By Audrey Sanchez of Two Dogs One Cat and a Baby
Are you tired of reading articles espousing the value of your child’s independence? Do you not want your child to play alone? Does the thought of going to the bathroom by yourself make you physically ill? Good news for you! There are ways to create a codependent child.
These strategies guarantee that in 18 or fewer years, you will have a child who never emotionally matures beyond toddlerhood. Follow this advice exactly to ensure your child will never grow up and abandon you.
1. Give In To Every Tantrum. Refuse to validate the emotion behind your child’s outbursts. Help them understand that while the emotion is not valid, their wants are. If they’re frustrated by the lack of candy in their life, do not, I repeat, DO NOT, help them understand that we don’t always get what we want. Instead, quickly and repeatedly shut down the emotion by shoving candy-coated chocolate into their mouth.
Give in every time. Regardless of how extravagant their desires become. Independence thrives on boundaries. Set none and you’re on the road to codependence.
2. Hypnotize Your Child. Warning: This strategy requires some effort on your part. Minimal effort, but effort nonetheless. After your child’s nightly sugar high has worn off and they crash on their bedroom floor like a rookie frat boy, ice-cream-stained clothing and all, gently lift them onto their bed. As you’re tucking them under the covers, lean in ever so slightly and whisper, “No one will ever love you as much as me. I’m the only person who can love you. I’m the only person worthy of your love. You’ll never find someone as good as me.”
Plant the seed by repeating this a few times every night throughout their childhood and harvest the reward as you watch every adult relationship they have crash and burn. Without fail. Forever. You’ll never be replaced.
3. Never Affirm Your Child’s Interests or Efforts. While constantly buying their love (see helpful tip #1) and subliminal messaging (tip #2) are encouraged, it is critically important that you never actually affirm your child’s interests or efforts. Make them believe that regardless of how hard they try, it will never be good enough for you. As other parents are giving high fives and hugs, you must stare at your child disapprovingly and/or shrug ambivalently. When they ask if you think they did a good job, respond with, “Do YOU think you did a good job?”
Soon, they’ll get the message they don’t deserve your praise until they’re perfect. Your child will forever work for that affirmation. Maybe even while living in your basement if you’re lucky.
4. Make Everything All About You. With the exception of giving your child every material possession for which they plead, make everything else all about you. Never share the spotlight with your child. Push them down the moment they start walking. Make a scene at your child’s first grade musical. Fill a party bus with your rowdiest friends and park it outside of your child’s prom. Play the martyr AT ALL COSTS.
Your child will develop a void so deep in their soul, you’ll be the only one capable of filling it. But you won’t. Because it’s not about them.
5. Withhold Affection. Perhaps the most difficult of all, you must withhold affection from your child if you’re truly committed to lifelong codependency. Soon after they’re born, you’ll experience the biological impulse to hold, hug, kiss, and nurture your child. Regardless of how unnatural it feels, fight that impulse. Holding, snuggling, or otherwise nurturing your child must be reserved for emergency-only situations. As in, you’ll be kicked off the flight to Paris if your baby doesn’t stop crying emergency.
Other than those rare moments of extreme desperation, it’s important that you maintain an icy, unapproachable demeanor when your child is present. A soft pat on the head, or a rare side-cheek kiss may be reserved for special occasions like Christmas morning. Any affection demonstrated more frequently than once or twice a year will result in your child believing they deserve unconditional love and affection. After all, it’s about you, not them.
About the Author
Audrey Sanchez is originally from a town in Kansas so small it has only one stop sign. Since then, she’s called Boulder, New Orleans, and most recently Kansas City home. Mother to toddler Ada, dogs Clyde and Fancy, and cat Hushpuppy, Audrey blogs about her interspecies parenting adventures at www.twodogsonecatandababy.com. In addition to the chaos that her many critters bring, Audrey spends her time laundering cloth diapers, getting ready to go but never really making it to the gym, and fantasizing about REM cycles.