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Things Parents Do Unconsciously That Make Their Kids Become Codependent

Things Parents Do Unconsciously That Make Their Kids Become Codependent

How many parents do you know who proudly boast, “I do everything for my children?” Or perhaps you are guilty of this?

If your children don’t clean their room, do you automatically clean it for them?

Do you sit with them and more or less do their homework for them? Or do you allow them to do it by themselves and come to you only if they have questions?

Do they have any responsibilities at home such as mowing the lawn or helping to clear away the dishes after dinner? Or do they have no chores at home?

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Most parents want their kids to have all that they didn’t have as children and as a result, over-function. Yet this is creating a generation who will not grasp basic responsibilities–something that will ultimately affect them in the future.

Are you teaching children codependency or independence?

A lot of parents will become guilty of over-functioning [1] and unknowingly, teach their offspring codependency. Parents often excuse this behavior by either saying they do the tasks better or faster than the child, or that they are being good parents by “doing everything”. As a result, children are being taught learned helplessness.

Here are some common examples of what codependency in children can look like:

  • Having to remind your children to do their homework every day.
  • It’s become normal for your 10-year-old to sit and watch television, while you fetch nibbles and drinks whenever he or she wants.
  • Your children never clean their room because they know that you will do it.
  • Finishing their homework or school projects.
  • Your kids leave their plate and cutlery at the table for you to clean up after they have eaten.

Completing their homework will ensure that they do not get into trouble and will help them in the short-term. But your children will not learn the consequences of not doing the things they need to do. They need to develop important life skills such as time management, responsibility, and self-discipline.

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By promoting learned helplessness, they could end up becoming adults who are incapable of doing normal things for themselves. How many adults do you know who are content to leave dishes unwashed for days or who never make their bed? Do you know anyone whose mother still makes their doctor’s appointments or does their laundry?

How to reverse the codependency [2]

Consider all the things that you do for your children that they are old enough and capable enough to do for themselves. Know that it does not make you a bad parent to teach them responsibilities and reverse the pattern of learned helplessness.

If you are busy and your 12-year-old asks you to make a sandwich, could he or she start making sandwiches at this age?

Always reserve some time for yourself

Do you find that you are always tired and that you have little time for yourself? This could be another sign that you are doing far too much for your child.

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Try to allocate yourself some “me” time every day–even if it is fifteen minutes. Don’t say you do not have the time–make the time. If you spend fifteen minutes stacking the dishwasher and cleaning the kitchen after dinner, this is a chore that your children should be able to help with (if they are old enough).

Warn them so that it won’t be a shock to them

If you went from doing everything for your children to suddenly expecting them to do more, it could come as a shock to them. Let them know beforehand that you want them to have more responsibilities.

Prepare for resistance for the new change. This could verge from tantrums or making you feel guilty. Remember, it may be uncomfortable for you in the short term, but it will serve them well in the long term. Be strong and firm.

Be less available and let them learn about the consequences

Your child needs to learn about the consequences of their actions (or lack of)–even if it gets them into trouble.

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Do you have to take your children’s gym clothes to them every week because they always forget it at home? The next time they do it, don’t be so available to driving to their school with it. They may get into trouble and may get detention, but then they are more likely to remember to take it the week after this.

Prepare to hurt

It is normal to feel hurt or worry that you are being a bad parent by not being as over-functioning, especially if your child is struggling with these new tasks. It would be tempting to give in and want to “rescue” them. But stand your ground and have faith that you are being the best parent that you can be.

Breaking the codependency could be your greatest gift to your children. In the long-term, it will help them to be high-functioning and responsible adults.

Reference

More by this author

J.S. von Dacre

Writer at Lifehack

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Published on November 28, 2018

How to Do Meditation at Home to Calm Your Anxious Mind

How to Do Meditation at Home to Calm Your Anxious Mind

The woman in yoga pants sitting in a lotus position atop a rocky cliff, overlooking a valley draped in fog — this is the glamorized version of meditation you’ll come across as you search. Yet if you’re seeking meditation to calm your mind, a fantastic setting with no distractions is rarely available.

So how to do meditation?

The truth about meditation is it’s an everyday practice for anybody. You could be a mountain climber or you could be an accountant — either way, your home is just as good a place for meditation as any.

Are you seeking to corral your racing thoughts and relieve a sense of unease, awkwardness, or uncertainty? Look to home meditation to cultivate a laid-back, creative, confident, and organized frame of mind. According to extensive scientific research, meditation relieves stress and anxiety, decreases blood pressure, improves sleep, and improves your ability to pay attention. [1]

From start to finish, this article will give you quick, easy steps to follow so that you can meditate at home regularly. You’ll begin by assessing, identifying and altering things that need to change in your home environment. You’ll end by understanding the basics of meditation so that you can let yourself do what you already know how to do deep down in the hidden reality of your mind.

You’re ready to let your mind be, and just be, in your own home — let’s begin.

1. Find the Right Space in Your Home

Where is your right space for meditation at home? Is it in your basement, your bedroom, your living room, or your study?

The right space will be one with the least distractions built in to its purpose. In that case, it may be your bedroom. If you’ve set up your bedroom to be a place for sleep and only sleep, it will lend itself well to meditation.

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The right space will also be a reasonably spacious one. Although comfort is not your goal, you need room to sit. Choose a space that is private, spacious, and quiet. If you don’t have a space in your home like this, create one. Free it from clutter and get it ready for you to meditate there any time.

Ultimately, your right space is one you feel comfortable meditating in, the space you can enter with no other expectations.

2. Improve the Feng Shui in Your Home and Meditation Space

Feng shui means “wind and water.” It’s the ancient Chinese art of placement.[2]

Feng shui improves harmony with nature. Adherents to the principles of feng shui believe all things have energy (chi). The focus of feng shui is to send negative chi (sha) out of the space and attract positive chi (yun).

Here’s the truth about feng shui: it’s not complicated or hard. The following will influence feng shui positively in your home and meditation space:

  • Living things, such as plants
  • Beautiful objects, such as sculptures or even a well-polished piece of driftwood
  • Mirrors in symmetrical placement with the lines in a room
  • Mellifluous sounds, such as trickling water or wind chimes
  • Furniture away from walls
  • A centerpiece, such as a small table with books or an ornate lamp on it
  • Incense or something else that smells good
  • A lack of clutter and an attention to organization that emphasizes the usefulness, purpose, and essential being of each item in your house

Given that feng shui is connected to Taoism and Buddhism, it will complement the meditative atmosphere you want to cultivate in your home.

3. Eliminate Pervasive Distractions That Can Harm Your Wellbeing

In part, meditation is about accepting the existence of distractions. When you meditate, you don’t judge and assign a positive or a negative value to distractions — the ticking of a clock, an itch, the barking of a dog — you let them occur and let them dissipate like waves.

However, in the same way that feng shui removes objects that attract negative chi, there are certain types of distractions that don’t belong in your meditative space. You must remove them.

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In a survey of 1,700 people who visited social media sites at least 30 times per week, 30 percent reported high levels of sleep disturbance and 25 percent presented symptoms of depression. [3]

Those individuals who experience sleep disturbances or mental health issues due to social media are not setting boundaries between themselves and their connected devices.

Part of learning how to meditate at home is learning how and when to set boundaries between yourself and your connected devices and social media accounts. If you need your phone for a timed meditation practice, but you normally receive social media notifications on your phone, set it on Do Not Disturb or Airplane mode during your meditation time.

4. Flow into Meditation Through Time

Next, set aside a time for meditation each day. It’s right to be structured and disciplined about your meditation time.

Buddhist monks whose lives revolve around meditation are very structured and organized with their tasks each day. Structure provides the balance your being needs. Once you are meditating, your mind has no need for time. Outside of your given meditation time, you are completing tasks essential to the wellbeing of yourself and your home.

Consider meditating as the sun rises. This is a quiet and contemplative time of the day when it is natural to set your day’s balance through meditation.

5. Recognize the Rightness of Doing Nothing

At home, you’re probably used to always doing something. When you do meditation at home, you are being, which is doing something and nothing simultaneously.

Maryville University points out that successful people unplug by doing nothing. [4] Not only this, but they set the right expectations for the time during which they will do nothing.

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We oftentimes look forward to the future by expecting something to happen and by expecting something of ourselves. To meditate from home, look to that time and that space by expecting nothing. You will not do any chores. You will not catch up on work. You will do nothing but meditate for a certain amount of time each day.

This might sound crazy, but in taking on meditation from home, you’re not expecting yourself to improve and become a better person. As Ram Dass put it, you are expecting yourself to be here now.

6. Choose from the Incredible Variety of Meditative Practices

As I outlined in my post on types of meditation, there are many different and not-so-different types of meditation from which to choose.

Many beginners find it right to choose guided meditation, for which there are apps, videos, and audio tapes available.

If you are not necessarily a beginner but are merely moving your meditative practice into the home, you can facilitate a practice such as Nada Yoga — sound meditation — by placing a fountain in your space or listening to ambient alpha wave music.

If you’re used to meditating outside of your home — perhaps you are drawn to the outdoors because of the sounds of nature — a practice like Nada Yoga can help you transition into your home space.

7. Understand You Can Meditate Any Time at Home

What if I told you to throw out all of the tips that came before this? Sounds crazy but that is how radical mindfulness meditation really is. We don’t think of it as radical because it is now ingrained in our popular discourse.

Mindfulness meditation does start as a sitting meditation practice. It goes like this:

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  1. Sit comfortably and close your eyes.
  2. Focus on breathing. Inhale through your nose slowly and exhale slowly.
  3. As distracting thoughts arise, don’t judge them and don’t hang onto them. Let each thought go as you focus on breathing.
  4. Treat all physical sensations and feelings in the same way you do thoughts: register them, then let them go, returning to breathing.
  5. Extend this practice to everyday activity, remaining “in the moment” of the body’s activity with each new breath.

As you practice mindfulness around your home, note the physical characteristics of the things in themselves. Note physical sensations: sounds, smells, textures, appearances, tastes. Stop now and then and do a body scan from head to toe, noting what each section is doing and how it’s feeling.

Note thoughts that come and the emotions attached to them: let them go. Concentrate on the breath and the physical activities — including the details of the objects with which you’re interacting.

You’ll notice that your home will lend itself to a meditative state when things are in order. This is where true feng shui originates. You will naturally sense how the arrangement of things affects the energy in a room.

Clutter will disappear because mindfulness tells you to dispose of unnecessary things. Plants will bloom. Birds will make their nests in your backyard. Your home will smell pleasing and people will naturally be attracted to it and your presence.

You’ve Reached the Beginning and the End

Once you are able to do mindfulness meditation even as you are attending to the normal and abnormal requirements of your home, the mundane and the unusual, you are at both the beginning and the end.

You are at the beginning because meditation never ends. Continue setting aside time each day to do sitting meditation in the space you’ve set aside. Continue practicing mindfulness as you attend to the energy of your house, your own energy, and the energy of those around you.

You are at the end because you grasped what it means to do meditation at home: it means letting go of cares and concerns and being in your home as you attend to the right tasks. The right tasks are those necessary for being in your home.

As you sit in your home, rise, open the door and you leave, you are calm in your mind because you are home.

Featured photo credit: Simon Rae via unsplash.com

Reference

[1]Healthline: 12 Science-Based Benefits of Meditation
[2]Marquette University: Feng Shui: The Wind and Water
[3]Rutgers University: Social Media and Well-Being
[4]Maryville University: How Successful People Unplug

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