Over-parenting is an easy habit to fall into. Read this blog to learn how to stop over-protecting your child and start helping him flourish!
Our children are our entire world. We love them. We want to protect them. But how far is too far? As our children become preteens and teenagers, it can be extremely difficult to let them spread their wings. We ask ourselves questions like have I done enough? What if she gets hurt? Did I teach him the right things? Have I prepared her for the hard moments? All this worry often leads to over-parenting.
If you’re reading this blog, there’s no doubt that you’re a great parent—you obviously care! But if you’re struggling with these questions and letting go, we’ve got some tips for you.
Here’s how to stop over-parenting and start helping your children flourish:
Let them learn.
Remember how excited you were when your little one spoke her first word? Or took her first steps? Take that with you into the older years! Independence builds a child’s self-worth, self-esteem, and promotes motivation and perseverance.
Children who practice autonomy have better social skills, more self-discipline, and a higher sense of belonging. When parents do too much for their children, they stunt their child’s development in more ways than one.
Decide today to give your child more space to learn.
Remember: Mistakes are the best teachers!
Making mistakes is essential to child and adolescent development. It can be tempting to step in and stop a child from making a wrong choice or failing at something, but it’s really important to let them learn from their bad choices and failures.
Mistakes help children develop wisdom and good judgment and improve effort and motivation. Here are some ways to help your child learn from his or her mistakes:
- Tell them you don’t expect perfection.
- Remind them that your love is unconditional.
- Avoid rescuing them from their mistakes.
- Share stories about your own mistakes, the consequence, and what you learned.
- Encourage them to take responsibility and not pass the blame.
- Don’t bring up their past mistakes.
- Praise them for admitting their mistakes.
- Teach them how to apologize.
Teach and lead, don’t protect and over-correct.
When we choose to teach and lead our children, we are helping them develop problem-solving skills. They will need these skills for their first overnight camp experience, first job, college, friendships, and marriage.
Do these things to foster good problem-solving skills:
- Help them brainstorm solutions
- Don’t bail them out of certain situations
- Avoid replacing lost or broken items immediately
- Let them resolve their own issues with friends
Exploring and being alone is okay.
Exploration is the key to creativity, self-awareness, and intelligence. Give your child some time to be by herself or alone with friends. It’s in these times that she will discover her likes and dislikes, hobbies and interests, and who she wants to be.
Signing your child up for summer camp is a great way to encourage her to explore in a fun and safe environment.
Let them choose their friends.
This can be a tough one for many parents, but here’s some good news: when you develop a close, healthy relationship with your child, he is much more likely to choose good friends. That won’t always be the case, of course. He will probably have one or two friends that you won’t approve of.
Choosing the wrong friends is part of independence, making mistakes, and exploring. You can rest easy and feel confident that your child will eventually make the best decision—after all, you’ve prepared him for it!