6 Signs You're A Codependent Parent And Why It's Toxic For Your Kids

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All parents love their children to the moon and back. They put in great efforts to bring them up with the right values and make them independent. But when the time does arrive and the kids wish to grow into their own, why does it become difficult for some parents to let go? Their reactions range from anger to sadness toward their child for moving away from them (or that’s what they think). Thus, defeating the very purpose of their good upbringing. There’s a very fine line between love and affection, and being codependent on your child. Since it’s hard to differentiate, check out these six signs of being a codependent parent. If any (or all) of it fits your description, then you know what to do:

1. Your Child’s Emotions Affect You

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If your child is sad, you’ll be upset too. If he/she is angry or upset, you’ll be worried as well. In short, you’ll not be fine until your child is. However, you need to realize that whatever your child reacts to or how are a part of their growing up and life experiences. So, instead of stressing over it, let your child be responsible for his/her own emotions. Make your emotions independent of your child’s.

2. You Want To Be In Control All The Time

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If your child seems stressed, you’ll go out of the way to get to the root cause of the problem and also solve it just to find peace for yourself too. This can have a disastrous effect on the parent-child equation. Your child is a different individual. Through your behavior, you’re stripping your child’s right to deal with his/her life in their own way. So, don’t blame your child if he/she considers this as an unnecessary infringement into his/her privacy.

3. You Highlight The Victim In You

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One of the major reasons for codependency is the parent’s own experience with personal relationships. If a certain amount of love or affection was missing in his/her relationship with the parents or spouse, that parent would try to seek it from the child. Such a parent would start telling stories of their painful past to the child from the very beginning. They’ll try to highlight themselves as victims to gain the sympathy of the child.

4. Your Other Relationships Get Ignored

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You may be trying to be the best mom or dad. But, are you completely ignoring your other relationships in the process? If yes, then you could be a codependent parent. It could be your spouse, siblings, or even other children of yours as compared to the one you are emotionally attached to. All these relationships need to be nurtured the right way with an appropriate amount of attention and space. So, give them equal importance.

5. You Feel You Are Always Right

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You have a right on your child. But, assuming that you are always right can come in the way of making the right decisions for your child. At times, your children know themselves better than you. So, instead of imposing your decisions on them, make it a collaborative effort. Let your children make their own mistakes and learn from them. Guide them into taking the right decisions instead of striving to prove that you are always right!

6. Guilt Is Your Weapon

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When your child throws a fit due to your overbearing and intrusive nature, you react with passive-aggressive comments, silent treatment, etc. All this, just to make your child feel guilty. However, instead of resorting to this kind of behavior, try self-introspection. Are you stepping into his/her space? Is your behavior leading your child to misbehave? You need to find answers to these questions. Only then will you be able to make amends before it’s too late.

Every relationship has its own boundaries including the one between parents and children. It is unfortunate if you’ve suffered in some of your relationships. But to make your child compensate for it is unfair. You need to realize that your wrong behavior could shape your child’s perception of future relationships. Your child could take the wrong cue and do the same to his/her children, thus creating a vicious circle.

Remember, when you love someone and let them go, they’ll always come back to you. Believe in it and let go of your children at the right time. It’s your child after all – they’ll always be there for you!

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Sadiya Qamar

Sadiya is a writer and editor with a passion for writing about parenthood and children. Her focus areas are health, wellness, and beauty. For MomJunction, she writes on kids’ health and nutrition.  Sadiya believes in doing in-depth research and providing accurate information to help parents with concerns on their children’s growth and development.