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Addicted to Our Children (Adapted From an Online Discussion) by Fern Weis, Parent Coach

Updated: Mar 16, 2023

Addicted to Our Children (Adapted From an Online Discussion) by Fern Weis, Parent Coach, Bergen County Moms

A mom is intensely focused on the adult child from a second marriage, analyzing every interaction, every response. This child is self-centered, uncooperative, and critical.

No matter what mom does or says, it's wrong. She's overwhelmed with worry and self-doubt, trying to understand the incomprehensible thought process of this person.

She's in a state of emotional flooding (see my previous post) and feeling helpless to change anything about the situation.

Sometimes our kids can be like an addiction for us. I know. I was once that parent. Here's my response to this mom. "It doesn't matter how your step-daughter) sees it. It's your job to step away from the drama and redirect yourself to health, to joy, to satisfying days and thoughts. She is completely out of your control (and out of control herself). You are allowed to find contentment and even joy, regardless of what she does or doesn't do. When I was going through difficulties with my kids, it was a revelation to me that I could be happy, that I could choose to change my thoughts. I didn't know that was possible, it had never crossed my mind. But I was so miserable and consumed by their struggles that I grabbed this 'permission' like a life preserver. It changed my life." Getting involved isn't always the right answer. Strive to recognize when it's not and remind yourself that you can have times of contentment, even when your children are flailing. It's okay to laugh, to talk about other things, to choose another focus of attention. I promise.

* Does any of this feel familiar? Would it be of value to get support? Email me at Let's talk.

Fern Weis is a certified life coach who learned that caring and good intentions are not enough in parenting. In fact, they are often the problem! Fern supports parents of teens and young adults who are going through difficult situations, including addiction recovery. She helps parents release guilt, end enabling and confidently prepare their children to thrive through life's challenges. Her articles are featured in Thrive Global, Medium, Motherly, The Teen Mentor, and Bergen County Moms.

Learn more about coaching and classes at And then download your free guide, "Five Powerful Steps to Get Your Teen to Talk." For information on Family Recovery programs, visit


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