Are overbearing parenting behaviours having a detrimental impact on our children?

Being a parent is tough. Our children mean the world to us, and naturally, we’re always worrying about the dangers they’re exposed to, their prospects in adulthood, and all the ways we might be screwing up. First of all, if you’re worried about your kids, you’re already doing great! However, there’s a point where some parents can become too overbearing, and potentially end up doing more harm than good. Here are some of the overbearing parenting behaviours you need to be wary of.

Let them experience risk…

Yes, it’s our job to protect our children. However, like with anything good we can do for our kids, there’s a limit. Modern day culture has led to a generation of parents who see danger at every turn. Yes, we should teach them to keep away from strangers, and shouldn’t let them play after dark, but you don’t want to wind up insulating them from healthy, risk-taking behaviours. If you’re never letting them go on school trips, or even playing in the woods from the fear of them being out of your sight, you could be making your child more susceptible to phobias that will restrict them in adult life. In some kids, it can make them resentful of your authority, and more likely to try really dangerous behaviours. Pretty sure that was the message of Finding Nemo.


We can sometimes come to the rescue too quickly…

This is closely linked to our first point, but comes a little later. Many psychologists claim that the modern generation of millennials hasn’t developed the same skills as generation X, due to their parents constantly swooping in and taking care of their problems for them. Obviously, there are times when we should definitely do this, especially when they’re young. However, this also weakens or totally removes the need for them to navigate the various hardships that life throws at us, and figure out ways around problems by themselves. Problem solving is like a muscle that gets stronger the more we exercise it. Sometimes, we need to step back, see how our children fare in the face of challenges, and in turn equip them with the skills they need to deal with problems by themselves. The sooner you take care of this, the more competent your kids will be in adult life.

We can sometimes congratulate them too easily…

Boosting self-esteem has been a staple of western education since the 80s, born from a fear that the baby boomer generation didn’t think highly enough of themselves to achieve their full potential. This “everyone’s a winner” mentality has had some positive effects, but lately it’s been found to have a lot of accidental consequences. When they’re young, the fact that kids are always going to receive praise can eliminate the need for hard work and high achievement. When they figure out it’s only mum and dad who are raving about their achievements, they begin to doubt our objectivity, and the knowledge that all that praise isn’t really linked to reality can make them devalue it. Praise their achievements, but tone it down if it’s something they’re just meant to be doing.


Disclosure: This is a partnered post.