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7 signs youre a co-dependent parent
Here are seven ways co-dependence might me sneaking its way in your parenting style. - photo by Georgia Lee
Overprotective parenting brings fear and worry without teaching kids to overcome obstacles on their own. It is a form of control that does not allow children to grow into independent adults.

But when it comes to co-dependence, there are many ways to overstep your boundaries and form bonds that are suffocating. Here are 7 examples:

1. Helicopter mom

If you cant seem to go very long without making some kind of contact with your kids, youve got a co-dependence problem. Even if youre physically separated for long periods, you might need hourly updates on your kids when you know theyre in good hands. Youll likely get pushback from your kiddos and sense exasperation with your inability to detach and allow some breathing room.

2. Clingy kids

Sometimes having a constant sidekick is a sign you havent taught your child proper independence. If you find your kids cant cope with the world around them without being right by your side, youve likely had them rely on you too much for their feelings of comfort and safety. This could even leave you stuck with a full nest after your kids have grown up but not moved out.

3. Friendly fire

Being your kids friend over his parent is a surefire sign of co-dependents. Trying to be the fun mom and cool dad means youre more worried about how much your kids like you than the kind of people theyll grow into. Dont focus on what they think of you, so much as what they learn from you.

4. Sense of self

Getting your sense of self from your child is evidence of an unhealthy attachment. Having parenting being a purpose in life is one thing, but it cannot be everything you are. Likewise, your childs sense of self-being entwined with your approval, pride or acceptance of him, makes him unable to make life decisions for his own benefit and happiness.

5. Problem solver

Problem solving between parent and child is dangerous, i.e., co-dependent territory. It is natural to try to solve your childs problems to prevent them from struggling or suffering. But it mustnt become an excuse for reckless behavior or constant underachieving. Furthermore, if you go to your child with your adult issues, you are creating a sense of stress and helplessness by presenting a child with a problem they cant really solve.

6. No privacy

Parents with poor boundaries may not appear classically co-dependent, but if you feel comfortable invading your childrens privacy, or having them up in your business, youre looking at an unhealthy relationship at the least.

Children and adolescents need some sense of privacy to feel safe, secure, and build trust in the world. If they have no place to retreat and regroup, they are left feeling exposed and raw all of the time. This can also encourage dishonest behavior in an attempt to escape your scrutiny or intrusion.

7. Love on the rocks

More classic co-dependence comes in the form of running interference in relationships. Keeping a close eye on adolescent friendships and teen love affairs can feel invading, but serves a purpose. But if you are heavily involved in your adult childs love life, or allow him to dictate yours, youre pulling a third wheel into the situation. Being a couple is harder with three people.

Be sure to guide your children into adulthood instead of keeping them kids or making them friends. Co-dependence can come with spouses, friends and family, and the rules are different for each. So keep your relationships healthy, and make sure everyone is happy with healthy boundaries and separation.
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