In this day of Amber Alerts, school lockdowns and random violence, there are a lot of reasons to keep your children close to your heart. It’s no wonder so many of us find ourselves becoming a little nervous when our kids are out of sight. But there’s a big difference between being careful and being a downright overprotective parent. When do you know you’ve crossed the line between being a concerned parent and becoming the Blackhawk Helicopter of the Parent World? Check out our top ways to tell if you’re an overprotective parent.
Top Ways to Tell You’re an Overprotective Parent
One of the earliest no-no’s is the limiting of risk-taking behavior. Children never learn their limitations, or their potential, when a parent is there to prevent learning through experience. A child who tumbles learning to walk learns their limits, but also learns to get back up again and do it for themselves. If you find yourself shrieking with fear every time your child looks longingly at that great climbing tree or a skateboard, it’s time to consider the fact that you’re an overprotective parent.
Injecting yourself into the classroom environment to micromanage your child’s progress has been proven by studies to have no net positive effect on your child’s academic trajectory. Judged against parents of similar children who have a more hands-off approach, the parentally over-involved children have no significant improvements. Let your child struggle through his own difficulties; rest easy you’re not single-handedly keeping him out of Harvard by doing it.
Like our hunter-gatherer ancestors, let your children, especially your teenagers, forage for their own food. When a child is still in Oshkosh, by all means, make them ants on a log… but leave your teenager to slather on the peanut butter when he’s cramming for his mid-terms. Family dinners are important, but giving your child the gift of culinary competence will improve his health for life.
Allow your child to be himself or herself. Don’t fill the nursery with tiny stethoscopes and clipboards because you’ve already picked out his major in grad school. Some kids are into what their parents hope for, but then again some are not. Let your child find his own extra-curricular activities and interests- he might just teach you something in the process.