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Live Your Life Not Your Kids!

over protectiveWell, school is back in session, homework assignments are being stuffed into backpacks daily, and here in California the dreaded “mission projects” are already being planned and very soon a due date will be given out too. Add in play dates, soccer, baseball, music, dance, karate etc.. and the days just slip away. The children are exhausted and we are too! Uh oh, their homework still isn’t done, but showers need to be taken, lunches packed, stories read, tuck in time (multiple times). Now, that is just an illustration of the elementary age child. We can probably apply this, with a few tweaks and modifications, to our middle schoolers and high schoolers, right?

My point here is that with the business and busyness of of parenting we have a tendency to “over parent,” don’t we. Oh, I say we, but, you know the mom and dad that I’m referring to, right. They make their high schooler’s lunch, they do his/her laundry, and they personally deliver their child’s doctor’s note to the PE teacher so little Jimmy won’t have to run (my apologies to all the Jimmies reading this).

What these parents may not realize they are doing is incredibly damaging, though they mean well? Overparenting, or, overdirecting, or overprotecting each produce the same problem for the child. They struggle to become independent of the parent. Is it any wonder so many millennials still live with their parents well into their twenties? We like to attribute it to finances, however, more likely it’s the chronic hand-holding that prevents them from understanding what to do and how to do it.

This really starts from an early age as we all have witnessed the parent reliving their youth through their child. This was all too often the case when I coached football. It was so painfully obvious, hard to watch, and I honestly felt sorry for the child and the parent. This always reminded me of what Carl Jung had to say about this type of parenting, that the greatest harm to their child was the parents own unfulfilled dreams.

There are two terrific books worthy of your time and energy that cover “over parenting” and allowing your child to fail (it’s not as bad as it sounds). If you’re curious read HERE