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Three Signs that you are Enabling Your Child instead of Supporting

How do you know if you are being supportive or enabling?

Your child is struggling remembering to bring the homework he worked so hard on to school.

Your daughter is feeling rejected after a break-up.

It may be your instinct to race the homework to the school like you're driving the ambulance

Or call your daughter's ex-boyfriend's mother and give her a piece of your mind

While it may feel like you are helping

  • Being an A+ parent

  • Supporting your child

But in your quest to be the best mom ever

You could actually be hindering their growth.

So, how can you tell if you're enabling your child?

Here are three signs to watch out for:

1. You Rescue Them Too Quickly

While it's natural to want to shield them from disappointment or failure, constantly swooping in to rescue them reinforces a sneaky idea that they are not capable of handling responsibility.

It could deprive them of a struggle that builds the strength they need to handle challenges in the future.

Instead, encourage them to problem-solve and find solutions independently.

How can I support them (instead of solve the problem for them)

How can I guide them (instead of directing them)

When you allow them to experience the natural consequences of their choices, it builds resilience and fosters a sense of accountability.

2. You Shield Them from Negative Emotions

It's painful to see our children upset or distressed.

We want to protect them from sadness, anger, or frustration at all costs.

However, shielding them from negative emotions deprives them of valuable learning opportunities.

For instance, if your child is upset because they didn't make the sports team, resist the urge to provide a "quick escape" from feeling uncomfortable.

Your child will need to know how to feel hard things

  • Failure in order to try new things that create success

  • Rejection or loss in order to love deeply

  • Inadequacy to achieve mastery

Instead of trying to talk them out of their feelings, validate their emotions and help them explore coping strategies.

You don't have to agree with them to validate the experience of HAVING emotions.

Try: Sometimes anxiety makes a tight feeling in my gut and shaky hands. Where do you feel it?

Instead of, "How can we get out of this feeling ASAP?"

Try: That sounds like a rough day. Mind if I sit here and feel sad with you?

Instead of, "You don't have to feel sad about that. She wasn't your friend anyway."

Remember...having feelings can't hurt you.

But knowing how to handle them is the key to achieving ANYTHING.

3. You Teach Them to Rely On Outside Validation

We want our kids to feel good about themselves.

It's easy to get into the habit of over-praising; training them to please others and using outside things to determine their worth.

It may sound like, "You are such a good boy! Look how clean your room is."

Or, "You are so smart for getting an A."

"You are so beautiful."

There is nothing wrong with compliments, but try these:

"I notice your toys are put away. How does that feel?"

"Tell me about your grade. What do you think about it?"

"What are some of your favorite parts about you?"

It encourages them to look inward for approval before looking outward.

  1. Make an observation (I notice you washed your shirt)

  2. Ask what they think or feel about it (How does that feel?)

As much as we want to nurture and shelter these children we are willing to jump in front of a bus for

And as good as it feels to be needed

It is important to strike a balance between support and empowerment.

By recognizing the signs of enabling behavior and fostering independence in our children, we empower them to navigate life's challenges with confidence and resilience.

We are preparing them to take on a world that is filled with some crazy, unpredictable stuff...and since we won't always be there to save them

We can teach them the skills to handle themselves and hard situations and hard emotions with confidence and independence.

Remember, when you care for yourself, you are better equipped to support and guide our loved ones effectively.

So take care of you too!

Allowing your kids to struggle could be one of the most loving things you do for them


Are you having a hard time managing hard emotions? Do you find yourself getting "leaky" (emotions coming out on others with no warning??)

I can help you find the three, simple things you can do to start doing that immediately. Just schedule a call by clicking below.

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