Breaking Free from the Parent-Child Dynamic in Your Relationship

Dr. Liz 💖Connection Coach💖
2 min readMay 20, 2024

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Feeling like you’re raising another child instead of being in an equal partnership is a common issue many couples face.

This dynamic can lead to resentment and strain your relationship. As a seasoned relationship coach and therapist, I’ve seen how addressing this issue can transform relationships. Here’s how you can break free from the parent-child dynamic.

Understanding the Parent-Child Dynamic:

One partner takes on most responsibilities in this dynamic while the other remains passive or dependent. This imbalance often leads to frequent arguments about chores and responsibilities, making one partner feel like the only responsible adult.

Why It Happens:

Psychological Factors:

Childhood influences and learned behaviors can shape our roles in a relationship. Familiar roles can feel comfortable but may need to be balanced.

Behavioral Factors:

Lack of communication, established roles, and avoiding conflict or responsibility can perpetuate this dynamic.

Impact on the Relationship:

The parent-child dynamic can emotionally and psychologically toll both partners. Common feelings include being overwhelmed, undervalued, and frustrated. Over time, this dynamic can erode romantic feelings, intimacy, and emotional connection, leading to silent frustrations and explosive arguments.

Strategies to Rebalance the Relationship:

  1. Effective Communication:
  • Use ‘I’ statements to express feelings without blame.
  • Regular check-ins to discuss responsibilities and feelings are crucial.

2. Setting Boundaries and Responsibilities:

  • Divide household duties and responsibilities.
  • Use a shared calendar or task list to ensure both partners are on the same page.

3. Rebuilding Trust and Mutual Respect:

  • Acknowledge and appreciate each other’s efforts, even small ones.
  • Schedule quality time together to reconnect and strengthen your bond.

Where to Go From Here to Overcome the Parent-Child Dynamic:

Shifting from a parent-child dynamic to a balanced partnership requires open communication, clear boundaries, and mutual appreciation. Implementing these strategies can transform your relationship and move from frustration to connection.

For more insights and tips on building a healthy, happy relationship, subscribe to my YouTube channel, Dr. Liz Jenkins.

Let’s work together to create the partnership you deserve.

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Dr. Liz 💖Connection Coach💖

💖Dr Liz Jenkins 💖Connection Coach | Helping couples repair + reconnect with Couples Smart Restart™ 💕 75k hrs of exp | 35 yrs married | LMFT + Cert Coach