How Being a Codependent Parent Can Hurt Your Addicted Child
The love that you have for your child is often unparalleled to any other form of love that you have ever experienced. However, when your love takes the form of codependent behavior, you are not only negatively impacting yourself, but your child as well.
Codependency can be extremely dangerous, as it forces reliance on another person rather than on yourself. Many parents who experience codependency do so as a result of their child’s illness or addiction.
Negative Effects of Codependency on Your Child
When your child has a drug or alcohol addiction, you might not know how to give them the life you always dreamed for them. You try to do what your parental instincts tell you to instead.
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Oftentimes, however, listening to this instinct can cause you to enable your child’s addiction rather than help them get sober through needed addiction treatment. Some of the many examples of how this codependency can cause negative effects that enable your child’s drug or alcohol addiction include the following:
- Making excuses. When your child is an addict, they are likely to make life-altering mistakes while under the influence. When you make excuses and try to cover for your child’s behaviors, you are preventing them from reaping the negative consequences of their actions, teaching them that they can use without suffering any personal side effects.
- Financial assistance. One of the most common mistakes that codependent parents make is providing financial assistance to their child. You may feel that by giving your child money to buy drugs or alcohol that you are stopping them from either stealing or engaging in dangerous activities that they can make a profit from. While you are doing just that, you are also sending your child the message that their addiction is acceptable to you, pushing them farther away from getting needed addiction treatment.
- Standing down. Your child is likely to go through emotional mood swings that can result in poor behavior such as violence, aggression, and recklessness. If you choose to look away from these unacceptable behaviors by either walking away from the confrontation or not providing consequence to their actions, you are continually enabling them to act in that type of manner. You might feel the need to stand down to your child in fear that they will desert you or do something to harm themselves, which is a major sign of codependency.
Codependency is just like an addiction, as you might constantly feel the need to feed your codependent needs with your child by doing things such as giving them money, covering for their mistakes, and standing down in fear of losing them.
Codependency Treatment for You
If you are struggling with codependent behaviors that are enabling your child to continue in their drug or alcohol addiction, then finding codependency treatment for yourself can be an excellent option.
In treatment for codependency, you can learn how to cope with your impulses to please your child, as well as begin working on new ways to show your child love without encouraging their addiction. Once you put an end to your own codependent behaviors, you will be in a better position to help your child getting needed addiction treatment.
Since 2004, Lori has worked with the behavioral health treatment community to bring awareness about mental health disorders and evidence-based treatments. Lori strives to help people better understand mental illness and provide support to those needing help and their families. As a mental health advocate, Lori works to be a voice for those suffering from substance abuse, dual diagnosis, borderline personality disorder, depression, anxiety, trauma, or any other disorder.