Although it is clear that parents who are involved in their children’s education contribute to their well-being and success, overparenting can do more harm than good. Parents can be a source of support for their children, or they can create frustrating obstacles to success. Although parents are well intentioned, the dangers of overparenting, sometimes referred to as “helicopter parenting,” can include many negative effects on children. When parents are too controlling, or micro-manage their children’s educational responsibilities, we run the risk of inspiring lower levels of perceived autonomy and competence. In other words, our children may feel anxiety if they don’t feel capable of doing things on their own.
Research Documented Effects of Overparenting on Young Adult Children:
- Higher levels of ineffective coping skills
- Greater levels of stress and anxiety
- More self-reported problems by children
- Higher levels of depression
- Lower levels of reported life satisfaction
It’s important to ask ourselves, “Am I over-involved in my child’s education?” The following tips can help you strike a balance of positive, supportive involvement in our children’
s education without over-involvement:
- Don’t do your child’s homework. Although parents can be a great resource for extra help and encouragement, homework is a time for your child to learn to initiate tasks and self-monitor their understanding of topics being taught. Rewards for independent homework completion, and praising effort are encouraged.
- Don’t refer to your child’s activities as shared responsibilities. For example, avoid saying things such as, “We have homework to do tonight,” or “We have a test coming up this week.” Using such language implies that your child is not the one responsible for planning and completing these tasks. This also sends the message that you may not view your child as capable of remembering and completing these things independently. Your child benefits from taking ownership of his or her responsibilities and the successes that may come from that effort!
- Don’t communicate too frequently. In this day and age it is all too easy to be in contact with our children. Multiple phone calls or texts throughout the day can leave your child feeling nagged and can instill a sense of learned helplessness.
- Do set realistic goals. Based on your child’s age and abilities, set developmentally appropriate expectations for behavior. While your child may not currently be able to manage their homework independently, you should work with them to teach these skills and praise efforts toward independence.
- Do make a plan. One way to help your child gain independence is to assist them in making lists and schedules. Once the schedule is outlined, your child can monitor their progress. You can praise progress as well as independence!
- Do step back. Let your child take responsibility for meeting expectations or accepting the natural consequences for not meeting them. Remember, setting high expectations sends the message that you believe they can meet them!
Now do about a 3 sentences summary for the reader.
It’s important to remember that well-intentioned involvement can sometimes cross into overparenting, which can have dangerous consequences for our children. Keeping these recommendations in mind can help us strike a balance of providing support while fostering responsibility and autonomy!