The Needy Parent

In previous articles I have said that the marital relationship is the most important relationship in a family. [Blended families are a separate problem, because a parent’s loyalty and devotion to his or her children may be greater than it is for the new spouse.]

However, putting the marriage first does not give you permission to put your emotional needs before the needs of your children. If you do so, you will have problems. The following story illustrates clearly.

For fourteen years, I served as therapist and Program Director at a residential treatment center for teens. In addition to providing therapy to the kids, our staff gave free training workshops to their parents. During one workshop, the mother of one of our residents – statuesque and impressive looking, sporting long hair, facial piercings, and a skirt that came up to mid-thigh – said, “I don’t care what my daughter does, as long as she don’t give me no trouble.”

You see? Her primary interest as a mom was to not be bothered by her child. Her child’s need for well-being, direction and safety mattered less. No wonder the girl acted out.

Now, let’s take this into a slightly different direction. You may be aware that many women, poor in money and hope, turn to one thing that can make them feel good. That is, having a child that will love and admire them. A child that will fulfill the woman’s need to really ‘be’ a woman. This mother’s emotional needs will affect the parent-child relationship. Such a mother should consider the following questions.

Do you NEED your child to love you?
Do you NEED your child to obey you?
Do you NEED your child to admire and respect you?
Do you NEED your child to act, speak, and think like you?

The word “need” is what it’s about. The minute your parenting is based on your need, you have created a massive problem. The problem is that children are not equipped to take care of the emotional needs of adults. This is true for dads, as well as moms.

Parenting has nothing to do with what you need. A parent’s job is to raise children to live independently, to succeed, to be well-adjusted and to contribute to our larger society.

If you have wondered whether you have mistakenly placed your needs above your child’s, and you’d like correct the problem, please call for a free consultation. The number is 219-309-3928.

Thanks for reading!