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Living vicariously

Discussion in 'Other Substances' started by Damien Lee, Oct 17, 2015.

  1. Damien Lee

    Damien Lee Community Champion

    On my daily encounters with different people, I seem to come across those that are living vicariously. It's fairly common among elderly folks who have a son or daughter that is very successful. Usually, their child will have a well-paying career that allows them to travel and see the world.

    There's nothing necessary wrong with this. It's great to know that your child is doing well in life. A bit of pride and chest-thumping is not the end of the world. However, this may become a problem if one is living vicariously through others. Perhaps these elderly folks did not have the opportunities their children had, and not nearly as successful. Watching their children make their way into the world, they sort of adopt the successes and adventures of their offspring, as their own.

    Have you encountered any people like this? Do you think that this behavior is healthy?
  2. Nergaahl

    Nergaahl Community Champion

    Actually, people are doing this every day, on Facebook or any other kind of social media. It seems like others' life is more interesting than their own, and they spend hours scrolling to see what their folks have been doing. While it is okay to use Facebook to get information and reach some people, reading about interesting things others did and not getting out and actually doing them yourself is not. Those people are living vicariously but don't realize it.
  3. Tremmie

    Tremmie Community Champion

    Oh yes, we have Lifetime channel :p So dance moms TV show airs there, it's terrible. But I think a lot parents are living through their children, those boring mean moms from that dancing TV show are a clear example. Same goes to those parents who push their children into beauty pageant contests.
  4. L_B

    L_B Community Champion

    It is fine unless you are forcing your child to do something g they have no interest in. They are being forced to do it because it is something the parent always wanted to do growing up. Whether it be a career choice or a sport if their child is only doing it to please their parent then it is wrong. I have seen to happen so many times and it is sad. They child messes out on being themselves because they are forced to do what they parents want. Say the child has an interest in music but they are forced to play hockey because their parent's dream was to be a professional hockey player then that is so wrong. Sadly it happens all the time though. You need to allow you child to be their individual selves.
    Elizabetonth likes this.
  5. Tsky45

    Tsky45 Community Champion

    Well if they raised you right they should take pride in that. I think it's natural for parents to want to see there kids do the things they couldn't. I think it is unhealthy to try and force your kids to be something they don't want to be. I think as long as the parents don't get carried away that's alright.
  6. Amelie Santos

    Amelie Santos Active Contributor

    I think it was Jackie Onassis who once said that your children are like your calling cards. If you raise them right, there's no better accomplishment. So no, I don't think parents who take pride in their children's successes are displaying unhealthy behavior. Their children's successes are their own (assuming of course that they did raise their children). If they're reaping the fruits of their kids' labor, then kudos to them. They had a hand in it too. :)
    Elizabetonth likes this.
  7. Nancy D.

    Nancy D. Senior Contributor

    The perfect example of living vicariously through your children...and sometimes to the extreme. I think it is okay to encourage your children to do things and to be the best they can be...but when you start acting like that is the only thing important...then that is when motives should be questioned. It is not fun and games when kids can't be kids.
  8. xTinx

    xTinx Community Champion

    I won't judge people who, as you said, are "living vicariously" because we can look at the same things differently. What matters is that as long as no one is severely damaged emotionally and physically as a result of such actions, then there's nothing wrong with "living vicariously" in the first place. If people have been hurt to a significant degree, then perhaps such actions should be reevaluated.
  9. Elizabetonth

    Elizabetonth Member

    I agree with @L_B and @Amelie Santos, and I think the line comes in the difference between pushing and reacting. If a parent is reacting to a child's successes, that is wonderful. It is certainly much healthier than ignoring them, or being bitter because they didn't have those opportunities, or any of a host of negative emotions. On the other hand, if a parent is pushing their child to do something they don't want to do, and the child is miserable, that certainly is unhealthy. The way you put it, though, @Damien Lee, sounds completely natural, and justified. Resenting parents who are proud of their children is the thing that sounds unhealthy.
  10. explorerx7

    explorerx7 Senior Contributor

    It has it's good and bad side sometimes it ends up bringing out the best of the child and even bring fortune and fame, in other instances, it can be a real burden to the child and affect him or her in a negative way. it really hinges on how thoughtful the parent is in the matter, knowing when to back down when the situation is not going right for the child.
  11. Coolkidhere

    Coolkidhere Community Champion

    Hmmm...I remember a family vlog I used to watch in YouTube. Is that considered the same since they became quite successful in YouTube because of their cute kids? I don't know what to think of it really. Some bashers say that they are using their children. Some adore their channel, in fact they have a million and more subscribers.

    I don't really know what to say of this. My mother is still working even though both me and my sister has our own jobs now. She doesn't ask for any assistance from both of us at all. She is a very independent woman.

    I do know some parents who assume that their kids will take care of them in the future. Like my husband's aunt, who lives vicariously because all her three kids have good jobs now.
  12. serenity

    serenity Community Champion

    Well I don't think there's anything wrong with it, as long as nothing is being imposed on the kid. Living vicariously is actually just a state of mind where you sort of seem to "share" the success of your child, so I don't think it's that harmful.
  13. morgoodie

    morgoodie Senior Contributor

    I do not think that I have known anyone to do this but I can see how it would happen. Often, the elderly is lonely and want nothing better than to be living the life they always dreamed of like everyone else. It just seems to be more exaggerated in the older person. I see nothing wrong with them being proud and bragging about how successful their children are since this would make them feel closer to their children. Maybe they do not see them often enough and do not want other people to know so they tend to make things up.
  14. remnant

    remnant Community Champion

    Whether this behaviour is healthy or not is a complex question. Most parents rear their children as an investment. Naturally an investment has to bear returns. That is why they give their their best even foregoing basic necessities to bring them up. But people are a slippery lot and not many are gifted with sympathy and empathy. Parents should fortify themselves financially. What comes from the children is a welcome dividend.
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2016