18 January 2016 Comments Off on Parents Who Need Too Much

Parents Who Need Too Much

Are you constantly avoiding multiple, texts, calls, e.mails or visits from your parents? Do you feel guilty for saying “No” or having a separate life? If you answered “Yes” to one or more of these questions, you have parents that need too much and are parenting your own parents.  In psychology this is called a role reversal.

How Does This Happen?

Basically, if one or both of your presents grew up in a home where they were not adequately emotionally nurtured, they will unknowingly seek out friends or family to nurture them.  Many parents who need too much  turn to their children to vent, get emotional support and/or guidance.  In some cases, they will seek or befriend their children as a substitute for finding their own friends.  And, if you have grown up in the role of caregiver instead of child, you may be accustomed to having your parents needs come before your own.

This can affect your ability to leave the nest, explore the world, make your own friends and develop a sense of autonomy.  Good parenting involves nurturing your child and allowing him or her to depend on you emotionally, physically and financially. A good parent provides comfort and guidance though life’s challenges and makes you and your needs primary.

This can be confusing as many parents who need too much encourage their children to leave the nest yet imply, “But don’t go too far!”  What child is going to feel good about separating from heir mother who is experiencing depression or a father who is drinking?  What’s more, the role of caregiver brings children a sense of power and self-esteem so that role is often difficult to relinquish.

But, if you don’t, it will wreak havoc on all of your future relationships including those with your partner, friends and children.

If you or someone you know is trying to become their own person but feels too guilty to do so, counseling can help.  Please feel free to pass this blog onto someone who needs it. And, if you or they are interested in talking to me, please e.mail me at: nanlcsw@gmail.com or call me at :847.491.1111 to set up an appointment.  Autonomy is your right!