To provide what is best for their children, some parents have developed a tendency to ‘overparent’ or micromanage their child’s life. Wanting the best for their children, parents may protect the child from all physical or emotional discomfort, ensure the child only makes ‘good’ decisions, and prevent the child from failing. While it’s hard to watch a child fall off their scooter due to a bump in the sidewalk, get their feelings hurt, and fail at a task, these life lessons are important as they teach children resiliency and perseverance.
There is an overwhelming amount of information and advice on parenting which can be confusing to new parents, nannies and caregivers. Each family is unique, and each parent has their own approach which is often comprised of bits from different parenting styles. There is not a single perfect parenting style. Some parents are structured while others go with the flow.
Most parents strive to provide the foundations necessary for their children to be happy and successful adults. While the definition of ‘success’ may vary, the skills needed to successfully function in society are identifiable. Most successful adults are independent thinkers with life experiences, have learned from failure and have the social skills and understanding to recognize that different environments may require different rules and actions.
Here are 5 signs of overparenting and how they can impact a child.
Parents and caregivers are always near the child.
Children can be left alone for an age-appropriate amount of time if they are in a safe environment for their age. Being left alone allows children the opportunity to decide how to spend their time and learn that it is okay to be alone.
Parents and caregivers plan every minute of the day.
An important life skill is decision-making and time management, so it is important that children have a say in their schedule and have time for self-directed play. Self-directed play and managing boredom allow children the opportunity to learn what they like and how to entertain themselves.
Parents and caregivers make all the decisions.
Without the opportunity to make age-appropriate decisions for themselves, children become overly dependent on their parents. Toddlers can pick out which pair of shoes they want to wear, and 2nd graders can decide if they want to join a soccer team or take karate lessons. When allowed to make decisions, children can learn the impact of their decision and learn about consequences. Shoes are easily changed while joining a soccer team is a commitment to others.
Parents and caregivers prevent failure.
No one likes to fail but it is a fact of life that everyone will fail. If a child is not allowed to fail, their perception of the world becomes skewed. The child will not recognize the benefits of learning from their mistakes and they will not figure out how to correct a problem or do things better the next time. The child will lack the skillset needed to successfully handle failure in adulthood.
Parents and caregivers provide everything the child needs.
While it takes effort, young children can help load the dishwasher, 3rd graders can fold and put away their laundry and by middle school, the children should be helping with meals and housecleaning. Parents may have a housekeeper or cut the yard themselves, but it is important that all children learn how to help around the house.
Parents want the best for their children and may not realize they are over parenting. Children need to feel loved and be in a safe environment that allows them to build a solid sense of self-worth and self-awareness. There is not a perfect parenting style or even a perfect childhood. Parents and caregivers should strive to provide a loving but firm environment that allows children the space to develop their own interests, the ability to explore and the opportunity to develop a sense of independence. It is also important children have a solid foundation and the ability to experience and learn from failure.
Nannies can learn more about parenting styles at the Nanny Institute which has over 50 nanny classes.