Today on Become A Calm Mama, I'm talking about a concept called codependency and how it shows up in parenting.
Our children are naturally dependent on us to care for them. In this episode, I’ll help you understand the difference between healthy dependency and a less healthy codependent model.
I’ll also give you some guidelines to figure out if codependency is a struggle for you and what to do about it.
As parents, we are responsible for meeting our children's physical, practical, financial and emotional needs that they can't meet for themselves because of their developmental stage. And the goal as they get older is that they become more and more capable of meeting their own needs.
Healthy dependency looks like taking care of our kids because they can't take care of themselves yet. This type of parenting is guided by our big picture vision of helping our children become adults who are dependent on themselves.
In a codependent relationship, you need something from the other person in order for you to feel good about yourself.
You lose sight of yourself and decide that the needs of someone else are more important than your needs.
Codependency in parenting is when you, as the parent, need something from your kid in order to feel good. Your identity or self worth as a person gets woven into your role of caregiving, and it creates an unhealthy dynamic in your parent-child relationship.
There are three areas where I see this come up a lot in parenting.
You need your kid to need you. You are dependent on them to have your emotional needs met. You need to be needed in order to feel valuable and to feel that your life has purpose. This often leads to a lot of rescuing, extreme helpfulness and wanting to make decisions for your child.
You need your kid to be happy in order for you to feel happy. Of course we want to have compassion and connection with our kids, but the problem arises when you are not able to shift your own emotion until your child shifts theirs.
You need approval from others (your kids or other people) in order to feel secure. You look outside of yourself for validation of your self-worth. This typically shows up as people-pleasing. In parenting, you might put a lot of pressure on yourself and your family to present yourself in a certain way. It can also look like you needing your kid to like you or approve of you, which leads to struggles with setting limits, holding boundaries or allowing your kid to experience discomfort.
If you identify with any of these situations, I want you to know you’re not alone. It’s super normal to struggle because we are socialized to be codependent (especially as women).
You don’t need to utilize all 5 of these strategies. Just pick one thing that you want to work on and come back later when you’re ready for another.
Detach. Rather than detaching from yourself, we're going to detach from the other person and our need for them to be to feel good or our need for their approval. Instead, we're going to begin to look for happiness inside of ourselves.
Self-soothe. Learn how to feel your feelings, and find ways to allow those emotions to move through you. Catch yourself and take a pause break.
Speak kindly to yourself. Stop being so mean to yourself and learn to coach yourself into new ways of thinking.
Cultivate self-trust. Build the belief that you can handle anything that happens.
Set better limits and boundaries. Hold your kids and others accountable when they don’t keep within your limits.
If some of this feels really heavy to you, I want you to really take care of yourself and give yourself a lot of love and kindness.
Beating yourself up and criticizing yourself is not the pathway to change. Awareness is the pathway to change.
Let's shift. Let's grow, Let's heal.
How to tell the difference between healthy dependency and codependency in parenting
3 areas where I see codependency come up for parents (and why it happens)
Why it is so common to struggle with codependency
5 key strategies to release yourself from codependency
Melody Beattie’s book “Codependent No More”
Episode 4: Setting Limits that Work
Episode 9: Pause & Reset Your Emotions
Episode 10: Pause & Reset Your Mind
Episode 36: Overcoming Fear With Raising Teens
November 29th & 30th I'm hosting a holiday gathering all about opting out of shit and not people-pleasing, so that you can enjoy your holiday season.
It’s a conversation between moms all about people-pleasing, over-scheduling and being overtaxed so you can see your patterns, get out of them and feel better.
We’ll also talk about the different strategies I taught in this podcast episode.
Sign up now (for free!) right here.