Dealing With Needy Parents
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Parents have to look after the needs of their children. Especially when they are young. But what happens when the roles swap? What happens when parents become the ‘needy’ ones in the family? Have you seen children taking up the emotional and financial responsibilities of their parents? It is not uncommon to find elder children of the house being parentified at an early age. Parentification is when the children have to take up roles as parents. Often they are the ones who are providing for their younger siblings and parents both. In this article, we will discuss what it is like to live with needy parents. We talk about dealing with needy parents, especially needy mothers.
In this article, we discover signs of a needy parent, and how it affects the children. Further, we understand how to deal with needy parents and how to heal if one has suffered from the effects.
There are many reasons why your parents can become needy. Sometimes, it is due to old age. In many cases, factors such as mental illness can make them needy. There is a possibility that the parent had a narcissistic or borderline personality. In other cases, mental disorders like depression can make them needy. Old age can make parents needy and dependent.
Having an emotionally needy parent does not mean that they are abusive. However, they might end up putting a lot of stress on the child. They may sometimes hurt the child by not expecting a lot from the child. When parents get old and become needy, they might even make their children feel guilty for not paying attention to them.
Signs of a Needy Parent or Needy Mother
Here are some signs of a needy parent or needy mother.
- A needy parent will share all the details of their emotional state with their child. It is normal to share how one feels with someone, however, a needy parent will burden the child with their emotional demands. Additionally, a needy parent or needy mother will not like it if the child grows emotionally close to someone else.
- A needy parent or mother will want to spend all the time with the child. They will not like it if the child goes away for some reason.
- A needy parent will consider it the child’s responsibility to provide for their emotional, physical, and financial needs.
- A needy parent or mother will be emotionally manipulative and will influence the child’s decision. They will also pick up unnecessary fights on minor issues.
Effects on Children
You Become the HealerWanting to fix things is great, but if you have been parentified, you have this tendency to fix everything. Sometimes, it is not possible to heal everything. However, you feel guilty if you are unable to fix things. You may feel responsible for everyone’s emotions. This is because, as a child, you felt responsible to meet your parent’s needs. If you can relate, it’s crucial to remember that you are not responsible for the feelings of other people. It’s not your responsibility to continuously infer what someone else might be feeling.
You Are Always Saying SorryOften when the child cannot meet the parent’s demands, they say sorry a lot of times. They apologize to avoid conflict. This behavior can be seen in other relations too. For instance, whenever the parentified person argues with their loved ones, they are the ones to say sorry first. This is the case even when they are not at fault.
Difficulty in Setting BoundariesWhen parents don’t set appropriate boundaries, children can struggle with boundaries in their life too. Saying ‘no’ can become difficult for them. It is also difficult for them to assert themselves in many places. This happens because they are so used to saying yes to the needs of their parents.
Parent Mode Is Always OnWhen dealing with a needy parent, you may always have a ‘parent’ mode on. Even when you are having fun with your friends, you are the mother of the group. This can be the cause of you not being able to have fun or let your inner child come out. This can also make you always be on your toes, watching out for your loved ones.
Disregarding Your FeelingsIf your parent was too needy, you might have grown up with the idea that your feelings don’t matter as much as other people’s feelings. Your mind may make emotions and feelings seem unsafe, especially if you believe that expressing them will cause people to leave.
Dealing with a Needy Parent/Mother
Assess ResponsibilitiesIf you are dealing with a needy parent or a needy mother, you will notice that you are doing your part of the job. It is important to understand the roles of a parent versus the roles of a child. As a child, it is important to look after your parents. However, it is not your duty to fulfill all of their emotional needs.
If your parents are becoming needy due to failing health, you can ask for help from your siblings or relatives. You can divide the responsibilities so that you don’t have to feel pressured to take responsibility.