard again.. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/rolleyes.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="rolleyes">:
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Everyone has given valuable input here, thanks. I can tell when I'm onto some serious opportunity for healing when a mere memory brings tears to my eyes. Regarding the matching outfits, I definitely saw it as "proof" that I was part of the family. My real mom and dad separated when I was 2.5 yo and my dad hid me away from her and my brother & sister. I lived with a family in town, hidden, while my dad worked 2 hours away. By 3 yo, he married my step mom and we moved in together with her DD. I was totally clingy, needy, and desperate for a mommy and glued myself to her. She's the independent type who never even wanted to be a mom. You can see how this worked out <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"> I was sent back and forth between my mom & dad until I was 11. By 12 yo, my step mom could not take my crying and neediness anymore but my dad was afraid to send me to my mom (across the country) , so I ended up being sent to live with relatives 2 hours away (yes, again). I learned that I did not have an unconditional place in any family, so the memories that stick out are of Christmas dresses that matched.<br><br>
Flash forward to the present, my DDs hear every day of the week how lucky I am to have them for my daughters, and how cherished, wanted, loved, and accepted they are. And I have fought the urge to sew dresses for us (jeez, I can't even sew!).<br><br>
The bottom line is that I have to forgive my parents for being young and without resource to love me unconditionally (or show it, anyway), and myself too, because I still have it deep down in my heart that I was unlovable. Ugh!<br><br>
On the other side of the coin, I'm absolutely grateful for everything that happened to me because I am unafraid to show my immense love for each member of my family. And I have chosen new family members from my circle of friends. And I am not giving up on my real family, either, just giving up on showing them how wrong they were. It is pointless and only hurts me.<br><br>
Ahh... back to the topic! I'm looking at the books and meditating on letting go of old hurts. I'm thinking of my DDs as people I'm growing into adults, and I'm letting them help me heal by accepting their unconditional love.<br><br>
Thanks for listening.<br><br>
Warmly,<br>
CurlyTop
 

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CurlyTop,<br><br>
Your story broke my heart! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/heartbeat.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="heartbeat"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug"><br><br>
How wonderful that you have grown and broken the pattern of neglect and abuse!<br><br>
Here's an idea. Try some matching outfits once and just see how it makes you feel? It doesn't have to be pathological to wear matching outfits once in a while. It could just be a fun expression of family solidarity. My mom dressed my sisiter and me (15 mos apart) in matching outfits sometimes. It didn't traumatize us. We still knew who we were.<br><br>
Now, sometimes I notice my kids and I get ready to go out and we are all in a black t-shirt and jeans. It is fun.<br><br>
If you can't sew, you could just buy them.<br><br>
Just an idea. If it makes you sick, ignore it!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks everyone,<br><br>
{{{{{DaryLLL}}}}} thanks for understanding and offering support. I'm noodling on the idea of matching dresses. And I can sew, just not expertly like my step mom. I'm a pretty good shopper though <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin"><br><br>
I've thought a lot about this. I'm happy that I'm really letting things go, finally. I'm letting go of the "meaning" I assigned to things. What things "mean" about me. I'm not unlovable (not at all!) and I didn't deserve to be called a burden. I was a sweet child who landed on earth with unprepared parents - and have you thought about the idea that we CHOSE our life settings prior to birth? This is absolutely fascinating. I wanted this particular experience. Now I'm looking at my life as the set up for something wonderful.<br><br>
Sorry if this is too out-there for some of you gentle readers. I'm just thinking out loud.<br><br>
Hugs,<br>
CurlyTop
 
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