Is there someone in your life that you are enabling? First, recognize that the problem is “you” since they won’t change until you stop perpetuating their dependence. Awareness and acknowledgment of the problem is the first step to change. Try to figure out the question “why am I rescuing and what is my secondary gain?” Some people need to be needed and find purpose and meaning in care-taking others. Others choose to focus on others’ problems to avoid dealing with their own issues. I’m not suggesting that it’s never good to help others, instead I’m encouraging you to consider the problem of helping too much and taking away the other person’s responsibility and accountability. Teach them how to fish, rather than catching the fish for them. Another important point is to set healthy and appropriate boundaries which may mean saying no or drawing the line in the sand. Allow others to fail, even when you can prevent it, since they will grow, mature, and learn more from this experience than if you continue to bail them out. This is very difficult, especially when it involves your child, but dealing with adversity and working through conflict will better prepare them for the stressful world in which we live. Lastly, love them, encourage them, support them, praise them, while at the same time letting them do for themselves. When someone takes ownership and responsibility for tasks, behaviors, and feelings it builds their self-confidence. One of the greatest gifts we can give our children is that of self-reliance.
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