By Ian Lewis:
Are you hyperparenting? Do you try to educate your child with only the best methods? Do you keep a careful eye on what your child listens to, watches and plays with? It’s really hard to admit that you’re being an over-controlling parent, but if you check any of the boxes above, you just might be a hyperparent. And for the sake of your children and yourself, it’s time to relax and stop this unhealthy practice. So, here’s how you can be a good yet relaxed parent.
Treat your kids with respect
Love is always a better guide for aiming your child in the right direction. Even though they made a mistake or broke your trust, scolding and spanking will not do anything positive. Try to have respect for your kids even though they are “just kids” by relaxing, communicating and trying to solve your problems together. Oftentimes, if your child acts up, it’s because they need freedom, love, true attention, and to be in charge of their own lives. Lead with compassion and your kids will imitate!
Shake off your expectations
Many parents have some expectations for their kids, no matter whether it’s school-, sports-, or profession-related. Or, they might want to shape their otherwise playful and carefree child into a more studious and hardworking individual even if that goes against their nature. The sooner you get rid of these expectations, the sooner you will be able to celebrate your child as he/she is, and create a healthy and strong bond.
Let them learn from their mistakes
Allow your children to make their own decisions. Give them a chance to be kids, ride a bike, play with friends, explore nature and — most of all — make mistakes. Watch out for dangers, but realize that there are things you can’t teach them. Kids need real-life experiences in order to learn, so it’s very important to let them try, retry, fail and succeed on their own.
Stop being overprotective
There are so many amazing experiences kids miss out on because their parents are scared for their safety. For instance, many parents are against martial arts classes even though they are amazing for a child’s mental, physical and social development. However, if you find a good dojo that offers Kung Fu for kids, your child will be perfectly safe while developing many useful skills and working towards emotional and physical health. If they don’t like the sport, they can quit, but they most likely will find it super fun and perfectly safe. Unless you let them enroll, you will never know what kind of potential your kid has.
Learn to say yes
Your instincts might be to say no to most things your child asks, but that’s very controlling and stressful for both of you. Provide your child with some healthy freedom. That doesn’t mean you don’t need any boundaries and rules (because you do need those), but it does mean you should think before automatically saying no. Maybe reconsider your decision or try to find a compromise.
Every day you need to find time to acknowledge and focus on your child, not achievements at school, accomplishments at practice or certain qualities they have. Simply focus on having daily positive interactions instead of turning every conversation into a lesson. It can be very hard to make these changes because parents are imperfect and oftentimes slaves to habits that stem from their own childhoods. But, don’t worry when you make a mistake. Apologize if you break your child’s trust and move on. If you findone-on-onecommunication with your child difficult, find a different method. Many kids prefer texting, so you can text to say how much you loved their recital or watching them do well at practice. Or you can maintain an email exchange concerning anything and everything from school dances to dinner plans.
Enjoy every minute of your kid’s childhood and let him/her do the same. It might sound like a cliché, but they do grow up so quickly. Try to make every moment a good one since you’ll certainly regret turning all those potentially happy moments into stains in your memory by being an overprotective and controlling parent.
Ian Lewis is a father, writer and fitness nut. He’s passionate about many forms of strength training and has spent years lifting all kinds of heavy objects. His favorite quote: “There are three ways to ultimate success: The first way is to be kind. The second way is to be kind. The third way is to be kind.” Find him on Twitter.