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5 Signs That You’re TOO Close To Your Child: Studio 5

You may be hurting your child and not even know it. Therapist, Julie Hanks, says parents, especially moms, unintentionally use their kids to meet their emotional needs. We have the warning signs.

  • All of these apply to all ages of children as well as adult children
  • In my practice, this is the most common unintentional way that parents hurt their children.
  • Children generally don’t even realize that this dynamic has contributed to their current distress.
  • In my clinical practice this is more common with mothers & children than fathers, but does happen with fathers.

CL Society 188: Child in the metro

1) Your child knows your secrets

Solution: Leave child out of details of your personal problems.


Child/teen knows can’t stand about husband.

Adult child knows that you’re hiding money from spouse.

2) Your child is your emotional sounding board

Solution: Share problems with peers or professionals


Complain to child or adult child about chronic health problems.

Venting feelings of anger toward ex-spouse to child.

3) Your child is your best or only friend

Solution: Develop and diversify peer relationships.


Young adult female client feels guilty for leaving mom, going off to college, moving out.

Teen feels guilty for going out on weekends “leaving” single mom at home.

4) You rely on your child for adult responsibilities

Solution: You manage the household, or ask other adults for help.


Your child acts as primary caregiver for younger siblings.

Adult child manages parent’s finances.

5) Your child is your primary source of comfort

Solution: Focus on comforting your child and seek comfort from adult peers or professionals.


Call and vent to adult child about depression but refuses counseling.

When distressed they call child and exclude your spouses.

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photo credit: francisco_osorio

About Dr. Julie Hanks, LCSW:
Dynamic self & relationship expert Dr. Julie de Azevedo Hanks, LCSW loves to make a difference for women. She owns Wasatch Family Therapy and regularly contributes to TV Shows and her advice has been featured nationally including Wall Street Journal, Parenting, Fox News, and others. Connect on Instagram, Facebook & Twitter. Her books The Burnout Cure and The Assertiveness Guide are now available. Dr. Hanks is currently accepting coaching clients.

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