I just read an article in the Guardian titled “Parents will raise happier children ‘if they put them second to their marriage'” Interesting. The title, of course, drew me in.
Then they started to talk about not being that ‘helicopter’ parent. Yup, I can agree with that. A lot of the helicopter parents aren’t allow their children to make mistakes or to grow resilience. Okay, I can go along with this idea.
They said, don’t cram their free hours with tons of stuff, from tutoring to sports to music and beyond. Again, I agree. Like all human beings, we need some down time to process everything that comes at us, we need time to play and we need time to do the not so fun stuff (like learning to clean) in our lives. So far, so good.
The rest of the article goes on to explain why doing the above would be a good thing, not only for your child, but also for you and your partner. Too much focus on your child puts too much pressure on them to be your everything and to be ‘successful’, thus raising their anxiety levels to an unhealthy state.
So, what’s the happy medium? How much time should a child be spending on those extra activities? How much should a parent check on how the child is doing? What happens if your kid is about to fail? That’s something that no one seems to talk about in this article. But I do think it’s out there. What I teach in my parenting classes, Positive Discipline, is that you want to raise you child looking at what qualities and strengths you want them to have at 25. If you think of a list of those traits, then think about what a child needs to get there…this can be your path forward. If I had a child, I would want them to know how to problem solve, to be kind, to be caring and to have a work ethic – all of which comes from some training but also from making mistakes and the learning that follows.
So, how do you parent well and still allow your relationships to thrive?