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You Are Not Your Child’s Best Friend

A problem I see frequently in my practice in my adult clients is the result of a parent befriending their child. If you befriend your child you place upon them the burden of giving up their childhood. Connie loved her five year old daughter, Jennifer, very much. Unfortunately for both Connie and Jennifer Connie’s husband, Jennifer’s father was verbally abusive. So that Jennifer would have a father in the same home Connie stayed with her husband but withdrew from him. As a result Connie felt lonely and isolated. She felt she had no one to talk to about her heartache so she turned to little Jennifer. She would her and cry and tell Jennifer how unhappy she was and how mean Daddy was. As the years passed Connie made Jennifer her confidant and best friend. By the time Jennifer was an adult she felt so responsible for her mother’s happiness, or in this case unhappiness, that she had no identity of her own. Jennifer was lost to herself and felt her role in life was to help other people and make them feel better at the expense of her own needs. For Jennifer to become a happy adult she had to go through the heart breaking process of separating emotionally from her mother so she could find herself. Remember, you child deserves a childhood. This means that sometimes you have to find other ways to deal with your emotional issues and allow your child to feel and act like a child.

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