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Nine signs that you are a codependent parent

Codependency is a type of insecure, anxious attachment style rooted in a fear of abandonment and an insecurity of being underappreciated.

By: Parenting Desk | New Delhi |
December 17, 2021 3:34:01 pm
codependent parent, who is a codependent parent, signs of a codependent parent, codependency in parenting, what is codependent parenting, parenting, indian express newsIf you constantly find yourself losing your temper at your child with an aim of changing their behaviour, you might be inching towards codependency. (Photo: Getty/Thinkstock)

By Upassna B Singh

Codependency is an entwined union that portrays a sense of stagnancy between two generations, where they fail to become capable of autonomy or the ability to perform independently. Codependent parents manifest a degree of unhealthy clinginess, they cannot reinforce appropriate behaviour towards their children and it can be found in full range through the decades. A large part of it still endures today in the 21st century. The lines between safeguarding and obsession, engaged and overly-involved are often faded beyond recognition.

Codependency is a type of insecure, anxious attachment style rooted in a fear of abandonment and an insecurity of being underappreciated. It is known as “relationship addiction” where parents often feel nervous about being separated from their children. They often feel their child is capable enough to conquer the emotional turmoil. A codependent parent tries to exert excess control over the child’s life, without realising that they may be perpetuating the cycle. An adolescent’s sense of identity cannot be built within children’s mind as they constantly compromise on making choices and commitments due to overwhelming dependency.

Meanwhile, in conscious parenting, parents give importance to a revolutionary parenting paradigm i.e., “individualism”. Children are driven to express their opinions openly. Children become responsible individuals who think and act according to their own perception, values and priorities.

So, ask yourself, are you a codependent parent or practicing conscious parenting? No matter where you think you fall on the spectrum, for your child’s brilliant future it is highly imperative to recognise the parenting style for signs of codependency.

Here are nine signs you may be a codependent parent:

1. Reluctance to see your child struggle

Nobody likes to watch their children facing adversities but parents should know that grappling with challenges equips a child with the ability to solve critical problems in life. In codependency, a parent develops an unwillingness to let their child struggle in any way. It is normal to safeguard your child from danger, but an extreme tendency to protect them can be alarming. In the long run, your persistence interference could prevent them from developing the life skills they require to succeed.

2. Controlling details of your child’s life

Are you overly focused on your child? Do you volunteer yourself as in-charge of choosing your child’s career? Do you have an intense vested curiosity to know who your child hangs out with? Or is it consequential to identify what they like to do? If so, you might be a helicopter parent and are making your child’s life regimented, one of the most common signs of codependency.

3. You employ ‘yelling’ as control tactics

It’s not unusual for parents to raise their voices in exasperation from time to time. But if you constantly find yourself losing your temper at your child with an aim of changing their behaviour then you might be inching towards codependency. When you focus too much on correcting and changing your child’s behaviour, you’re straight away making your child responsible for your emotions, fundamentally asking them to ameliorate your anger and anxiety.

4. You take a ‘conservative approach’

In such a style of codependency you tend to follow archaic protocols where you’re unwilling to accept changes and new ideas coming from your children. You are afraid that your child’s new idea and belief might pose a threat to your emotional needs. You must aim at becoming your child’s support system, instead of wanting your child to support your needs. Encourage them to pursue the life they want.

5. You often manifest ‘guilt-tripping’ behaviour

Guilt trips can sometimes be intentional. In codependency, parents play victim which causes their children to feel guilt or understand the sense of responsibility to modify their behaviour or take specific action. Often parents manifest guilt-tripping behaviour to gain sympathy from their children for the negative experiences they have been through.

6. You lean for ‘emotional support’

In codependency, it is an unhealthy dynamic that appears in parenting where the parent seeks for emotional support through their child that should attempt to fulfill the emotional needs. This type of unhealthy emotional relationship blurs the boundaries between the parent and child in a way that is psychologically inappropriate.

7. Involving kids in ‘grown-up conflicts’

Involving kids in grown-up conflicts they shouldn’t be a part of is a typical way of codependency. Parental rivalry can be positive. Conflicts are what helps couples to move forward and grow, but if you don’t keep your child out of an adult business then you are putting your child’s mental health at risk. Negative peer conflicts are a normal part of adolescence, but if you pressurise your child to take your side in an argument with your partner then it’s a tell-tale sign of a codependent parent. You may end up manipulating your child to become selective and restore the balance in your favour.

8. You are a ‘brick-wall’ in a relationship

You are a parent who never listens. You become a “brick-wall” during a conversation. You refute the fact and move onto a contrasting argument without addressing the point made by your child. No matter how valid the point is, you are a stubborn parent who is not ready to reevaluate the set of beliefs that you have in your mind.

9. You go through rapid ‘mood swings’

A codependent parent has the ability to rapidly shift from one mood to another. A person may be yelling and screaming one moment, but once they get the attention, their feelings become euphoric. When the mood of a codependent parent becomes obnoxious, they exhibit attention-seeking behaviour as a result of heightened emotions where a parent can consciously or unconsciously attempt to become the center of attention, very frequently to gain validation.

(The writer is a life coach and mentor.)

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