“The way we treat our children directly impacts what they believe about themselves.”
– Ariadne Brill, Parenting Educator
According to the Cambridge Dictionary, “Over parenting” is defined as an act of excessive involvement by parents in the lives of their children, so that they try to help with or control everything that happens to the child. As parents everyone have an innate impulse to ensure the child’s comfort and prosperity. But unfortunately, it often results in overindulgence in the child’s life. There is a strong distinction between being a proactive parent and being an overly involved parent. Parents, in trying to be supportive and protective they end up micro-managing the kid’s actions.
Indeed, it is very important for a parent to build a close emotional bond with the kid. Like the British writer CS Lewis said “Children are not a distraction from more important work. They are the most important work”. Parents will have to spend more time with their kids, help them take decisions, be supportive during hard times and guide them through morals and values. But the problem arises when they overdo their role and completely refute the child’s agency and capability to do things and take decisions.
Perhaps experiences of growing up through hard times, make parents develop their own ideas of how they want to raise their children. They either impose their aspirations on their kids or are just over-protective and overly-involved over their child’s actions. It is a very natural desire of every parent wanting their child to be safe and prosperous in all the facets of his/her life. So, they ensure that they provide the child everything as best as they can and be cautious that he/she stays away from any harm. Apparently, this nature to over-parent stems from a certain anxiety of the parent which makes them intolerant of not being able to witness the child fail or get hurt.
The major harm of over parenting is hurting the child’s confidence to perceive his/her ability to do things. While teaching the kid to ride a bicycle, to cross a road, to buy groceries, to pay bills, to choose cloths, to identify skills, to build a science project etc. is the responsibility of a parent, over indulging in every move of the kid would rather break his/her confidence making them feel that they aren’t competent enough to do these things. For instance, a parent choosing to escort the kid daily when he/she is riding a bicycle is actually an act of undermining to kid’s capability to ride safely and independently. While helping the kid make right decisions is the responsibility of the parent, they should also make sure that the kid reaches his/her fullest potential by exploring new ideas, ways and opportunities. This is not possible by undermining the kid’s confidence and capability to make wise decisions independently.
Being overprotective might help the kid stay away from harm and prevent him/her from committing any mistake. But failure teaches them a lot as on how to do things better and act wiser from the experiences gained. This also refrains the child from facing the consequences of his/her own behavior. At times letting a child commit mistakes, fail and get hurt, is way to help him/her grow more productively as an adult.
This digital world has taught our kids how to aspire to be free. This aspiration might not always be a wrong thing, as long as it is being monitored by the parents. Kids do deserve to be treated with respect considering their individual potential by parents and others. For a child to confidently act and independently move ahead, parents are expected to provide them their love, support and guidance. Happy Parenting!