New Delhi: Codependency is a tangled relationship that depicts a sense of stagnation between two generations, both parents and children, in which they are unable to achieve autonomy (the ability to perform independently).
Codependent parents exhibit pathological clinginess, are unable to teach good behaviour, and can be found in all stages of life. The pattern of excessive emotional or psychological reliance, dominance, and manipulation in parental relationships has existed for generations and cannot be regarded a relic of a bygone era.
A big part of it still exists in the twenty-first century, and it appears that many individuals are unaware that their previous habits were, and continue to be, poisonous. Codependency is a faulty concept that suffocates the genuine core of a connection in which the parent-child boundaries cross in an unhealthy manner.
An anxious attachment style: Codependency is an anxious, insecure attachment style that stems from a fear of abandonment and a sense of being undervalued. It's referred to as "relational addiction," and it occurs when parents are anxious about being separated from their children. Because they don't believe their child is capable of overcoming the emotional anguish, a codependent parent is adamantly opposed to independence and separation.
Because of such unhealthy ties, a codependent parent feels exhilarated and seeks to impose excessive control over the child's life. Some parents who are codependent are unaware of what they are doing to keep the cycle going. They even encourage their children's over-reliance on them to execute the functions of emotional regulation.
It's similar to aspen groves, where the outer appearance of each tree may suggest physical independence. Yet, inadvertently, they're insecure on the inside and emotionally reliant on one another to convey the phenomenon. Parents may claim that the close relationship they desire is a sign of effective parenting, but it is a sign of dysfunction because it causes children to sacrifice their own emotional needs in order to support their parents' pride and emotional health, and they frequently struggle with identity and intimacy as adults.
Because they are continually compromising on making decisions and commitments owing to overwhelming dependency, an adolescent's sense of identity cannot be developed within their minds.
The paradox: We should see parents prioritise a revolutionary parenting paradigm, namely "individualism," which should be ethically fundamental in conscious parenting. Children feel compelled to express themselves freely. Parents are deeply committed to assisting their children in maturing and becoming independent thinkers so that they no longer require their emotional and physical support. Simultaneously, parents instill good self-esteem in their children through promoting healthy expressions of individuality.
Children learn to crave and assert their individualism by venturing beyond the constraints imposed by limiting ideas, moving closer to desire and aspiration. Children no longer examine themselves as if they were an extension of their parents; instead, they develop into responsible individuals who think and act based on their own perceptions, values, and objectives.
Are you a codependent parent or a parent who makes intentional choices? Here are 8 signs you might be a codependent parent:
1. Hesitation to see your child struggle
Nobody likes to watch their children face adversities, but parents should know that grappling with a bunch of challenges and struggling out of the cocoon 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 anyway. It is normal to safeguard your child from danger, but if you're having a tendency to go to extremes to protect them emotionally, then that is alarming! In the long run, your persisting interference could prevent them from developing the life skills they require to succeed.
2. Controlling most details of your child's life
Are you obsessively focused on your child? Do you intentionally volunteer yourself as the person in charge of choosing your child's career? Do you have a strong desire to know who your child spends his or her time with? Or is it consequential for you to identify what they like to do? And, do you believe it is necessary to exert tight control over how your child acts or feels? If so, you might be a helicopter parent and you 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 and yelling at your child with the aim of changing their behaviour, then you might be inching towards codependency. Why? 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 "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 not ready to bend at any cost, and your child succumbs to your "pressures". You are afraid that your child's new ideas and beliefs might pose a threat to your emotional needs. You don't want to become your child's support system; instead, you want your child to support your needs. You don't encourage your child to pursue the life they want, and you make your child entitled to live the life on your terms.
ALSO READPlaying it safe: Here's what parents say about sending kids unvaccinated to school amid the pandemic...
5. 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 who should attempt to fulfil the emotional needs. This type of unhealthy emotional relationship blurs the boundaries between parent and child in a way that is psychologically inappropriate.
6. 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 help couples 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 are pressurising your child to be a part of it and to take your side in an argument you are having with your partner, then it's a tell-tale sign of a codependent parent. You manipulate your child to become selective and to restore the balance in your favour.
7. 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.
8. 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 attention, their feelings become euphoric. When the mood of a codependent parent becomes obnoxious, their children exhibit attention-seeking behaviours as a result of heightened emotions where a parent can consciously or unconsciously attempt to become the centre of attention, very frequently to gain validation or admiration.
Whatever side of the spectrum you believe you fall on, it is critical to recognise indicators of codependency in your parenting style for your child's bright future.
(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)