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What to do if your parents treat you like a child
What to do if your parents treat you like a child

For mom and dad, we are always small. But sometimes this behavior goes beyond and starts to cause discomfort.

What to do if your parents treat you like a child
What to do if your parents treat you like a child

This article is part of the One-on-One Project. In it we talk about relationships with ourselves and others. If the topic is close to you, share your story or opinion in the comments. Will wait!

"You better not date this guy." "Take off that sweater, green doesn't suit you." "Call your aunt Lyuba, I agreed, she will take you to work." It seems that such phrases can be addressed to a child or teenager, but sometimes adults also hear them. Parents do not seem to notice that they are already an adult, and continue to educate and point out. We figure out why this is happening and how it can be influenced.

Why do parents behave this way?

1. They have not yet come to terms with the fact that you have grown

It can be difficult to let the child go and accept that they are completely independent and have the right to do whatever they want without parental advice. Fears that a son or daughter might get into trouble triggers anxiety and a desire to take care.

If there is one or two children in a family, their parents, more than those with many children, risk facing the empty nest syndrome. It is a feeling of deep sadness, loneliness and fear that occurs when children grow up and move out of the house. To cope with the discomfort, some continue to intensely care for the already adult person, as if he were still small.

2. You haven't really grown

Rather, you are 18 years old, but you behave like a teenager. You cannot fully take care of yourself, make impulsive decisions, shoot money from your parents, in conflicts you take the position of a capricious child, not an adult.

Dr. Sue Kolod, a member of the American Association of Psychotherapists, says infantile behavior and childish social attitudes encourage parents to treat their adult child like a small child. The specialist calls this situation regression. Mom and Dad try to patronize you, it reminds you of the past, and you fall into the state of a rebellious teenager who fiercely defends his independence. You tell your parents: "I can take care of myself, I am not little anymore!" And for them, this becomes a signal that you have not yet matured, so you need to interact with you accordingly.

Relationship with Parents: Provide Real Proof That You Are Already an Adult
Relationship with Parents: Provide Real Proof That You Are Already an Adult

3. You have an unhealthy relationship

It may well be that this behavior of parents is not a manifestation of care, but psychological abuse disguised as it. Abusers can be not only partners. Mom and Dad sometimes manipulate in the same way, bully, devalue, undermine self-confidence, try to instill helplessness, limit the child's communication with the world, and bind him more tightly.

Abuse is based on codependent relationships. People, including adult children and their parents, fall into the so-called Karpman triangle: they take turns trying on the roles of the persecutor, victim and savior. As a result, they find themselves in a vicious circle, from which it is extremely difficult to escape on their own.

How to respond to inappropriate parental care

Here are some tips from psychologists.

1. Try to behave like an adult

Take care of yourself, learn to plan and make money, do not shift your problems and responsibilities onto your parents without a clear need. Feel free to offer help yourself - not necessarily financial. Tell me where it is better to order groceries at home, help choose a vacation voucher or a dishwasher, take part in cleaning or repairing. This will show mom and dad that you are an independent and responsible person, which means that in communicating with you, you can “let go of the reins” a little.

2. Remain calm during conflicts

Before stomping your feet and yelling that you are an adult, remind yourself that adults do not behave this way. They know how to defend their interests and personal boundaries without screaming.

Relationship with parents: defend your interests without aggression
Relationship with parents: defend your interests without aggression

Listen carefully to what the parents are saying, try to understand their position, figure out what motives and feelings are behind it, and not take it immediately with hostility. Voice your emotions and thoughts calmly, using self-messages and trying to avoid accusations.

3. Show your progress

Frequently share proof of your "adulthood" and independence with your parents. Tell us if you are appreciated at work and your salary has been raised. Let me know if you want to buy a car or take out a mortgage and have already started saving money for it. Talk about your hobbies, how you spend your time, take care of your health, plan your life, and solve problems. This will help those close to you to make sure they don't need to look after you anymore.

4. Help your parents find something to do

One way to cope with the empty nest syndrome, which can cause irrepressible concern, is to find new hobbies, set new goals. You can gently direct mom and dad in this direction - of course, with attention to their interests and needs.

Has Mom always been attracted to art? Give her a ticket to an art museum or some drawing lessons. Dad would like to have a better understanding of psychology? Look for good courses, books, training programs with him. Or maybe your parents dreamed of having a dog or traveling more? This is an excuse to give them a puppy and help them create an interesting route.

5. Keep your distance

If family relationships are not very healthy, and talking, asking, and other measures do not help you change the situation, it is better to limit interaction with your parents. Start living separately, if you have not moved out yet, meet less often, communicate by phone.

6. Get help

You may find yourself stuck in a toxic relationship, making it difficult for you to assert your boundaries, defend yourself, and separate. In this case, it is worth contacting a psychotherapist, and as soon as possible. He will help you sort out the problems.