Enabling is doing for others what they need to do for themselves. It is reacting to a person in such a way to shield him or her from experiencing the full impact of the consequences of their behavior. Enabling behavior differs from helping in that it permits or allows the person to be irresponsible.

Enabling behavior:

Protects others from the natural consequences of their behavior.

Keeps secrets about someone’s behavior from others in order to keep peace.

Makes excuses for a person’s behavior (school, friends, legal authorities, work and other family members).

Bails a person out of trouble (debts, fixing tickets, paying lawyers and providing jobs).

Blames others for the dependent person’s behaviors (friends, teachers, employers, family and self).

Sees “The Problem” as the result of something else (shyness, adolescence, loneliness, broken home, ADHD or another illness).

Avoids the dependent person in order to keep peace (out-of-sight, out-of-mind).

Gives money that is undeserved/unearned.

Attempts to control that which is not in the “enabler’s” control (planning activities, choosing friends and getting jobs).

Makes threats that have no follow-through or consistency.

“Caretakes” the dependent person (doing what he/she is expected to do for themselves).


Are you an Enabler?

Are you an Enabler or a Helper?

Making the Connection

Enabling and Rescue vs. Tough Love

Parents Help, Teens Hurt


Enabling vs. Constraining

Enabling: Disaster Preparedness for Parents

Enabling Addiction

Addicted Family Roles

Enabling and Co-Dependency

Enabling Gambling

Enabling, Special Needs and Normalization

Enabling Terrorism

Changing Enabling Behavior

7 Steps to Maturity: Adolescent Years

Natural and Logical Consequences

Using Consequences

Tools for Being Firm: Natural Consequences

Effectiveness of Natural and Logical Consequences

Techniques to Set Rules and Consequences for your Teen

8 Logical Consequence Guidelines

10 Techniques to Shape Children's Behavior

General Strategies for Working with Supersensitive Children

Behavior Modification in the Classroom

Making Discipline Positive

Parenting Styles

Two Phases

Adlerian Principles


You're sorry for a troubled soul;
I'm sorry for her too,
but as for how to help,
we have a different point of view.

The basis of your sympathy
for her is that you feel
the whole world is against her;
she was dealt a rotten deal.

You're sorry things don't go her way,
while I believe she brings
it on herself because she
will not go the way of things.

You may suspect I'm speaking from
a cold uncaring heart
because it seems I have
no more resources to impart.

It comes through years of living
from one crisis to another;
through burial of hopes and dreams
known only to a mother.

So if the key to understanding
lies within one's self.
the question is how much
another can or cannot help.

For I believe that she alone
can willingly release
her bitterness and hate
to find true happiness and peace.

And, rest assured, if we should see
that miracle occur
I'll be here with wide open heart
and arms to welcome her.

So think whatever you will think,
and say what you will say;
we both may love her equally
but in a different way.

~ | Mary K. Sullivan | ~