Talking to your child may seem normal but it can get toxic (Photo: iStock)

Parenting is a journey that looks different depending on the type of household you were raised in. For some people, it was a strict upbringing and for others, there was more room for negotiation and open communication.

Of course, the goal as a parent should be to raise proper kids. But even with that, there should be boundaries because it’s easy to turn into a co-dependent parent.

A co-dependent parent describes someone who has an unhealthy attachment to their child. It might look like a pure expression of love but when you dig deeper, you will see that the root is anxiety and control.

This type of parenting can affect a child deeply and it shows that you need to work on yourself as an individual.

These five signs are an indication that it’s time to cut the cord and get the help you need:

Your child struggles to function independently

If you want to know whether you’re winning in parenting, look at your kids. For sure, everyone makes mistakes but, you have to be willing to correct those bad patterns.

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When a child has been so intertwined with their parent, they are more likely to struggle with decision-making and identity issues even in adulthood. That’s because they haven’t had a chance to become their own person.

You really have to be honest with the fact that you have strongly influenced this outcome and need to change.

 You want them to do things you were unable to do as a child (Photo: iStock)
You have been living your life through your child

It’s always a parent’s joy to have a mini version of themselves. It’s really exciting to have another human being who resembles you and has the same mannerisms.

However, this stops being cute when you take this literally and start pressuring your kids to be who you wanted to be in the past.

For you, it won’t matter if they don’t like playing basketball as much as you did because you want them to get the scholarships you missed years ago.

Accept that your children are independent individuals and that your role is to guide them, not force them to be you.

You secretly use your authority to manipulate

This is a common thing, especially in African households. We are taught that our parents are always a hundred per cent right, but that can’t be true because we all have our flaws.

If you’re a co-dependent parent, deep down you will know that you use your authority to get your kids to do what you want. You use tactics like shame and guilt to get them to behave a certain way and that definitely needs to stop. You know your kids will be forced to submit to your requests and that is toxic.

 Learn how to manage your emotions (Photo: iStock)
You haven’t set boundaries

Children should be allowed to enjoy their lives without being dragged into the details of their life. It’s harmful to their emotional wellbeing if they usually end up in the middle of your arguments with your spouse and when you burden them with your chaos all the time.

Admit that you’re using them because you usually expect them to take your side whenever you make them a part of your life’s conflicts.

You can’t manage your own emotions

The signs will also show based on how you handle your emotional life as an individual. If you’re someone whose identity and self-esteem are heavily connected to your children, you have to change.

You’ve been leaning on your kids as your main emotional support for a long time you don’t know how to detach and deal with your own personal problems.

You need to understand the root of your co-dependency and start the journey of healing.