Monday, February 04, 2013

Are You An Overprotective Parent?

I was reading an article with this title: Why Parents Need to Let Their Children Fail

It was written by a teacher and she was sharing some examples of how parents overprotect their children. She starts off with a story of how she encountered a student who had submitted a plagiarized paper. She was going to give that student a zero for the paper plus disciplinary action. Then the student's mother calls and admits that she was the one that wrote her daughter's paper. She did her daughter's homework because her daughter was stressed out.
Homework Time

I know some of you are shaking your head going 'tsk, tsk, how can the mother do that?" Let's not be quick to judge others. I'll be first to admit that I sometimes do things to "pick up my children's slack". Just the other day my daughter called me from school to say she left a book behind. I wanted to be a good mom and so took the book to her. Anyway, this article was a good reminder that helping our children isn't always helpful.

Here are some excerpts from that article: 
This is what we teachers see most often: what the authors term "high responsiveness and low demandingness" parents." These parents are highly responsive to the perceived needs and issues of their children, and don't give their children the chance to solve their own problems. These parents "rush to school at the whim of a phone call from their child to deliver items such as forgotten lunches, forgotten assignments, forgotten uniforms" and "demand better grades on the final semester reports or threaten withdrawal from school." One study participant described the problem this way:

I have worked with quite a number of parents who are so overprotective of their children that the children do not learn to take responsibility (and the natural consequences) of their actions. The children may develop a sense of entitlement and the parents then find it difficult to work with the school in a trusting, cooperative and solution focused manner, which would benefit both child and school....
But children make mistakes, and when they do, it's vital that parents remember that the educational benefits of consequences are a gift, not a dereliction of duty. Year after year, my "best" students -- the ones who are happiest and successful in their lives -- are the students who were allowed to fail, held responsible for missteps, and challenged to be the best people they could be in the face of their mistakes.
 I think many times we have the misconception that we are a bad parent if we do not help our children. Let us take a moment to reflect upon the consequences of our actions. Are we crippling our children or helping them stand on their own 2 feet?

We must remember that failure and mistakes are stepping stones to success. We must teach this to our children too. When talking about failures, Thomas Edison comes to my mind. How many times did he fail before he invented the light bulb? Some say 1000, some say 10 000. Don't know which one but it is still a lot of failures. However, he didn't see them as failures. He learned something from each experiment.


  • We all want our children to succeed. However, failure is part of the formula to success. 
  • Encourage your children to solve their own problems. Let them know you have confidence in them. 
  • Do not underestimate your child's ability.
  • Helping doesn't always make you a good parent. Not helping doesn't always mean you are a bad parent.
  • Don't sweat the small stuff.
  • It's not about you, it's about them.
  • Love doesn't mean doing everything for them, solving all their problems or shielding them from bad choices. 
  • I'm not saying don't help your children at all. I'm saying be wise in how we help our children.
So, are you an overprotective parent? Do you agree that we should let our children fail sometimes?

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  1. When we see our children struggling, we can't help it. We just go to their rescue. It's just who we are as parents.

    1. That is true. That is why sometimes, we have to stop and think if our actions are doing more harm than good.


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