Being an over-protective parent could do more harm than good. This is how you can raise your child without over-parenting.
Being a "tiger mom" has its advantages. Your children get good grades, play music instruments and ace their subjects. They also get admissions into prestigious colleges, something that you yearn for your kids. However, it has a few drawbacks. And the reality is, there are prodigies at the same universities, who are better than your children, but their moms aren't all tiger moms.
What is over-parenting
Over-parenting is when you step in without your child needing you to step in. This may seem like an overly simplified definition, but it is best summed up in this manner.
So if you anticipate your child's mistake and stop her from making it every time, you are over-parenting. If she sees you as a shield instead of an anchor, you may be over-parenting. If you feel that you need to fight her battles for her, you are definitely over-parenting.
So why is it so bad?
Over-parenting robs your child of her learning curve. The learning process for a child is something like this. A child performs an action. There is either pleasure at the end of it or pain. When the pain is dissuading, the child understands that she should not be doing this. For a parent, it is okay to step in if you see that the child is going to harm herself by say, putting a coin in her mouth.
When the child grows up, she starts to associate a 'reason' with an action. Have you noticed that the favorite question of a 4-year-old is 'why'? This is the start of the development of two important phases in the life of your child: reasoning and a moral compass.
As she grows up, if you end up stepping in before she falters, the association of reason is interrupted. Thus, instead of a strong, independent daughter, you end up having an individual without a sense of individuality. And that is why over-parenting is harmful.
How to avoid over-parenting
I am a father. So I understand your impulse you rush to your baby every time he is about to fall down. However, if you do so, he will never understand that falling will hurt, and he will not be careful the next time. And this time, you may not be around. So here are 5 things you should do to raise good kids without over-parenting.
- Temper your interference. Try and understand that the more you interfere, the more you interrupt. If you want your child to grow up to be an independent person, you need to give her some freedom. Trust her instincts and let her do her own mistakes.
- Be more patient. When you are an over-protective parent, your children do not often commit mistakes because you spot one and correct the course. This is partly because you want them to look and do good, but partly also because you may lack the patience to sit through their mistakes. Please be patient. You waited 9 months for them to arrive. You can wait 90 minutes and let them finish their work their own way.
- Don't praise unnecessarily. We end up saying, "good job" even when she finishes her meal. It is not a good job. It is something she needs to do. There is nothing exceptional about it. According to Clinical Psychologist Dr Lisa Firestone, when you do this, they would be burdened to live up to the greatness parents create by such unsubstantiated praises. Kids are smart. They know when they are actually doing a good job. Reserve the praises for such occasions.
- Let them wander with you in sight. I speak literally, not figuratively here. When you are in a park, let them know that you are sitting on a bench and let them do their thing. Exploring the park will stoke their curiosity.
- Don't insist on routines. Routines are good but reserve them for 4 days out of 7. On three days, let them do things a bit differently. This does not mean that you should let them waste the entire day. You may plan the day, but don't make it an itinerary. Keep it as a surprise for them.
Moms, don't worry. Your kids will turn out to be fine. There is something beyond academics and a good job, and that is happiness. Let your children grow up to be happy people. They are your kids - they are going to do well in life anyway.
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