Do you live subjectively through your child?

Boy showing his mommy football the trophy won in the summer campNo life is disappointing. For some people, disappointment is a past disappointment or maybe a reason to try harder to achieve a different dream. Some parents, however, face the frustration of living out of school through their children.

Although many people have seen this phenomenon in sports games, beehives, and parent-teacher conferences, few researchers have studied it. A 2013 study was one of the first to give experimental evidence that parents are actually trying to redeem broken dreams through their children. Researchers have found that parents can feel pride in their children's achievements and even cure old wounds. When you get to the extremes, though, living through a child can harm both the child and the parent.

Signs that can live subjectively through your child

It can be difficult for parents to decide whether they are involved and support or persevering by pushing their children to fulfill their own broken dreams. Most parents encourage children to do things that parents enjoy. For example, parents who love reading can take their children to bookstores, while greedy gardeners can enjoy their time at the yard with children who love dirt. There is nothing wrong with this, as parents follow the child and let the children pursue their own interests.

Some signs that you can live through your child include:

  • Engage in your child's activities at the expense of your own well-being or hobbies. This behavior is sometimes called helicopter parents.
  • Forcing children to do things that they do not want to do is either redundant or does not offer extra benefits. For example, all children have to eat their vegetables and go to school, but there is no reason for the child to do a specific activity, such as football or the art camp.
  • Making decisions about your child's life because of your disappointments. For example, a parent can live an agent if he refuses to let a child stop basketball because the parent regrets the closure of the basketball.
  • Seeing your child's behavior and activities as a reflection of your own worth.
  • Ignoring the needs or interests of your child. For example, a parent can push his child to do art lessons when the child really wants to play baseball.
  • Punish a child for poor performance in extracurricular activities.
  • Strong emotions related to your child's athletic or academic performance.
  • Tell your child how to think and feel about specific hobbies or goals. For example, if a child insists that they hate baseball, a parent can say with grief to the child not feeling that way.

Because the work of the parents dreams of their children

Most parents want their children to have an excellent life. For many, this means encouraging children not to make the same mistakes they did. Many parents also feel pressure to give their children certain advantages or to comply with an unrealistic ideal of maternity. Parenting can be competitive, shameful and exhausted. When combined with a parent's sadness for his childhood, it's easy to understand why some parents plan dreams on their children.

Most parents do not intend to harm their children and they really think they are doing what is in the best interest of the child. It is important to look beyond your motives and consider the role your feelings and experiences could play in your parents' decisions.

For a small minority of parents, children can act as narcissistic offerings. These parents can use their children as a way to gain recognition or attention. This pattern of behavior dominates among people with narcissistic personality, although not all people who do it have NPD. If you use your child to feel good about yourself, you may be behaving narcissistically.

Because your children can not fill your dreams

Children are separate individuals from their parents. They inevitably develop different interests and dreams, even when sharing much in common with their parents. The effort to fulfill a dream through a child is inherently harmful because it ignores the individuality of the child. Boosting a child to a predetermined role can eliminate the child's unique gifts and interests, preventing the child from achieving his / her own dreams or realizing his / her own potential.

When parents try to meet their own needs, living out of school through their offspring, puts enormous pressure on the child and reverses the appropriate roles.In a healthy parent-child relationship, love and support flow from parent to child. An effort to fill emotional gaps through a child can cause a parent to ignore the needs of a child or not give the child the unconditional love and support that are characteristic of good parenting.

In its most extreme forms, living through a child can be a form of abuse. Parents can aggressively inspect a child in a role, ignoring the child's needs and feelings. Some parents even end up being physically or emotionally abusive in an effort to get their children to excel in certain activities. These parents can launch their children because they do not piano or offend the appearance of a child before a beauty event.

As children grow up and learn, their main task is to stand out from their parents and create a unique identity. Parents should help them do this by supporting children to pursue their own dreams. When parents are reluctant or incapable of doing so, children's emotional and spiritual development can be overlooked. This can make it difficult for children to succeed as adults, feel a sense of self-efficacy, or make decisions without the help of parents.

How treatment can help you live your life

"It is the work of the parent to do what is in the best interest of his / her children, including the parent who deals with his / her feelings in ways that best contribute to the healthy development of the child.When parents try to meet their own needs, living extra-schooling through their offspring puts tremendous pressure on the child and reverses the appropriate roles.In this scenario, the child is pressed to meet the needs of his parents, which is very detrimental to the proper development of the children In order to avoid this, parents are wise to seek psychological help in order to be able to process their feelings and unfulfilled needs with a professional instead of burdening their children with these feelings and needs, "says Johannes Kieding, LCSW, Tucson, Arizona, a psychotherapist.

Treatment can help both parents and children deal with the harmful consequences of extraterrestrial life. Family therapy can help families manage the conflicts arising from this harmful parenting style by giving children a voice, promoting effective communication and providing a safe place to discuss alternative parenting strategies.

Parents who feel compelled to live patiently through a child can also find great relief from individual therapy. A therapist can:

  • Help a parent mourn the loss of children's aspirations.
  • Support a parent to set new goals and find new ways to fulfill his dreams.
  • Offer a picture of parenting style and give feedback on whether a parent supports his child's dreams in a healthy way.
  • Troubleshoot identity issues. Some parents gain the only source of identity from their children. This can cause a cycle of guilt, shame, disappointment and dissatisfaction. A therapist can disrupt this cycle by encouraging parents to create separate identities.

A sympathetic therapist can help you live a life of purpose without pushing your dreams on your child.

Bibliographical references:

  1. Brummelman, E., Thomaes, S., Slagt, M., Overbeek, G., Castro, B. G., & Bushman, B. J. (2013). My child redeems my broken dreams: parents who carry their unfulfilled aspirations to their child. PLOS ONE, 8(6). Retrieved from
  2. Diagnostic criteria for 301.81 narcissistic personality disorder. (n.d.). Retrieved from

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