Too many of us overparent.
We all want our kids to crawl first, walk first, speak first, read first, be the best athlete, finish first in everything, play a musical instrument, have the lead in the school play, win a pageant, be named the best-looking and funniest, finish in the top 1 in their class, and have 857 trophies (none that say “Participation”) in their bedroom.
Our society has come to believe we can control our children’s futures by controlling every aspect of their childhood.
Raising a child isn’t a competition. It isn’t about winning and losing. It’s about preparing kids who have the ability to make their own decisions when they enter adulthood.
To learn how to make good decisions, they have to experience what happens when they make a bad one.
A high number of activities, tutors, traveling teams, does not indicate future success in life.
We are failing our kids.
Not by failing to provide them opportunities, but by providing them far too many.
To be a good parent we need to give our children the gift of failure.
It’s okay to strike out.
The world won’t end if you’re cut from the basketball team.
You don’t have to play 75 summer softball games as a 3rd grader to be successful in life.
Eating school lunch is fine. Mom doesn’t have to bring fast food to school.
C’s on your report card aren’t the end of the world (if you did your best).
Not being the most popular person in high school isn’t a bad thing. It’s probably a good thing.
Being first isn’t nearly as important as being a gracious winner. And even more importantly, a gracious loser.
We do everything in our power to keep our kids from feeling badly.
We try to protect them from: teachers, illnesses, bad grades, tap water, demanding coaches, criticism, and high expectations.
If they fail, we feel like we’ve failed.
Except that’s not true.
We are holding them back by pushing them forward too quickly.
Parents want 3 year olds to act 5. And 5 year olds to act 10. And 10 year olds to act 16.
It’s too much, too fast.
They need a childhood.
They need some free time.
Kids should ride their bikes, eat dirt, drink out of a garden hose, get yelled at by coaches, pick their own teams, and solve their own disagreements.
They need mom, dad, their stepparents, and grandparents to allow them to find out what happens when you turn in a late assignment.
And it’s not having mom call and blame the teacher.
And it’s not the end of the world.
This TIME Magazine article explains this concept much better than I can. The Growing Backlash Against Overparenting.