If you are the parent of young children, enmeshed parenting is something that you may have heard about. The term enmeshed parenting refers to when one or both parents exhibit behaviors that cross boundaries and interfere with their child’s development. Enmeshed parents may overindulge a child, smother them with attention, tell them what they should do at all times, or become overly involved in their lives. These behaviors can lead to a variety of psychological issues for the child as they grow up. Here we will discuss some notorious aspects of enmeshed parenting so that if you suspect your own behavior falls on this spectrum, you can take steps to correct it before any long-lasting damage has been done.
Here are some common aspects that enmeshed parents may experience:
When enmeshed parenting becomes a problem, it is often shown in the form of overindulging children. This can come in many different forms such as giving them everything they want when they ask for it or buying them expensive toys and gifts because you feel guilty about not spending enough time with them. These actions can give children a sense of entitlement and make them feel as though they are more important than other people in their lives.
Enmeshed parents may also smother their children with attention. This can manifest as always being around when they need you, talking to them on the phone for hours every day, or constantly checking in on what they are doing. While it is important for parents to be there for their children, too much attention can actually have the opposite effect. Children need to learn how to handle themselves when their parents are not around or even when they are in public because enmeshed parents do not allow them the opportunity to become independent individuals who can manage on their own without supervision.
A third aspect is when enmeshed parenting results in interference with a child’s development. This can be seen through parents who don’t allow their children to make any decisions for themselves, such as what they eat or where they go to school. Also included in this category are enmeshed parents who try and control their child’s dating life, friendships, or even pick out a college for them to attend. All of these behaviors can prevent children from learning how to make good decisions on their own and take the necessary steps towards adulthood without help from their parents.
A final enmeshed parenting symptom is narcissism. Parents who are enmeshed can fall into this category because they put their own needs in front of the child’s, or even make decisions based on what will benefit them most rather than their children (such as when parents pick schools to send their kids to that are close to home). This can lead to children feeling unimportant and disregarded, which can have a lasting impact on their self-esteem as they grow older.
Enmeshed parenting can cause a number of issues for children. If you know that you have been exhibiting these behaviors, make sure to take steps towards correcting them so that your child has the best chance at healthy development and independence in adulthood.