Do You Do Too Much for Your Kids? Share +

Posted by: coronadosafe 5 years, 2 months ago

Your teen leaves his dirty clothes all over the house. Instead of getting into another fight with him or nagging him to pick them up, you do it for him. It’s easier, right?

Your daughter with ADD is having problems completing her science project. After she goes to sleep, you finish it for her. After all, you don’t want her to fail.

"If a parent's emotional needs are met through their child, essentially they’re tying her shoes for her every step of the way." We all “over–function” in our relationships at times, particularly with our kids. And we often start without even realizing it. When you get stuck in a role of doing too much, you might find it hard to give up—and often, those around you might not want you to stop! This turns into a problem when it becomes a fixed pattern in your family.

Am I Doing Too Much?

You can determine if you are an over-functioner if you tend to move in quickly with advice, think you know what's best, not only for yourself but for others, have a low threshold for your child's pain and don't allow him to struggle with his own problems.

Are You in Your Child’s “Box”?

This means stepping over your own boundaries or your child’s—or letting him step over yours. When you get into your child’s box, you’re trying to rescue, protect, and fix and doing for them what they can already do for themselves. You tend to believe that without your efforts, they wouldn’t be able to succeed.

What Should You Do?

1) Recognize that you are doing too much, particularly when anxiety is high. Stop thinking that over–functioning is a virtue and change your part of the pattern by not rescuing, fixing, mediating, or lecturing.

2) Don’t let “changeback” derail you. Don’t be surprised to find that when you do stop your part of the pattern, your children may try to test you and change you back by making you feel guilty, getting sick, and under–functioning more. 

3) Expect it to hurt.  You will probably feel the emotional pain of letting go of your role as an over–functioner and watching your child flounder for awhile. You might even experience feelings of depression, anxiety and anger because you're getting in touch with your own your vulnerabilities. 

4) Don’t hesitate. Just start. Play a different part in the typical role you’ve played. Begin acting differently: be responsible but don’t rescue. Remember that you want to do this in a way that’s still loving and connected.

5) Expect Push Back when You Pull Back: It’s important to recognize that pulling back will initially cause a problem.Realize that when you do this, you’re changing a system that’s been in place for a long time. Your child might get sick, whine or argue with you more, and act even more helpless at first. 

6) Stay in your own box: How do you know if your child is capable or competent at a task? Once they know how to do something, like tying their shoe, then it’s not your box. Once your child has learned something and you’ve helped them learn it, then it’s their responsibility. 

 Click HERE for entire article, Excerpts from Learned Helplessness: Are You Doing Too Much for Your Child? by Debbie Pincus, MS LMHC