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Are You Addicted To Your Children?
Is it possible to be using our children addictively?
Anything that we use to get love, avoid pain, and fill up inner emptiness can become an addiction even our children! If your children are your whole life if you dont have a strong spiritual connection with a personal source of love and guidance, as well as other relationships and interests that you are passionate about, you might be using your children to fill an empty place within you.
If you dont have a partner or your relationship with your partner is not fulfilling to you, and you dont have deeply connected and meaningful friendships, then you might be using your kids as your major emotional connection. If you dont have hobbies or work that are compelling and fulfilling to you, you might be using your children to give meaning to your life. If you dont have a daily spiritual practice that brings love and comfort to your soul, you might be using your children to fill this need.
If this is what you are doing, it is not good for your children. It is a huge burden on children to be responsible for their parents loneliness and sense of purpose. Children who feel this responsibility often become caretakers, giving themselves up to take care of a parent. On the other hand, a child burdened with this responsibility may rebel and distance from the parent, spending less and less time at home to avoid the burden of the parents emptiness.
I grew up as an only child with a mother who had nothing fulfilling in her life other than me. Her whole focus was on me, and because I couldnt possibly fill her up in the way she needed to be filled, she was often angry at me. I became a good little girl, a good caretaker of my mother, but the result was that I was a nervous and unhappy child, and wanted to be away from my house as much as possible.
Our children need to be a part of our life, not our whole life. We need to role-model for them what it looks like to take personal responsibility for filling ourselves up. We need to show them what it looks like to take responsibility for making ourselves happy, rather than rely on them for our happiness. Your children want to know that they are important to you, but not so important that your well-being is dependent upon them. You might want to explore the following questions to see if you may be using your children addictively:
* Do you have a solid spiritual practice that fills you with a sense of peace and gives meaning to your life?
* Are you expressing your particular talents in a way that feels meaningful and productive to you and gives you a sense of fulfillment?
* Do you have fulfilling emotional connections with other adults a partner, other family members or friends?
If you answered yes to these, then you are probably not using your children addictively.
* Do you feel bored and useless when your children are not around? Is it your children that give your life meaning?
* Is your sense of worth attached to your childrens achievements? Do you tend to take it personally if one of your children has a problem?
* Are you over-involved in your childrens lives?
* Are you overly sensitive if one of our children is angry or distant? Do you find yourself trying to pacify your children rather than set appropriate limits in order to avoid their rejection?
* Did you choose to have children to share the fullness of your love or did you have children in the hopes of getting love from them?
If you answered yes to one or more of these, then there is a good possibility that you are using your children addictively. If this is the case, the best thing you can do for you and your children is to move yourself toward a solid spiritual practice, look for meaningful ways of expressing your talents, and develop emotional connection and support from other adults.
BONUS : Are You In Control Of Your Children Or Are You Just A Controlling Parent?
When it comes to our children we do need to be the ones in control. We are responsible for their safety and well being of course. But we are also the ones that need to teach them independence, good decision making skills, and build their self esteem at the same time. Learn to pick your battles and your whole family will run smoother and everyone will be much happier.
First off does it really matter if your child wears red striped pants with a blue polka dotted shirt? If we are going to church or somewhere special then yes I would prefer that my daughter at least somewhat match, but if we are at home or just running to the store I let her pick her own clothes as long as they are weather appropriate. Yes I get some funny looks but I will have my revenge later because I of course take pictures of all the colorful clothing combinations she has chosen and will be able to tease her about them later. My mom did the same thing with me, she has this wonderful picture of me with orange and pink flowered pants and a green and blue striped shirt.
Does it really matter if every corner of her room is picked up each and every day? I say no, she has an area where she does her "projects" and I personally see no reason why that can't be a little messy at times. But we do have a hard and fast rule that once a week the room is totally cleaned and any toys or books must be picked up from other areas of the house before bed. She wins and I win.
When it comes down to doing an arts and crafts project you need to be prepared to throw out the directions sometimes. If their imagination takes them to a different place than the directions then so what. Most of the time you are doing arts and crafts for them to have fun anyway, so why stifle them and make it less fun. My daughter wanted to do a scrapbook so I got all the necessary stuff and as it turns out she really just wanted to make a book of her different "creations" using glue, markers, glitter, and other craft supplies. So what, I put up the photographs and she had a great time and I had a blast watching and helping her when asked.
My daughter likes to help me bake cakes, her favorite part is stirring the batter. Sometimes a little slops over but oh well, she will eventually get better at it especially if I don't berate her and continue to let her help me. I have found that with practice she is getting better at neatly adding ingredients and stirring.
Basically what I am saying is you cannot expect perfection from your children. It just isn't going to happen. They need to practice the skills you are teaching them and sometimes they will make mistakes. Don't get me wrong if they are being naughty then by all means take control and dish out the appropriate discipline, but if they are making mistakes because they are trying to learn then a little encouragement and patience will go a long way.
We also all want to teach our children to be independent and sometimes they are going to show their independence a little too strongly for our tastes. That is when you need to make the decision is this a battle I need to control or is it just not a big deal?
After all just because you are the parent and in control does not mean you have to "win" each time you and your child disagree.
Remember the parenting skills you are using now are the ones your children will probably use when they raise your grandchildren. You might also want to keep in mind that someday when you are older the roles may get reversed and your children will be the ones "in control" of you.