Do you feel drained and tired after spending small amounts of time with your child? Here’s how to cope with children who are energy vampires…
First, a quip about energy from Magic Johnson:
“If people around you aren’t going anywhere, if their dreams are no bigger than hanging out on the corner, or if they’re dragging you down, get rid of them,” said Magic. “Negative people can sap your energy so fast, and they can take your dreams from you, too.”
You can’t just get rid of negative people or energy vampires when they’re your own children, but you can learn to protect yourself. For more info on dealing with energy vampires, read Energy Vampires: A Practical Guide for Psychic Self-Protection by Dorothy Harbour.
And, read on for tips on coping with children who are energy vampires.
Tips for Coping With Children Who Are Energy Vampires
I wrote an article called How Energy Vampires Drain Your Spirit for my Psychology Suite101 site – and it includes 11 ways to protect yourself from negative influences. Read the article to learn exactly what an energy vampire is, and how he or she can drain your energy and spirit.
When readers started asking me about how to deal with their children who are energy vampires, I realized that parents are in a totally different situation.
Reader question: “I have a 5 year old energy vampire. How do I stay away from her? She makes me play with her all the time and makes me soo exhausted. I’m glad that I know now because I have done some research and she fits most of the energy vampire “expectations.” She isn’t happy with herself and she thinks everyone hates her.”
To cope with young children who drain your energy:
- Set a play schedule. Your child may be headstrong, but you’re still the parent! Set a play schedule with her: 15 minutes of together time, 15 minutes of playroom time, 15 minutes for snack, etc. Most kids like the predictability of a routine – and you need the knowledge that in 15 minutes, you can take a break.
- Find games that focus energy. Some games, such as Barbies or dress up, focus attention and energy on one another. Others focus energy elsewhere. When you have young children who are energy vampires, play games that direct her attention to an object. Being outside may give you the space you need while directing her energy elsewhere.
- Take a parenting class. Coping with young children who are energy vampires involves fine-tuning your parenting skills. Most parenting classes offer excellent tips and support for parents – whether they’re dealing with a difficult child, or just want to learn more. The bonus of taking a parenting class is that you’ll meet parents dealing with the same challenges!
- Get help. If your child is psychologically demanding (eg, saying that everyone hates her all the time, is overly dramatic, or overreacts to small things) – consider getting counseling or therapy help. You can’t be an effective parent if you’re constantly drained of energy, and you may not have the counseling skills to help her! Getting counseling help for your child may be an effective solution – especially in the long run.
If your daughter’s hatred is draining your energy, read When Your Daughter Says She Hates You – 8 Ways to Reconnect.
Reader question: “What if the energy vampire is your adult child, who lives in another state? I am a single mom and quite frankly, I am exhausted from the phone calls, confrontations, putdowns from this 32 year old.”
To cope with adult children who are energy vampires:
- Figure out how long it takes for you to recover from a visit, and schedule your phone calls or visits accordingly. That is, if your energy starts to return after a week without contact, then give yourself two or three weeks between visits.
- Let the phone ring. Who says you have to answer the phone every time it rings? Whether or not your adult child is an energy vampire, you have the right NOT to answer the phone. You also have the right to return a call when you’re ready.
- Have a plan for recharging after visits or calls. Set time limits on your phone calls or visits – and stick to them! And, after your contact with your energy vampire, do something positive that gives you joy: a funny tv show, yoga, or talking to your best friend.
If you’re having problems at home, read Dysfunctional Families – 5 Tips for Solving Family Problems.
What are your thoughts on children who are energy vampires? Please comment below…