i recently listened to this podcast episode (found here) called untangling overparenting by christine and asha on the edit your life podcast. it was really good and helped to untangle some societal pressures and reasons why overparenting or helicopter parenting is the new norm.
the few things that really stuck out to me from the podcast were:
- parents are now older, more educated, have careers before kids, and are having fewer children.
- parents treat raising kids like milestones or “report cards” in parenting.
- two negative things that can happen to kids who are overparented are: it stunts their internal motivation and ability to achieve tasks, and they lie to their parents more.
- the forums/communities that parents create perpetuate and exacerbate overparenting.
there were a lot more things discussed in the podcast but those were the things that really stuck out to me (an overparenter). i felt like #1 was a thing before i listened to the podcast, but hearing someone else say it just kind of validated my thoughts. some of the parenting problems i’ve come across are those that are old school and believe in doing it the old ways when research clearly shows it isn’t good for kids or there is a better way. since i only have c, all of my attention and care go towards her which is also why i overparent (imho).
another point the podcast discussed was that parents are working before having kids. which means they are tackling parenting like spreadsheets, check lists, and promotions. in the work force you have tangible goals that you set and and continue to strive for. it’s self-motivated as well as competition driven. i totally get that! as a check-list person myself…that is EXACTLY what i love to do. (check out this post here) parents research, make a plan, and then tackle the plan or goal. it takes the romance out of parenting and letting things be as they are~ but that is the new trend we’ve been seeing around us. the other things parents do is compare and compete so that their kids are doing the best and checking off things on the parent’s lists. the kids are a living, walking, breathing report card for parents.
apparently when kids have overbearing parents, many negative things take place. 1) they can’t think for themselves 2) they lose the ability to problem solve and think creatively 3) they get easily frustrated with difficult tasks and give up. 4) they lie to their parents more. i personally do not want c to lie to me. i don’t want her to be so scared of messing up or disappointing us that she has to lie about what she really wants. this last one really hit home to me. i i talked to mike about this one and he kind of sighed. he said he’s been the type of parent (described in the podcast) where you tell the kid exactly what to do, where to do it, what colors to use, and how to present it. it’s how he works in his career since he’s a project manager (of sorts) and so that’s how he tackles things in our lives and with parenting. SO INTERESTING RIGHT?? Career and education have such a huge influence.
and finally, parents make it hard on OTHER parents and exacerbate the problem. the example in the podcast were parent forums through the school website. parents can talk to each other and also find out information about classes, events, school developments, etc. and that over involvement is what is hurting our kids. when i was growing up we got a newsletter and parents went to PTA meetings (not mine tho). this was the extent of the knowledge parents had unless the talked to each other or the administrators directly. apparently these days the really intense involvement by parents on the forums create an environment where kids feel overwhelmed, over pressured, and just stretched beyond their limits. they cannot meet the demands of parents!
the problem is…there is no solution. unless ALL the parents decide not to overparent… you’re kinda stuck. not being super involved means you look absentee. the expert on the podcast suggested that parents still be involved and present, but not micromanaging and overly directive. give the kids space, give the kids a chance to grow and figure things out on their own. you’re always there watching and supporting~ but you’re not the project manager for every area of their lives.
where does that leave me? sigh. i’m not sure. i’m an intense person and overparenter~ sooo~ as c grows, i’ll have to make conscious decisions to let her figure things out on her own. let her make mistakes and learn from them (this one will be sooo hard). and try not to nag her all day errr day about the “right” way to clean/do homework/breathe/live life.
if you’re an overparenter like me, i suggest listening! i found it really helpful and eye opening. xo