As a parent, we always like to think that it is our responsibility to provide every need of our child. We want to be able to do everything for them but then, how really necessary in this modern era? Parents need to understand the thin line between love and indulgence. You need to know when you are crossing the line of showing love to your child and when you have gone to the extreme of over-parenting.
Over-parenting, as the name implies, is in its simplest meaning “going overboard on parenting”. It goes as far as making every decision for your child because you feel you care so much for them and are in the best position to choose for them. It goes on to getting every one of their needs because you do not want them to feel less loved. As this may have some advantages, it also has some effects, both short-term and long-term, in the life of a child. Below are some of them:
- Inability to make decisions themselves: “Wear this, it’s best for you”…”This is the course that you will study and this university is what we want for you”. As much as you want a bright future for your child, have you paused a moment to ask them what they want for themselves. Your role as a parent doesn’t mean you have to make every decision for them; all you need is to share your experience with them, advise them and guide them in making the right decisions. When you make every decision for your child, you leave them vulnerable to making future decisions that could affect their lives positively or negatively.
- Poor coping mechanism: Did you know that the self-esteem of a child is improved when they are able to think for themselves and act on their instincts? The opposite is the case when over-parenting is the order of the day. Some children lose self-confidence and are forced to second-guess every one of their choices if their parents make no input in whatever action they take. This makes it difficult for them to cope in different aspect of their lives.
- Decreased level of independence: Imagine having someone to do everything for you, both the majors and the minors. Preparing your meals, washing your clothes, taking care of your expenses and making every decision for you. It will come to a time that you will need to act on a particular thing and without their presence, you will feel helpless. This is the position we leave our children when we do everything for them. Yes, while it is important to support them in some areas, some things must be left for them to sort themselves. As a child grows older, his level of dependence on parents is expected to reduce and not the other way round.
Dear parent, please take time to understand the areas that you need to get involved in the lives of your kids and those areas where they can sort themselves. You need to understand that it is okay to allow them to make discoveries themselves and sometimes make mistake as it is all a learning process.