Are you worried that your child might be too dependent? Do they seem to need so much help and direction, even when it's not necessary?
Do you feel like you're always telling them what to do or how to act, instead of letting them figure things out for themselves? If so, there may be an underlying cause...
The word "over-parenting" can have different meanings depending on the person using it.
One definition might be of a parent who takes care of everything their child needs without asking them to contribute in any way.
Another might say that over-parenting is when parents give their children more responsibility than they are ready for; responsibility that the child/children cannot handle because they don't know enough about certain subjects, however, the type of over-parenting we are talking about here is when parents do things for their child so frequently, or so intensively, that it prevents the child from learning how to do things at all.
This kind of over-helping can create a sense in children that they can't really handle life on their own.
They may grow up to be overly dependent on their parents, expecting them to take care of everything they need.
They may seem needy and demanding to friends and family members, because they're always asking for help with even small things.
Sometimes it seems like the only way we know how to express love is through action (being helpful in some way), however, taking this approach does our children a disservice.
We need to give them the chance to figure things out for themselves, so they can learn how to both problem-solve and be independent.
So what can we do to raise our children without overparenting them?
Create a plan to encourage your child's independence
Start by taking small steps - if you feel like your child needs help too much of the time, don't worry about it all at once. Instead, pick one small thing that they sometimes struggle with and try giving them space to solve it on their own.
This can be anything from making their bed to tying their shoes.
Set age-appropriate limits on how much help your child can ask for
You might consider telling your 3-year-old that they can't ask for help with certain things that they find difficult or frustrating - the aim will be to teach them that there are some things they have to figure out on their own, even if they're having trouble with it.
Most of the time, this will be in reference to any tasks that your child has already proved they are completely capable of doing without supervision and are choosing instead to rely on the adult to fix it for them.
Encourage your child to try new things, and praise them when they do something independently
Even though you may want to swoop in and save your child from certain horrors (like the big slide, or the dark), they need to learn how to deal with these things on their own. They can't do this if someone is always rescuing them.
The likelihood if them throwing a tantrum is relatively high, but, in reality, this will be short-lived when they figure out that this is something they can do without help.
Praise your child's achievements when they use their problem solving skills
If they figure out how to put their toys away by themselves, or get dressed without any help, make sure they know you're proud of them - this will encourage them to try things on their own in the future.
Your child will need to know that they can ask for your help when they really, truly need it - obviously you don't want them to feel like nobody is there for them.
If asking for help becomes a habit (in cases of over-parenting), it becomes hard for children to learn how to solve problems on their own.
Think twice when your child gets upset
Sometimes independent thinking and problem solving doesn't work, and children become upset because something didn't go their way.
As a parent, it's tempting to want to soothe them and make them feel better. But this can actually prevent them from learning how to cope with difficult emotions on their own.
When your child is upset, try to give them some space and time to calm down.
Once they've calmed down, you can talk through the situation with them to see what could have been done differently.
This will be much more effective than if you had simply picked them up and consoled them while they were still upset.
Listen carefully when your child complains, so they know you're paying attention
If your child tells you something is wrong, take them seriously! Even if it doesn't seem like a big deal to you, they may feel very upset about it.
Listening carefully and then trying to help her fix the problem will show them that you care about them and want to help them whenever possible.
Encouraging your child to be independent is one of the best things you can do as a parent - it will help them throughout their life, in both big and small ways. By following these tips, you can raise a can-do child without overparenting them.
Teach them responsibility to encourage independence
If your child is acting overly-dependent, you need to start giving them the responsibility of looking after themselves without doing everything for them. If they aren't able to handle it on their own yet, encourage them by having patience with them and showing them that you trust they're capable of figuring it out.
This will help your child learn not only how to do things on their own but also that they can problem-solve effectively.
They may seem needy and demanding at first, simply because they're expecting others to take care of everything for them; however, if you give it time (without hovering) they'll eventually figure out how to do things on their own - even when you're not around!
Parents are well aware that over-parenting can have significant long term effects on their child.
This is because when parents need to rescue or take care of their children, they won't be able to teach them how to solve problems themselves. Instead, it becomes a pattern for the child where they rely heavily on others in order to get things done.
It's important not only for their independence but also the way they'll feel about themselves in adulthood if we help our kids grow into self sufficient adults by following these tips given above.
Let us know what you think in the comments section!