You may be hurting your child and not even know it. Therapist, Julie Hanks, says parents, especially moms, unintentionally use their kids to meet their emotional needs. We have the warning signs.
· All of these apply to all ages of children as well as adult children
· In my practice, this is the most common unintentional way that parents hurt their children.
· Children generally don’t even realize that this dynamic has contributed to their current distress.
· In my clinical practice this is more common with mothers & children than fathers, but does happen with fathers.
Solution: Leave child out of details of your personal problems.
Child/teen knows can’t stand about husband.
Adult child knows that you’re hiding money from spouse.
2) Your child is your emotional sounding board
Solution: Share problems with peers or professionals
Complain to child or adult child about chronic health problems.
Venting feelings of anger toward ex-spouse to child.
3) Your child is your best or only friend
Solution: Develop and diversify peer relationships.
Young adult female client feels guilty for leaving mom, going off to college, moving out.
Teen feels guilty for going out on weekends “leaving” single mom at home.
4) You rely on your child for adult responsibilities
Solution: You manage the household, or ask other adults for help.
Your child acts as primary caregiver for younger siblings.
Adult child manages parent’s finances.
5) Your child is your primary source of comfort
Solution: Focus on comforting your child and seek comfort from adult peers or professionals.
Call and vent to adult child about depression but refuses counseling.
When distressed they call child and exclude your spouses.
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