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It’s natural and healthy for a parent to always want to help and protect their children. Most parents constantly show concern and interest in their children’s lives. But some parents take this too far and become so involved in children’s lives that it becomes an obsession. What is it called when a parent is obsessed with their child?
When parents are obsessed with their child, they are called overprotective parents or helicopter parents. Helicopter parents are extremely focused on their children, overseeing and controlling every aspect of children’s lives. This type of obsession can be harmful to both parents and their children.
What being obsessed with your child is called?
Being obsessed with your child often leads to a parent being called an overprotective helicopter parent. The reference to a helicopter comes from the action of hovering around and over your child. As a helicopter parent, you constantly seem to supervise every aspect of your child’s life.
Every parent needs to supervise their children to make sure they are staying safe. But when you start to become obsessed with your child, this supervision can become extreme. While most parents will watch from afar just to make sure their child isn’t in danger, helicopter parents don’t leave this space. They might be able to step back for a moment, but they quickly end up back near their child, asking for every detail of what the kid is doing. This leads to constant instruction from the parent towards the child about their every move.
Being obsessed with your child can make you very overprotective which can prevent your child from having normal experiences. You might find yourself saying no to them more often because you’re worried about all the dangers associated with different activities. Hovering around your child because of obsession can also impact their social development. Often this behaviour scares away other children and triggers a parent to not let their child participate in lots of children’s activities. It also increases the chances of a child being bullied by older kids because they notice the obsessive behaviour of the parent, finding it unusual.
A parent obsessed with their child will gain the title of helicopter parent which can create a divide between them, their child, and their community.
Can a parent be obsessed with their child?
There are instances where a parent can certainly be obsessed with their child. They become so involved in their children’s lives to the point that they neglect their own life. Parents obsessed with their child often start living their lives through their child. They can become involved with their children’s education, friendships, interests, and even romantic relationships.
When a child is young, they do need some extra care and protection. Focus and involvement can be harmless to an extent. But as the kid grows up, this obsession can interfere with their lives so much it affects their development. It can be hard to give your child the space they need to grow, but it’s important for them to be able to live independently when they’re older. Otherwise, obsessing over your child and loving your child too much can seriously impact their ability to fend for themselves later in life.
Can you be addicted to your child?
When parents become extremely involved in children’s lives, it’s possible for them to become addicted to their children. Their obsession reaches a point where their own interests and activities take a back seat. They can even put their own career goals on hold because they are completely distracted by their children’s lives.
This type of addiction can be harmful to both the parent and child. When their lives are over-supervised or over-scheduled (parents forcing their kids to engage in all types of extracurricular activities), children can feel suffocated. They do not get the chance or freedom to enjoy their childhood. They may also have issues with independence and autonomy. When you’re addicted to your child, you can take away chances for them to become street smart.
When a parent is obsessed with the child, they make all the decisions on the child’s behalf. So, the child is unable to solve their own problems or deal with challenges. This makes them unable to cope with life experiences.
When a parent’s main focus is on the child and doesn’t have any other interests, they’re more likely to suffer from anxiety and depression. Their obsession also causes problems with the relationship between the parent and child. This can result in resentment and lots of arguments as their kid gets older.
How do I stop obsessing over my child?
The first step to stop obsessing over your child is recognizing that there is an addiction to your child in place. Once you start to recognize the addiction, you will analyse your overprotective behaviour and overinvolvement in your child’s life. When you can see situations that you’re inserting yourself into, you can make a conscious effort to take a step back.
It’s hard to stop obsessing over a child because you can be addicted to their presence and life. Just like any other kind of love, it is an addiction that takes lots of effort to break. You can experience withdrawal while you try to let your child be more independent.
Focus on your own emotional needs and health. Try to think about what aspects of your life you have neglected in the past because of your addiction. Take up a new hobby or take time to pursue your career goals. When you make time for yourself, you will automatically stop trying to interfere with every aspect of your child’s life.
Breaking any obsession is difficult, and to stop obsessing over your child, it’s a good idea to talk to someone such as a licensed therapist.
When is a parent too attached to their child?
A parent can become too attached to their child when their life, work, and other relationships aren’t fulfilling. This is when they can look to their children for support and fulfilment for a more meaningful life.
These are the signs of a parent who is too attached to their child:
- Their child is their whole world.
- They make no time for themselves.
- They feel terribly alone when the child is not around.
- Their sense of worth is attached to the child.
- They are over-involved with the child’s life.
- They over-pamper the child in fear of rejection.
How do you deal with an overly attached parent?
Having an overly attached parent might feel suffocating and frustrating, especially when you are an adult. The simplest solution you can try first is to clearly communicate with your parent. Open and respectful communication is key to any relationship. Let your parent know how you feel when they interfere in your life and try to make your decisions for you. You can start to set clear boundaries through open communication.
Sometimes just pointing out overly attached behaviour can help bring awareness to it and get a parent to stop. Other times it can take a lot of communication and possibly some family counselling. This way both the child and parent can explain the way they think and feel and work towards a better relationship.
It’s important to work on parent-child relationships because you’re supposed to be main supporters of one another. But these relationships can be hard to navigate at times.
For more information, check out our other Vidar blogs including ‘is it common for mothers and daughters to not get along?’ You’ll find lots more life advice through Vidar Health and Lifestyle Australia!