Thursday, May 20, 2010

When parents overdo it

Probably the most important lesson for a parent to learn is the principle of moderation. Everything that good parents naturally do for their children can easily be overdone. A good father, for example, certainly protects his child from danger; but if he is overzealous in doing so, she will never learn to protect herself from danger.  A good mother wants to teach her child new skills, but there is a very fine line between teaching and interfering in a way that actually prevents the child from learning. Of course there will be times when you must override your youngster’s wishes. There are good reasons, for instance, for not letting her experiment with poking wires into electrical outlets. On the other hand if she is making mud pies or building a tower with blocks and she lets you know that she can do it perfectly well without your assistance that is a good time for you to practice being a non intrusive parent.
No one can set forth a pat formula that tells you how much guidance you should give your child in any particular case. But children are usually not shy about rejecting unwanted help, and yours will no doubt let you know when you have strayed over the line that separates “just enough” from “too much.”  In this matter, as in so many areas of parenting, you can learn a good deal about your effectiveness by simply watching and listening to your child.