Monday, January 23, 2012

How to raise a codependent child

Start with a child, any child will do, preferably your own but it doesn't have to be - it could be a grandchild, a nephew or niece, or even a kid from your scout group or Sunday school class.

Begin to finish his or her sentences for him - and interrupt him when he's trying to tell others something.

Insist on having your own way in the most minor of details, from what to eat for supper to how many popsicle sticks or toothpicks should be in his/her artwork.

Talk about him or her in the third person when he/she is right there.  Belittle or laugh at/ridicule him or her whenever possible.

Never mention his or her accomplishments to him/her, only to others - and in an embarrassing way in front of the child.  Example - Ah, little Jimmy is so great at playing the harmonica, you should hear him do the little teapot! Come on Jimmy, show everyone how you can do that. [ignore protests.]  No, right now.  I don't care if you're nervous, don't be a baby, just come over here and do it right NOW! (Notice how I combined this one with the previous two.  Mixing and matching is encouraged when growing a dysfunctional child.)

Make decisions for him/her that he/she could easily make.  Let your child know that you don't trust his/her judgment, that he/she is liable to mess things up if attempting something alone.  Then complain to him or her about how you never get any help.

Never praise or congratulate your child for a job well done.  Instead, compare his or her accomplishments with a super-achieving brother's, sister's, or cousin's.

Never thank your child for doing something without being asked.  Instead, criticize everything that's wrong with what he/she did.

If your child expresses an emotion - especially a "negative" one - tell him or her that it isn't right (or that it's sinful) and that the whole reason for the feeling is stupid.  Example :  "Well that's just ridiculous!  it was only a toy! she didn't mean to throw it across the room and break it! of COURSE you don't hate your sister! you LOVE your sister!  now come give your sweet sister a hug..."  

Sigh deeply in annoyance when your child asks you to do something for (or with) him/her.  Let your child know how much of a burden he/she is and how much you are putting yourself out to meet his/her needs.  

When you get angry, take it out on your child. Punish him or her harshly.  It will toughen him/her up and make resentment burn inside of him/her for years, maybe decades - the perfect breeding ground for codependence - and maybe even addiction.  

NEVER admit you are wrong to your child.  Always make him or her do the apologizing.

Most importantly, never tell your child that you love or are proud of him or her, even if you are - which is doubtful really, if you follow all the other guidelines above.  If he or she beats the odds and accomplishes something, and you must tell him or her, make sure that your words are meaningless by not backing them up with your actions, or by asking why that 97% wasn't a 100%.  Perfectionism and hypocrisy are two of the best tools for creating the kind of dysfunction in your children that will last for decades.

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