Every parent wants the absolute best for their child and tires themselves trying to provide them with the best of material possessions, experiences, and education. However, sometimes the best thing to do is to sit back and do nothing. Are you the kind of parent who knows when to do that? Or do you often frazzle your nerves wondering if you are doing enough for your little one? Children by nature have some wonderful qualities like curiosity, lack of prejudices, and willingness to try new things, which have to be nurtured. Just facilitating them to ‘be children’ is enough for them to learn everything they need to learn. Here are some tell-tale signs that you may be over parenting your child.
Sense of entitlement
Do you see your child act entitled all the time? Like their, every whim and demand ought to be fulfilled at a lightning speed, no matter what you might be busy with at that time? Just stop for a minute and ask yourself where that expectation comes from? From experience. And who is responsible for providing those experiences where this expectation stems from? Yes. It is most probably you as a parent. Learn to say no once in a while and allow your child to wait for things.
Fear of failure
Do you see your baby hesitate before trying something new? More importantly, do you scream out a million instructions before they lift their little finger to do something? Are you consumed with thoughts about how your baby might not fit in at the school or in a class, or may not learn to cycle? All parents worry but know that learning is a part of everyone’s childhood. But if you as a parent think you can cushion all their blows by spreading yourself below them, you are definitely depriving your child of experiences that are vital to survival.
Do you find that you have constant battles with your child where you do not want them to do something, or you feel they should do something the way you think it ought to be done? Just pause for a moment and ask yourself whether the preference you have is because it is pertaining to something reasonable like danger or whether it is just your choice. If it is the latter, you really ought to let it go.
If your child seeks you out to make the simplest of decisions, it is a sign that you have over-parented them. Learning to make decisions is also a skill that is vital to their well-being as they grow older. If you don’t let them make the mistakes they need to make in order to learn, they might try out their wings with things that are important and face consequences. So under the shelter of your roof, let them make all the mistakes to learn now rather than later.
Apart from voicing out comparisons, do not compare your child with others even in your own head. Every child is different with different personalities, milestones, and even physical features. Comparing your child with others may burden them with unnecessary pressure to fit into a box in order to please you. This is especially harmful if your child is a non-conformist as you may end up bruising their ego.
Do you set the bar rather high for your baby? Setting very high expectations for your child is also a sign of over parenting and the flip side of that is that your voice at some point may become the voice in their head that keeps saying they aren’t good enough. So check your tone. Encourage your little one to be the best they can and to always rise up to the highest of their individual potential but remember that you have no right to decide what that potential may or may not be.
Rather do it myself attitude
When your baby is trying really hard to put on a sock, do you wait and encourage them to try it out? Or are you always in such a tearing hurry that you snatch the sock and put it on them yourself? If your answer is the latter, then it is no surprise that your child would much rather relax and let you do the work than attempt to try to learn how to do things themselves. Remember that the need to be independent is present in all children and if your child doesn’t display it, you need to self-introspect and figure out why.
Your identity has merged with your child
Do you find yourself using words like ‘we’ when you describe your children’s achievements? When you have become so taken in by your role as a parent and merged your identity with your child, there is a good chance it isn’t doing your child too much good. The pressure of having to fulfil your expectations and the knowledge that it means so much to you might crush their risk taking abilities. Have a life outside of your children and let your children know by your actions that they are not the centre of anyone’s universe.
What you always wanted
A clear sign of over-parenting is to foist your dreams on your child. If you always wanted to learn to play the guitar, join a guitar class. But don’t insist that your child joins one. You can’t live your life through your children especially if that stands in the way of their own dreams.
Do you manage your child’s time so much that there is no free time for them to just be bored? Most children who are bored end up thinking of creative ways to spend their energy which you will be depriving them off if you over-parent them and pack their schedules with structured activities.
Just take a deep breath and try to connect with the child inside you. Ask yourself what you would have liked your parents to do and try to be that fun parent with your child. Remember that a happy child is almost always successful. If you concentrate on raising a happy, independent child, you won’t indulge in over-parenting.