7 Tips for Coping With Children Who Are Emotional Energy Vampires

Do you feel drained and tired after spending small amounts of time with your child? An emotional energy vampire feeds off other people’s energy because they can’t create or sustain their own. Some children refill energetic storehouses by feeding off their mom and dad’s energy stores. These kids don’t leave parents or other family members feeling typically tired after a long busy day. They literally drain every ounce of energy their mom, dad, sibling or other family member has. How do you cope with children who are emotional energy vampires, protect your energy, or at least refuel quickly? By learning how energy vampires function.

Whether or not your child is defined as an “energy vampire” is irrelevant. More important than the definition is how you will raise him or her to be a healthy, functioning adult – and how you will keep your sanity!

Child energy vampires make you feel overwhelmed, defensive, exhausted or even depressed. They have strong narcissistic tendencies and a constant hunger for admiration and attention. Children need you to help protect them against real or imagined attacks from other children, siblings, teachers, and parents. Like adult emotional energy vampires, children habitually find fault and criticize others to help them feel superior and in control. A child’s mood changes can be rapid and bewildering; they can’t deal with change or challenges in healthy ways.

Adult energy vampires are much easier to avoid, both at work and home. You know you’re dealing with an emotional energy vampire if he draws you into his constant dramas, negativity, hostile rages, complaints, and sad stories. Children who are energy vampires are similar, but with less complicated stories. But your own child child has even more power than an adult to leave you feeling drained, tired, depleted, confused, and on edge for days. How do you cope with children who are energy vampires? Especially a child you adore when you’re not lying in an exhausted heap on the floor?

Tips for Coping With Children Who Are Emotional Energy Vampires
Emotional Vampires Need Energy

How to Cope With Young and Adult Children Who Are Energy Vampires

Some time ago I wrote an article called “How Energy Vampires Drain Your Spirit” for a health and spirituality magazine. I included 11 ways to protect yourself from negative influences and prevent emotional energy vampires from draining your energy and spirit. When readers started asking me about how to deal with their children who are energy vampires – and even how to get more energy when caring for elderly parents – 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 the definition of an emotional vampire. She isn’t happy with herself and she thinks everyone hates her.”

4 ways to cope with children who drain your energy:

  1. 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.
  2. 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 emotional 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.
  3. Take a parenting class. Coping with young children who are emotional 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!
  4. 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 emotional 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 What to Do When Your Daughter Says She Hates You.

Reader question:

“What if the emotional 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.”

3 ways to cope with adult children who are emotional vampires:

  1. Figure out how long it takes for you to recover from a visit, and schedule your phone calls or visits accordingly. For instance, if your energy starts to return after a week without contact, then give yourself two or three weeks between visits.
  2. 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.
  3. Have a plan for recharging after visits or calls. Set time limits on your phone calls or visits – and stick to them. After talking to an emotional vampire, recharge your batteries and refuel your tank in ways that fill you up. Positive activities include things that gives you joy: writing, doing yoga, praying, walking, petting your dog or cat.
How to Cope With Children Who Are Energy Vampires

Whether the energy vampires in your life are children or adults, you have the same choice: You can be right or you can be happy. This means that arguing with an emotional vampire isn’t just fruitless and unproductive, it is destructive and draining for you. Energy vampires are energized by conflict. Protect your energy by letting them be right.

How do you cope with young or adult children who drain your energy and leave you feeling exhausted? Feel free to share below!


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31 thoughts on “7 Tips for Coping With Children Who Are Emotional Energy Vampires”

  1. I was very happy to read you erticles because I have definately a energy vampire stepchild. And it is so hard on us and our family. She is here 3 days a week, but as soon as she comes in, takes up all the space in the room, nothing is ever good enough, shes is never happy with anything we do or plan, she just skips all over everyones boundaries, seeks arguments for seeking arguments and leaves us (her dad, me, and her sister) completely drained. I am lost at what to do. We have a coach, but after 3 sessions, I am uncertain this will help. I am all for search for a child’s needs, looking behind behaviour, but I am seriously wondering if this is even possible because she is so intens! Thinking of leaving my husband seriously. Dealing with this for 6 years now and she’s only eight. When she was 3, it was maybe not this bad, but still very challenging. And it seems to only get worse. How do I protect myself and my child?

  2. This says nothing about BABY energy vampires! my 9 month old is gonna suck me dry. He doesnt do it intentionally, but he is drawn to people with lots of energy and has actually absorbed from a friend of mine so hard, that she literally had to sit down right after picking him up. Im pretty sure its because hes growing, but I cant keep up with him if hes eating up all the energy I need to keep up with him, his sister, and his dad!

  3. These are very challenging topics. Because some of these parents may also be slightly if not more abusive to they’re children than they realize. For example my mom is still with my abusive dad. Never protected me and allowed my sibling to torment me growing up and as a child I felt Everyone hated me. Because quite literally my entire family treated me less than and no one was there for me. Now as an adult I’m still dealing with these feelings when others attack me for no reason. And now of course my children are draining my energy. Personally a lot of why they started acting like this is because of new school and new friends who are disrespectful. It’s been difficult to deal with because I put everything into our relationship. And I’m always trying to stay calm and loving while they’re screaming. I always tell them I’m here for them no matter what.

  4. I was feeling extremely drained by my 3.5 year old daughter, so I decided to take a bath. She then barged in and wanted to just stare at me saying “Mommy look at the bubbles, Mommy look at the bubbles, Mommy look at the bubbles,
    Mommy look at the bubbles,
    Mommy look at the bubbles, Mommy look at the bubbles.”

    So, I had my ears in the water, my eyes closed, with the jets roaring so I wouldn’t have to hear her. It’s difficult cause she has broken my bathroom handle so it doesn’t lock and she doesn’t sleep in her bed so I NEVER GET A BREAK FROM HER EVER.

    Eventually she FINALLY left I just noticed that when I thanked my daughter for being quiet and I thanked her for letting me take a bath and that I was feeling very drained. She was so thoughtful and said I’m sorry you felt drained and was quiet the rest of the afternoon.

    1. Lol- ‘Mummy look at the bubbles’ x 100. That’s my 3.5 year old son too- he’s just relentless. We can be visiting other kids & all he wants is to interact with me. If I try to speak to another adult he gets in my face even more. I give him hours and hours of forced attention, and it’s never enough. It’s like he has a hole in his bucket. I’m gonna try the ‘scheduled break/ play’ thing. Good luck to you too!

      1. Both of my grown daughters from teenage years and now in their 30’s. They make me cry. They tell me what a bad mother I am and neither one has their children. They take so much and tell me I should kill myself. It hurts my heart. I do not talk to them anymore. I will always love my children even though they are 37 and 34

  5. Merry’s comments sounds so suitable and satisfying for mothers coping with so called energy draining vampire especially adult children. Moms are supposed to be there for energy draining children and perhaps not limiting phone calls and setting special times for children if that’s what it means.just came across this article as I was myself trying to find ways to cope .

  6. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Thanks for your thoughts on how to cope with adult and young children who are energy vampires! Although, some people don’t use the term “energy vampires” anymore. “High maintenance” is the way to say it these days, I think :-)

  7. No love comes back, I’ll never be dad. The free exchange of energy to mom and dad fills a parent back up. But step dad doesn’t get that refill. Now I resent the kid and his father. And now his mom.
    I can’t live like this.

  8. Anyone who has read this far deserves to reap a simple truth, because they are those who are hungry for truth and so truth should not be withheld. We seek what we value, and when found, we keep it. It is important to put the foundations in place before you try to build a house. The foundations of this subject are this: Love/Life force/Light/soul is the true currency of the world. Without it, there would only be dead matter. Ashes to ashes. Dust to dust. Without an injection of light, matter cannot be animated. If you do not have enough life force left to feed a growing clone, it is because like everyone else in your world you were born to have your energy harvested and so began to die the day you were born. Growing a human does not end when it leaves your womb. Growing is thirsty work. If you are not rich enough (In spirit) to offer your energy to a child without becoming ill and aging faster, then you are not equipped to be a parent. If you withhold the food your child needs, it will seek other ways to find it or it will wither and die from neglect because man does not live by bread alone. Do not expect your child to follow your ways or live by your values, or even to like you, if the television or your nanny is it’s parent. The parent is the one who feeds. (The primary source of energy nourishment). This is why children seek your attention. Your attention fills their spoon and their cup. Baby spiders eat their mothers. It is neglectful to withhold energy from the children you promised to love when you grew them in your belly. It is far worse to grow a child for your own selfish nourishment. Many do. In most cases it is not their fault, because they do not understand what they do. Therefore have compassion for the innocently ignorant and a hardened heart for those who love their stupidity and prefer their suffering. We live in troubled times. All you need is love. And there is not enough of it to go around. Humans now steal what they have not sown. They are thieves and dogs fighting for scraps of whatever life force remains in the murdered carcases of vegetation and other animals because they have forgotten their true source of nourishment. Seek truth. And it will find you. If your motive is genuine. I offer this knowledge to you with love.

  9. Mmm, here I am reading about energy vampires, again! There numbers are increasing dramatically it seems. Yes, it is infectious.
    All the tips here help but I think what is not often addressed or even known by many is that the person who’s energy is being drained is somehow unconsciously attracting this behavior.
    Spending time in meditation, writing exercise, etc can be the key to learning what it is that is attracting the energy stealing.
    Have you ever noticed that an energy vampire will often only be able to steal energy from one family member or person in a room or workplace?
    There may be a place in a person or a part of them that is vulnerable and needs attention to become strong. One cannot stay away from their child but can change the habitual workings of the relationship.
    A good therapist can help, but be aware that many therapists are also energy vampires, perhaps often because they have been drained dry by clients.
    When two people are energized while together alone, this is a good indicator that they have a healthy relationship. Spending time regularly with such people can strengthen ones healthy ways of interacting and can, with practice, spill over into other relationships.
    Above all remember always that your feelings are important! You matter! If you become completely drained by a child or other who will they turn to? It is a responsibility to teach our children healthy ways of receiving attention and energy.

  10. why do energy vampire come around us and take our energy…..Our souls Karma…..we reap what we sow…..Love the energy vampire…one day that will come back to us…….what we send out is what comes back to us….love your enemy…..love those who love you….never be negative towards anyone or thing…never will anyone or anything be negative towards you…..

    how old is the karma history of our souls???????

    I have drained others in past I know…. cruel of me…now I have a few around me teaching me my lesson….How else would we learn?

    We are the light…At that the dogs bite…forgetting they have a light within them self…. There is an infinite source of energy from God within….tap in ……Shine your light.

    One Love

  11. Hello,
    I am currently in school for massage therapy and have just started to notice “bad energies”. I read the article on energy vampires and when giving a massage I can feel when I am working on a person like that. So this brings me to two situations I am puzzled on how to handle:
    Obviously as a massage therapist I will be picking up people’s energy all day long, do you have any tricks for visualization or things I can do in my treatment room to dispose of that bad energy so that I don’t hang onto it myself, or pass it on to my next client?

    My second problem is my husband. HE is a MAJOR energy vampire. There are times when I can’t massage him at all because I get really angry/anxious feelings and get so overwhelmed I want to cry and have to stop working on him. Its weird though because we do have a loving relationship and we can be intimate with each other and I don’t get those feelings, its only when I do bodywork on him. I saw the article on coping with Children who are energy vampires, would the suggestions be the same for a husband? I feel like I should be there for him when he needs to dump that energy. Its just so overwhelming I don’t know what to do with it once he starts unloading it all. And what do I do with it when I Unintentionally pick it up from him when doing bodywork?

    Thank you,

  12. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Dear Laurie (great name! :-)),

    Thanks for sharing about your mom — she sounds like a handful! Elderly parents can be even more difficult to deal with than.

    I’ve written a few articles that may help:

    When Nothing is Good Enough For Your Mom

    How to Help Elderly Parents Who Don’t Want Help

    How to Cope With Difficult Parents – for Adult Children

    I hope they help…let me know what you think!


  13. Thank you for the original article on energy vampires! It helped me know exactly what I was dealing with in the case of my mother….but just as with a child, it is hard to know what to do when a parent is an energy vampire. Worse, my mother is now 70 and is playing the old-age card for all it’s worth….she imposes on me, my sister who lives nearby (another sister and three brothers have all moved out of reach), my dad from whom she has been separated for two years (but won’t divorce so she can keep hitting him up for money), and now it’s moved on to the next generation…my sister’s college-age daughters are helping her with her store she refuses even to open for business most of the time, and even their boyfriends have been drafted to help move furniture and do other heavy chores for her. Of course, nothing is done HER way and is never good enough. (I should add that she is not suffering Alzheimer’s or any similar condition; she sees several doctors for heart conditions and diabetes and no one has even recommended she be evaluated for such.) What to do?

  14. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Thanks for your comments. One of my friends doesn’t believe children can be “emotional energy vampires” — they’re just children!

    But what’s the difference between an adult who drains your energy, or a child who drains your energy? The child is someone you can’t just walk away from, like you can as an adult. Certain children require more time and energy – whether or not you call them energy vampires.

  15. I am glad to have happened by this vampire stuff. I am unfortunately experiencing injustice in court. It’s wild because I think I have been accused of this vampire thing but a completely dysfunctional justice system that allow’s child molesters to prevail over a good mom IS everyones problem and when all the people who should be helping wouldn’t I looked anywhere for help! Big mistake in this town! Whom ever is doing this to me KNOWS this town! Thanks for the info.

  16. vampirism changes according to the situation.humans dont have any steady energy level, ithink.i deviates according to situation. a vampire to some body may be an energy giver to others. so,i think, its not humane to kick out a vampire from life, but try to resolve his problems using adequate therapies.in hinduism, i found that daily practicing yoga an worshipping the lord vishnu gives so much positive energy. chanting also gives very positive efect. if their is a temple nearby, without considering the religion, spending some time near by as routine will definitely cure an average vampire.

  17. Hi there,

    My ex is a negative, complaining, querulous pain in the butt, our kid has inherited his temperament so anger management is something that I’m working with her about. Yes, it’s draining, but no-where near as bad as he was (I was physically ill all of the time the last couple of years of our marriage, I got rid of him, got well, then the bastard came back!). To tell you the truth, though, do we do a certain amount of energy draining to ourselves if we pay too much attention to mass media? No news is good news, as they say and there are people who give their entire lives over to following the exploits of nasty politicians doing nasty things to other nasty politicians.

  18. Mila, thank you for putting into words what I was thinking as well. How can a parent wash their hands of a 5-year old, or even a 16-year old child, as if he or she had nothing to do with that child’s mental and emotional state? I wholeheartedly agree that parents need to self-assess their performance and the family environment. In other words, parents need to *parent*. Our children depend on us to set the tone and the energy of the home environment. They depend on us from the day they are born for their sense of security and self-esteem. If things have gone wrong somewhere along the way, then parents really ought to do everything they can to help their child get back on track.

  19. I don’t believe energy drain is a ‘special talent’ or ‘magical ability’; Energy Vampires aren’t “born” into the world, they aren’t X-men mutants.

    Drainage occurs when when some part of you has a desperate need for attention. What do drama queens and obnoxious, angry people have in common? They are self-centered and very unaware that they have the ability to change their situation.

    Auras shift constantly, according to our moods, thoughts and lifestyle; meaning that, what is generally called a “Vampiric Aura” is simply the manifestation of drainage (usually shows up a blood-red color) at the time of drainage, or constant drain.

    What I mean to say is, if you believe you are an Energy Vampire and have a “Vampiric Aura”, know that this is not a fixed situation that you cannot change. Self-examination is key, meditation is vital, and therapy may be a very useful tool.

    As for child “vampires”, I believe the parents should self-assess their performance as parents, and examine the family’s environment. Children pick up behaviors from all around them (especially parents), and if they feel in someway neglected or insecure, it’s time to find out why.

    All we are is pure love, remember that!

  20. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Thanks for sharing your insight about energy vampires and your own personality, ripley97. It sounds like you’ve learned something new about yourself — which will make you a better person.

  21. I only recently realized that i am a energy vampire. My best friend came up to me and told me she thought i was an energy vampire and that i should look it up. it seemed very possible when i knew what it was, mostly because im very loud and people tend to only can be able to take me in small doses im very tired when alone, even now as i write this i am tired,goodbye and goodluck

  22. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Hi Lissy,

    Thanks for your question — it’s a good one.

    Basically, an energy vampire leaves you feeling tired and depressed. An example of an energy vampire is a “drama queen”, who is always dealing with some major crisis. And, her (or his) major crises affect your life, your mood, and even your physical and emotional health. Energy vampires leave you feeling drained and listless because they drain your energy.

    On the other hand, people who are simply needy or dependent don’t necessarily leave you feeling depressed or exhausted. Needy or dependent people don’t “steal” your energy; they just need help.

    Maybe it’s a fine line between the two types of personalities. Or, maybe it’s a continuum: an energy vampire is on the “energy draining” end, while a needy person is on the “help me call and order a pizza” end, which is a little annoying but not energy draining.

    Dr Judith Orloff has written alot about energy vampires, and the different types of energy vampires. If you’d like, I can post a few links her to her articles.

    Hope this helps a little!


  23. Can someone please define for me exactly what an energy vampire is? All I know is it’s someone who drains your energy when you re around them, but as Laurie said, “Some people are exhausting to be around, and it’s not necessarily because they’re energy vampires. Sometimes people are simply needy or dependant.”, so that’s a pretty useless blanket meaning.

    So can anyone tell me? Email me or post a reply.



  24. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Thanks for being here, Latoya! I’m glad you shared your story.

    Raising kids children who are energy vampires, who make you feel drained, tired, negative, or not good enough is so difficult.

    It’s good that your son lives with your mom, and you can take breaks fromt hem both. You set a boundary by only seeing him once a month, and that’s great. It’s better to limit or cut off contact with people – even if they’re your own family – than to stay in a painful, negative, destructive situation.

    Take care — and stay happy and positive!

  25. I have sixteen year old son, and boy did I run up on the right thing tonight, because for the longest I didn’t know what this feeling was that I was having everytime he came around me. One minute I was happy and the next it felt like i was being stabbed with pin needles in my chest. and it got stronger and stronger the more he stayed around me.

    He live with my mom who is super negative and i can’t be in the same room with her. i hate my son and i relationship is like that but i have to decided to only see him once a month. because the pain is too bad, he never talks to me it is just his presence that is so scary to me.

  26. I’m very interested in energy vampires, especially in relation to children because it’s not discussed very often.

    I’m curious: you say you’re a “psychic or energy vampire”, which makes it sound like the same thing. Do you mean the traditional “psychic” (someone who can fortune tell), or do you mean “psychic vampire” (perhaps someone who drains psychic energy)?

    I totally agree that some people are exhausting to be around, and it’s not necessarily because they’re energy vampires. Sometimes people are simply needy or dependant.

    Maybe it’s like the introverts-extroverts scale: we’re all a combination of both introverted and extroverted personality traits — and maybe we all have a little bit of “energy vampire” in us. Some are on the “drain all your energy immediately!” end of the scale, while others are on the “give all your energy away immediately” end (which is what introverts do).

    Anyway, thanks for your comment – very interesting!


  27. I actually am a psychic, or energy vampire. It’s really hard to explain exactly how I drain people’s energy. I’m not a very talkative person but I have what is known as a vampire aura. Very often I feel tired when I’m alone and then when I’m in school or hanging out with people I begin to feel more awake. A year or so ago (before my family and I discovered that I am a psi-vamp) I was on retreat with school and everyone gathered together for a school picture on the last day. I was actually overwhelmed by all the energy around me that I passed out from exhaustion because I was absorbing so many emotions and so many types of energy.
    Many psi/energy vampires are unaware of what we are capable of doing and they do it unconsciously. There are ways to protect yourself from an attack by a malignant energy vampire. One way is to imagine yourself surrounded by a shield of bright light. Also you should not assume someone is a psi/energy vampire just because they are exhausting to be around. There may actually be a psychological or physical reason behind it.

  28. lulu mossbargett

    one of my best guy freinds told me he was an energy vampire wich i had no clue what that was and i know now and every thing describes him we are only 11 and 12 yeas old and we talk to eachother every day and he bites his hands alot and me and my other freind had no clue why until now my other friend knoew this before i did and he gave me a website to go to and he told me hopefully this will explain everything.my guy freind idnt the best looking person but he really smart and funny.he is the class clown do doubt about it and now that i know about him i am kind of scared in a way but i dont think he has ever drained my spirits,yes i have been sad around him but usually before i got to him.he has also helped me with all my problems to.yes sometimes he doesnt really care about themthats why i am kind of concered though,he is a really and truely good friend to me and i just think you dont quite no a energy vampire until you acctually meet them.