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Break free of overparenting!
By Virginia R. Degner

Are you a helicopter parent who hovers over their children and manages their kids' academic work, extracurricular activities, free time, college choices and career paths.  I know that many parents do hover without realizing the long term repercussions of such behavior.  I've seen first hand the results of helicopter parenting the young people who become stressed out, and poorly equipped to think independently or handle the demands of being grownups.

Now why you say am I talking about this situation to parents of newborn's and toddler's? Why indeed! Because this is the time to be aware of the ease of becoming just such a parent.  Many of our children today are warehoused first in early child care, then pre-school, and when they go to school full time. Their day is fully accounted for. When the family gathers together in the afternoon and evening the children are often bundled off to dance lessons, sports such as little league, soccer, etc.  All these activities are good and parents want to be able to provide some of them for their children. But if you find yourself pushing them along. Telling them to hurry up they'll be late and otherwise "managing" their free time, be careful and stand back and watch out.

By being overly involved and overly protective you are robbing your child of their ability to make their own decisions on how they wish to spend their free time. Allow your child to chose only one after school activity, and allow them to hang out at home, relax, read a book of their choice or watch a movie etc. Sometimes a child needs to spend time with their own thoughts. I've sat with far to many children who cried and were worn out with all of the activities and expectations that their parents have put on them without realizing the impact it was having on their child.  In addition their child never learns to think for themselves not when their parent does all of the thinking for them. They become passive and often you think that it's great that  they are performing  and achieving to great heights, however, be sensitive to what is happening and observe your child's mood's and emotional ups and downs. Pull back from over parenting and allow your child to develop without the stress of meeting your expectations. Both you and your child will have a greater chance of having a truly successful child who can make their own decisions of what they want to become as adult, fully prepared for a successful life. Encourage and enjoy your child. He or she is unique and one of a kind.

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