Parents need to take an active role in the development of their children, but there’s a difference between parenting and overparenting. The latter is akin to smothering, where children are unable to fend for themselves due to parents not knowing how to let go. These are some signs that you are overparenting your child.
Overreacting to injuries
Kids are excitable and curious. They’re bound to get hurt at one time or another. As a parent, you should be there to help them but not to make things out to be more serious than they are. If you start getting hysterical because your child has skinned their knee, they’re going to have a warped perspective of how dire their circumstances are. They can come to believe that they need you for any sort of minor scrape or bruise. By all means, you should be concerned for your child’s well-being, but you should also let them get through it with their dignity intact.
Not letting them fail
It’s awful to think of our children failing at anything, but it’s a part of life. Failure has as many benefits as success. Think about how many times making the wrong decision has given you a sharp new perspective about how to make better decisions? Failing as a child has fewer consequences than it does for adults. You shouldn’t let your child do anything that will result in severe harm to themselves to others, but you should take a seat back if they’re not working on an assignment for school. They need to realize that you won’t always be there to bail you out.
Building your child’s self-esteem is wonderful, but it needs to be done with purpose. If your child does something well, they should be praised for their effort. They should also be affirmed of their self-worth as a human, just like anyone should be. However, you shouldn’t be throwing out empty compliments. This will do a poor job of preparing your child for society, as they’ll think that everyone is going to praise them as much as you do. Show your appreciation and love for your child, but don’t go overboard with it.
Fighting their battles
You raise your child from when they’re a helpless baby. So, it can be easy to forget when they’re no longer babies. If you feel like you have to intervene in any conflicts that your child is involved in, they’re going to have trouble coping. Whether it’s a problem with a teacher, sibling, or friend, they need to learn how to resolve their conflicts themselves. You can offer them advice, but they need to make the ultimate decision. This will help them become more confident in their ability to solve problems as they grow older.
Overparenting is done with the best intentions, but it can have severe consequences. If you realize that you are overparenting your child, it’s never too late to correct yourself. Think about why you overparent and make a point of paying closer attention to your parental instincts. You’ll hopefully realize that many of your fears are unfounded and feel more relaxed as a result. To show your child how much you love them, you need to be willing to loosen your influence on them.