UNATTENDED CHILDREN BECOME NEEDY ADULTS

By: Cecile Anthony-Bryan

I want kids to be loved, so they do not grow up to be emotionally needy, intrusive, manipulative, and/or confusing on his or her back-handed expression of approval. Genuinely caring parents help children feel safe, but emotionally indigent parents are capable of crippling their children. 

Naturally, there’s a difference between adults who need us as they grow older and adults whose need for involvement in the lives of others seem positively parasitic, putting their emotional being before those of their children and/or relationship. When it comes to children, forget about what you endured, break the cycle, and pay particular attention to expectations and boundaries. Make sure not to burden your children with adult problems, not to transform them into my “little friends.” Allow your child to be your friend, but remember your main job is to be their parent. Do not rely too heavily on their solace, their support, or tamper with their self-worth.

CHILDREN COMFORTING THEIR PARENTS

Allow your children to comfort you in times of need, but do not allow them to carry the burden of your worries. Children should not be put in the position of bearing the psychological stresses of their parents. Allow your child to be a child. As children start to grow, the realities of life sometimes do not do them any favors. Teach them what to expect and accept and protect them as much as possible. Do not allow your child to become a statistic because you do not know or do not want to be a parent. If it cannot be hidden, due to circumstances, show your child emotion (because you are human), but do not put the burden on them to fix it. Let them know that mommy or daddy is sad, but everything will be okay. Let them know that God is working it out. Show them and teach them faith, so they can grow and see the goodness of God. 

PARENTS EXPECTING THEIR CHILDREN TO RAISE THEM

Once you make that decision to bring a child into the world, it is at that moment that you have to get it together. It is no longer about you. Your needs and wants now get put on the back burner, and the only thing that should be on the front burden is whatever you are cooking up to be the best parent you can to your child. Easier said than most, especially if you do not have a strong faith and/or a strong support team. Unfortunately, not everyone can figure it out for themselves. It’s okay, but do not allow your child to suffer, because you hurt. Do not let your child feel neglected because things did not work out with the other parent. No one said parenting is easy as 1-2-3, but if you take it day-by-day, you will see it’s not that bad. Most have resources that, due to pride, they do not take advantage of or due to greed abuse it. Children should not be worried about if you ate, what time you are coming home, and/or how to help you because you are drunk. Children should be concerned about school, a happy home, a loving parent, and the love of God.

Most importantly, children should not be so focused on being the adult, that they do not know how to be a child. When it starts affecting their happiness, their schoolwork, their social life, and their sleep, it is time to ask me, “What Am I Doing?” Also, listen, there is nothing wrong either with giving your child to someone who can care for them temporarily or permanently or allowing them to spend time with the other parent. At the same time, you re-evaluate you and figure things out. Decisions like that have nothing to do with pride and/or being a bad parent; it has to do with doing what’s right for your child. Remove your child from the toxic living. 

THEIR NEED, YOUR NEED: WHO WINS?

When it comes to parenting and raising children, there should never be any comparison or competition. There are no such things as “may the best person win!” As adults, your children come first. No, if, and, or buts about it. In that instance, it should be about what is best for your child. Some adults suffer as children and want their children to suffer as well. Adulting is about breaking the cycle and doing better, so those coming after you do not have to struggle. If you chose not to be a parent when your child was a child, then there is levels and terms to parenting as they become an adult. You cannot allow your insecurities and downfalls to lay guilt on your child, because they are doing good and/or moving on (in a positive way) with their life. Be proud of your child without conditions. You cannot want your child’s marriage to fail because yours failed and/or because at the current time you may not be involved, and instead of being happy, you sit in misery and try to figure out why to come in between your child and their spouse. You have to be able to love unconditionally and be proud of the decisions your child is making, whether with or without you, and if it comes to the point where you feel yourself being toxic to others, then spoon feed them from a distance. Most importantly, if your child decides to marry, know that although their love for you is still there, as Proverbs 18-22 states, “When a man finds a wife, he finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord!” Allow your child to be the husband and/or wife they need to be to their spouse without it being an issue of “what about me?” 

With that being said, parents take time to love your children when they are children; then, there will be no issues of love when they become adults. Instill in them: Value, so they know worth; Self-Esteem, so they know security and self-love; Love, so they too can show love and be loved and Knowledge, so they can make their own mistakes and learn from them. Do not cripple them nor allow them to live a life of feeling responsible for you because you consistently play the victim. Give them a balance of assurance, affection, and attention, so they can grow to protect, profess, and provide. Allow them time in their own company, so they can grow up enjoying time alone and not grow up seeking others to fill spaces within that are not empty. Lastly, know that if you can look in a mirror and love the person looking back at you, then your child and others will love that person too.