What lies beneath
By coddling we mean doing everything you can do as a parent to keep your child from feeling hurt, upset or disappointed. You know, giving them a trophy for finishing last, yadda, yadda, yadda.
Why do parents coddle their children? Why might you coddle your child?
Here’s one theory.
If you’re a parent who does coddle your children, you intellectually know it’s not good for their future especially when they will have to one day go out and deal with a world that doesn’t treat them that way.
Is it possible that you may engage in such counterproductive parenting because you remember when as a child and felt hurt, upset or disappointed that your parents weren’t so nice? In fact, they may have responded to you with criticism, ridicule or just plain ignored you.
And when they reacted in any of those ways, you not only felt more upset, you felt angry and on occasion even rageful. You may have acted on that anger, but more likely you kept a lid on it, because you were afraid that if you showed it to already critical or neglectful parents that they would become even more so.
Furthermore is it possible that knowing unconsciously how rageful you were capable of feeling towards your parents underneath your hurt, upset or disappointment, you project that on your child, imagine that is what is going on with them and then coddle them because you are trying to avoid their feeling rageful towards you?
In other words, are you coddling them to avoid their feeling hurt, upset or disappointed or to avoid them feeling enraged at you just as you felt towards your parents when they reacted poorly towards you?
If that’s true, that might explain why you coddle your child.
But here’s the deal.
Your parents not responding in an optimally empathic way when you felt hurt, upset or disappointed may have ticked you off, but it also contributed to making you stronger and better able to deal with whatever the world throws at you. It may even be something that you now appreciate.
However as long as you unconsciously don’t make the connection between your parents’ tough and even rough love towards you and your becoming stronger, it’s likely you’ll just remember it as something that made you angry at them.
And that might be what causes you to coddle your children because you want to avoid them feeling that towards you.
If you are coddling your children here’s something that might cause you to want to reconsider doing it.
Every time you coddle your child or protect them from feeling hurt, upset or disappointed or facing adversity or bail them out of from paying the consequences of their actions, there are literally at least ten million other children at the exact moment and the exact same age as your child who are not being coddled, who are facing and dealing with adversity and the consequences of their actions. Because of that those other children are becoming stronger, tougher, smarter and more resilient.
One day, one of those other children is going to grow up and become your child’s boss and fire your child.