If you want children to keep their feet on the ground, put some responsibility on their shoulders. ~Abigail Van Buren
Let me ask you a question, and before you say I’m crazy, just think about it for a minute. Are we too hands on as parents in this day and age? Honestly, prior to reading an article in a prominent parenting magazine, I had never asked myself that or even thought it was a possibility. After reading this article though, I had to ask myself if maybe there’s some truth to the argument. Maybe we do spend too much time running ourselves ragged for our kids. Now I’m not saying that spending time with our kids and family isn’t important, because it is. However, not all time spent is quality time…at least that much I think most people can agree on. Is it possible to focus so much on your kids and what you think they need that it’s unhealthy for you personally and maybe even for them? Can we attach ourselves to the point that we hinder their development in to independent beings that can problem solve and make solid decisions? I have to say that I think yes, it is entirely possible because I believe I am guilty of doing this to some extent.
For me, I think that because I have always had a full-time job outside the home I feel like I need to be with my kids every possible free moment to compensate. Between evening homework sessions, shuttling my tween to and from extra-curricular activities, bath and reading time with my toddler, ensuring the family is fed, and weekends spend attending to household obligations and quality family oriented activities, I rarely get out and do something just for me alone or only with other adults (and by rarely I mean maybe like twice a year for two or three hours). I mean it’s no wonder I find myself stressed out and frustrated with the kids more than I’d like to be, more than I should be, for very trivial issues, and I have a hard time believing that I’m the only one.
When you really think about it maybe we are smothering our kids and as a result, ourselves. I know when I was my son’s age I went to play in the neighborhood with my friends every evening and was simply expected home by dark. I had no cell phone to keep tabs on me and evidently my mother didn’t believe that being out of her sight for a few hours would result in a severe injury, fatality, or kidnapping (or maybe she did and that’s why she kept letting me go again and again). What that did though, was free up a few hours for dear old mom to decompress from a day at work, get dinner ready, and just relax in peace for a few before giving my sister and I her undivided attention for the rest of the evening. What a concept right?
Why don’t more parents give their kids some breathing room now? I suppose there are many valid reasons; attachment parenting, too many criminals out there, bad influence by peers, and any number of other reasons. What I have to wonder though, is are we allowing ourselves to be too hands on as parents and creating an unhealthy result for our kids and ourselves? Do I have to make every single karate class or is missing one and getting my nails done forgivable? Where do you draw the line between being an attentive, nurturing parent and overkill?
What do you think? Is it possible to be too hands on as a parent or is that just the nature of today’s society and keeping kids safe and involved in the right activities?