Are you over-parenting your child?


Parents of today are far different in their approach to parenting compared to parenting back in the day. Parents nowadays are much more involved in the lives of their children and tend to play a more active role in their children’s development.

Landing the "helicopter"

Is it possible though that sometimes parents take matters to an extreme and can be guilty of over-parenting their children, sometimes also referred to as "helicopter parenting" because they are constantly hovering over their kids.

Last month I saw a headline story about a dad who beat a boy at his son’s rugby match because of a red card that was issued. How personally are parents taking their children’s activities for a dad to become that angry over a sporting event that he is not even a part of?

Over-parenting refers to parents who are constantly involved and interfering in their children’s life, for example, calling your teenage child’s teacher to query a mark when the teenager should be fully capable of doing it themselves or parents who go out of their way to protect their children from any disappointment, even if it means fighting their children’s battles.
As parents we want to do the best we can for our children, often we do not even know or realise we are guilty of over-parenting.

Signs you are over-parenting

Ilze Alberts, psychologist and founder of the Bella Vida centre points out the following over-parenting signs for parents to look out for:

•    You are so involved that you have an emotional reaction when something minor happens in your child’s life, for example, if your child has an argument with his / her friend.
•    You make all the decisions in your child’s life, from what they eat to choosing their friends.
•    You control all aspects of their life and are quick to come to their rescue, even if the child was at fault.
•    You do not allow them to think for themselves or make mistakes.

Whilst it is good to always be a caring parent there is a danger associated when that caring leads to over-parenting.

Effects of over-parenting

Ilze confirms over-parenting a child can have serious long term consequences such as:

•    Child grows up to be an adult that lacks independence, confidence and self esteem.
•    They feel a constant need to have an authority figure to tell them what to do, they become incapable of thinking for themselves.
•    Their social skills are affected as they are not confident around people.
•    They will be scared to try new things and as a result may struggle to adapt to life’s changes.

Ilze encourages parents to caution themselves against over–parenting and to rather allow their children to develop those skills needed to deal with life’s challenges. “Be there to guide and support them through the decisions they make but don’t deny them the freedom to make their own choices in life,” she says.

Is there such a thing as parenting your child too much?

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