One of the goals of parenting should be to broaden the parent-child relationship from “supportive” to “engaged.”
The other day my son was playing a spelling game, and he had to spell the word “axe.” I was curious what the difference was between “ax” and “axe”…and although I’m sorry to say there isn’t a big difference between the two, I did read a definition of “phrases which use ax” that seemed relevant to what I am trying to explain.
The phrase was, “have an ax to grind have a self-serving reason for doing or being involved in something: she joined the board because she had an ax to grind with the school system.”
A lot of times I see parents, or if I’m being completely honest, I see myself, participate with what their children are doing for self-serving reasons. You could say, “they have an ax to grind with life/school/careers, and so they have a self-serving reason for being involved in what their kids are involved in”: