By Gina Rhodes
As parents we do our best to make sure that our children have the best of everything, most of all the opportunities that we were not given as children.
As parents our natural instinct is to protect, love and nurture our children. Our job is to prepare them for going out in the world. Of course we want them to thrive.
But what happens when we don’t set healthy boundaries? When we are not consistent in our parenting, when we don’t follow through with the rules that have been set in place?
We make excuses for our children’s bad behavior. And we let things slide again and again. Most importantly, we never let our children suffer the consequences of their actions.
Even the simplest things like asking our children to clean their room. You ask and ask and they say “I’ll get to it” We become frustrated because they never “get to it.” We end up doing the chores for them.
Of course we all want our children to excel in school. We find ourselves doing our children’s homework for them. We complete our children’s projects, making a fabulous replica of the beautiful Missions, completing a science project at home and on and on. And the worst part is we are so excited to see what grade we-as parents- receive on the project that should’ve been completed by our children. We are always there to fix, cover up, make excuses. We have no boundaries.
You find yourself constantly reminding your young adult children to brush their teeth, shower, brush their hair etc. This could be a huge red flag that you are codependent.
What you’re actually doing is setting your child up for failure. You’re not allowing them to flourish. Most importantly we are not preparing our children to become independent of us. This behavior can be very destructive if our loved ones are suffering from addiction to alcohol and drugs. If we constantly provide a “safe landing” for our adult children they will never hit their rock bottom. There is no incentive for our children to become sober. And why would they? They have a safe place to come home too, meals that are provided, spending money, cell phones that are paid in full. And most importantly we convince ourselves and others that it’s really not that bad. Perhaps it’s just a phase they’re going through.
As a mother of a son in recovery, I can tell you that it’s imperative that while your child is in recovery you must also begin your own recovery. There are plenty of support groups out there for parents. You can find Al-Anon meetings just about everywhere.
Les Carter, Ph.D, has written a wonderful self-help workbook called When Pleasing You is Killing Me.
Another excellent book written by Bill P., Todd W. and Sara S. is called, Drop the Rock: Removing Character Defects – Step 6 and 7. You will learn about unhealthy patterns of people-pleasing. Hopefully, with time, you will begin to find a healthy balance between serving others and self care.
You must learn to detach with love whenever necessary. It’s also important learn that “no” is a complete sentence. If you become part of the solution by keeping and setting proper boundaries, the addict or alcoholic stands a much greater chance of recovery.