It is said that some kids never grow up, yet the flip side of that is many grow up too soon. Those who live with high-conflict co-parents often experience the worst of both scenarios. Too often, one parent is overly indulgent, trying to buy the love of the child, while the other is so insecure and hurt that the child is forcibly exposed to all of the adult drama and is expected to be the stable one in the family. Adults who never grew up or grew up too fast tend to have difficulty achieving normal healthy relationships. No parent is perfect, and we all have at some time or another been too lenient or too childish as parents, but what makes the difference is whether or not at least one parent can recognize the destructive pattern and consistently lift the child out of the middle. The parents who do it best are those who are more interested in raising healthy adults than feeding their own insecurities. That requires them to recognize the need to set boundaries with a child whether they are popular or not, and be willing to allow the child to live in the child world until naturally ready to face adult problems, regardless of the consequences to self. I’ll be the first to say that is not an easy endeavor and can be personally painful, but without that commitment from at least one parent, the cycle of relationship failures simply perpetuates into the next generation.