Parents Who Love Too Much

A Parent Who Loves A Parent Who Loves Too Much
Gives time, attention, and affection to the child and provides for his/her emotional and physical needs. Enmeshes him/herself in the child's life and sees the child as an extension of him/herself.
Is determined to be the best parent s/he can be, while recognizing that it's impossible to be perfect. “Overparents” and overprotects the child in an effort to dispel anxiety over being a “good” parent or to make up for his/her own childhood.
Accepts that the child has strengths and weaknesses. S/he provides a nonjudgmental atmosphere in which self-esteem is fostered. Unconcsciously judges the child who can't live up to his/her rigid expectations. S/he does for the child, rather than with the child, fearing that the child will fail without her/his help.
Encourages independence and growth while setting appropriate limits, thus providing a safe environment for the child to explore and promoting his autonomy. Discourages the child's independence, seeks to control the child's thoughts, feelings, and actions, and unconsciously wishes to mold the child into the image of his/her highest expectations of him/herself.
Communicates with the child in a direct, open, and honest way, creating an atmosphere of safety and trust. Often creates insecurity and mistrust by communicating indirectly with the child, seeking, unconsciously, to manipulate or control.
Listens to the child and gives out of a desire to meet the child's emotional or material needs. Unconsciously gives to meet his/her own unmet desires and unfulfilled hope, with little regard to what the child truly needs.
Encourages the child's internal strengths and qualities. Is more concerned with externals and anxiously compares his/her child to others.

If you're a parent who loves too much:

  • Stop trying to be the perfect parent.
  • Learn to accept and validate yourself daily.
  • Reach out to others who can help.
  • Develop your own network of support and healthy interests.
  • Deactivate your automatic pilot, stop reacting.
  • Learn to let go of control.
  • If you are married, concentrate on developing a healthy marriage and family.
  • Stop giving in.
  • Uncover your unrealistic expectations.
  • Learn to communicate effectively.
  • Don't allow you child to exploit you.
  • Take one step at a time.

Excerpts from When Parents Love Love Too Much by Laurie Ashner & Mitch Meyerson