Have you noticed that the number of young adults (20 somethings) who are unable to get their lives on track seems to be growing? Some struggle with drug or alcohol addiction and/or mental health problems. In other situations, they have relied too heavily on their parents to survive both financially and emotionally. Sometimes we as parents try too hard to fix, rescue, and caretake our children into adulthood. The more we do for them, the less they do for themselves. Are we inadvertently disabling our children by enabling them and establishing a codependent relationship? The message that our children may receive when we attempt to direct their lives is: “we don’t think you can make good decisions or be successful without our help.” This can reduce their self-confidence and increase their fears.
Let’s face it, we’re all guilty of this to some extent and the reason for this blog is not to add to our guilt. The purpose is to raise awareness and consider other ways to approach our relationships with our children. Why do we invest so much in our children’s success? Maybe we’re overcompensating for what we didn’t have in resources or opportunities. Or maybe we’re trying to make up for lost time, a lack of connection, or an abundance of guilt. In today’s competitive world, we want our children to have the edge and be better positioned for success. We don’t want our children to fail in life and can’t bear to see them struggle so we’re compelled to catch them before they fall. Sometimes people overcompensate for their children after divorce and/or exposure to negative life stressors.
Striking a balance in raising children can be very difficult. However, excessive care taking prevents our children from experiencing the satisfaction of learning self-care skills and growing from failure. Unfortunately, avoiding responsibility is rampant in our society. We contribute to this process when we don’t hold our children accountable for their actions and reward inappropriate behaviors by eliminating consequences. Instead of accepting responsibility for their actions, people today defend, justify, and blame others for their poor choices and mistakes. Learn more about this problem in next week’s blog and ways to change our approach.