Parents want what is best for their children. If a mother and father do their best to raise their child, offering strong guidance and attentive parenting, then it is a job well done. However, letting go of that parental authority can be a challenge, particularly when the child grows into a young adult. All loving parents will have difficulty letting go and may still treat a grown adult as if they were “their little baby.”

However, this natural parental love can evolve into something more harmful if it becomes codependence. Codependence is defined as excessive caring, to the point that it becomes inappropriate—highly discomforting to the child and self-destructive for the parent. Symptoms of this inappropriate style of caring may include controlling behavior, distrustfulness and discouraging any independent thought. Some extreme cases of codependency can include emotionally or physically debilitating the subject so that he or she is unable to operate without the self-appointed caretaker’s help. On the other hand, codependent enablers play the submissive role, making excuses for a self-destructive subject and ignoring their own feelings.

Either case of codependency can be a harmful one. However, when codependent parents are involved it’s a particularly delicate situation. A codependent parent may want what is best for their grown children and yet may be stifling their son or daughter’s freedom to live independently. Codependent mothers may have trouble adjusting to new home arrangements (such as a child leaving the home). Codependent mothers who were at one time single mothers raising children may have an especially hard time backing away from a grown child’s life.

It is important to note that there is certainly no problem with a family that loves one another. This is the basis for strong family units, regardless of age. However, a codependent family situation may be very painful for a young child or grown child who would like more freedom. For more information on codependency issues and family visit

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Claudine Struck "The Mind, Body, Spirit Expert" author of "How to Stay Sane When Life Isn't." If you are ready to make you a priority, cultivate healthy relationships and live a more sane, happier life then this inspirational and unique approach to integrating mind, body spirit is for you. Get free tips now at