7 Signs You’re Over Parenting Your Kids
We all (well most of us anyway) are well-intentioned parents just trying to do the best for our kids. Everything we do is done because we think it’s what’s best. We want our children to be happy, we want them to be successful, we want them to be smart and so on. But in this effort to make our children the best they can be, do we go overboard? Are the decisions we make and the way we parent actually hurting them? In this effort to make our kids successful, the best and the happiest they can be, do we over parent?
Finding the right balance between under and over parenting is difficult. Do our efforts to make our children happy and for them to succeed hurt them? It has been reported (The Dangers of OverParenting), that over parenting can leave kids with; a lower rate of coping skills, exaggerated rise of entitlement, greater levels of anxiety, higher levels of depression and lower levels of life satisfaction. By over-parenting, we can actually be creating the opposite of what we truly want for our children.
This parenting thing is hard. We want to do the best we can and often need help in making it happen. Here are 7 signs to look out for to help determine if you are over parenting and what you can do to balance out your parenting style. Let me know what you think in the comments below.
1) You’re constantly interfering with playdates
Do you let your kids be kids and play or are you constantly getting involved? Kids need time to just be kids. Not all play dates will go smoothly. Sometimes the kids will get bored and not know what to do next. Sometimes the kids will have struggles with each other and argue or fight. Other times they will make a complete mess and get into things that maybe they shouldn’t. If you’re constantly interfering, you may be over parenting.
2) Your child lacks an opinion
Kids naturally have opinions on, well, pretty much everything. But when this starts to not happen we may have a problem. If we find ourselves constantly telling our children what to do, how to think, how to dress, what to eat, how to play, etc. we may kill their ability to form their own opinions. When they always look to us for what to do and how to do it they may lose the ability to think through things and form opinions.
3) Lack of independence
Does your child always come to you for everything? Do they constantly hang on you? Do they dress themselves? Can they do their homework without you? Can they play independently without you? Children that are overparented often have difficulty doing things for and by themselves.
4) You struggle to let your child make their own choices
Do you find yourself always intervening in decisions for your kids? Are you always telling them how to do things, what to think and what to chose? Do you ever let them do it themselves? If you have a hard time allowing your kids to make their own choices, you may be over parenting?
5) You can’t stand to see your child fail
Failing is part of growing. As parents, we don’t want to see our kids fail but it’s part of getting better and learning. Do you find yourself constantly getting involved so that your kids don’t fail? Are you doing their homework or projects instead of guiding them through it? Are you getting too involved with their coaches or teachers when things aren’t going right and blaming everyone for their failure? It’s ok for the kids to fail sometimes. When this happens and we help them navigate through it, we turn their failure into a lesson for them to grow. We teach them coping skills and how to push through difficulty.
6) Your child has low expectations
Does your child have low expectations for their achievements? Do they have low expectations for how they should clean their room, how they do their homework or complete other tasks? This can be because they know that you will always swoop in and save the day. The have come to expect that you will make it better and they don’t need to try.
7) You talk more than you listen
Do you struggle to listen to your kids? Do you allow them to talk when having a conversation with them? Are you constantly cutting them off to give you opinion? Do you let them get out their thoughts? As parents, we need to listen to the kids, validate their idea and make them feel heard and valued.
What Can I do as to help me not over parent?
- Allow the kids to be kids- let them try things, let them figure it out
- Don’t give them all the answers. Help guide them so they can find the answers on their own.
- Let go of the expectation that your children will fulfill what dreams you were unable to achieve for yourself.
- Allow young children to try new things, even if they may not succeed and run the risk of failure.
- Be adaptable to the kids and their needs.
- Open family communication is important- listen with the intent to listen and not respond. Allow the kids to talk and validate what they are saying.
- The most balanced parenting creates “optimal frustration,” a supportive and authoritative form of parenting that enables a child to push through instances of struggle or frustration with support.
- Parents should strive for more of an authoritative, not an authoritarian, style of parenting.
- Adult children should be encouraged to take more individual and independent responsibilities, even when parents are being persistent to help.
If you have any other thought or tips for us please let us know in the comments. I hope this helps you to figure out if and where you may be over parenting.