Parenting is one of the most important things we will ever do. It is a part of our lives that easily becomes all-consuming. When our children are born, it is essential for us to be there for them at all times, and to meet their needs as soon and as fully as possible.
Stop Managing Your Child’s Life
As they grow, they slowly become individuals and their needs will change from us being ever present to learning when to give them space. This can be difficult, and we often end up micromanaging their lives without realizing it. Here is why you shouldn’t constantly managing your child’s life, and what you can do to change this tendency.
When you fall into the trap of being an overprotective parent, it can be harmful to your child. Every infant needs our full attention as parents, but as they grow they desire to become individuals. Managing your child’s life to an extreme will cause undue stress to you, and build resentment in your child.
Children have a natural desire to become more independent as they grow older. It is what makes them capable of caring for themselves and their own families as adults. When we micromanage them, we stunt their growth. This causes harm to the person they will become in the future. They internally realize this and lose their respect for our place in their lives. This can cause an irreparable rift in the relationship.
How to Help Your Child Become Independent
Allowing your child to become independent is one of the greatest gifts you can give to them. From the time they are young, find small ways you can let them make age-appropriate decisions. As a toddler, let them choose what color shirt they would like to wear. Let your young child decide what vegetable they would like to eat for supper, and what game they want to play on family night.
“No matter how much time you spend reading books or following your intuition, you’re gonna screw it up. Fifty times. You can’t do parenting right.” – Alan Arkin
These may seem like small decisions, but the decisions will get bigger as your child grows. As time passes, they may want to choose how to style their room or cut their hair. A little more time, and they will be choosing their friendships and the activities they participate in. These baby steps all lead to a fully functioning adult who has the confidence and skill needed to make wise decisions with ease.
Always communicate with your child. Talk to them about how some decisions are a matter of personal preference, and how others are more important. Discuss how you have learned from your mistakes, and how you personally make the important decisions in your life.
How to Overcome Your Inner Control Freak
There is a control freak in each one of us, waiting to come out and assert itself. However, we need to subdue this inner control freak if we want to build a healthy relationship with our children, and to assist them in becoming well-rounded individuals. Remind yourself of the benefits of giving your child space. Discuss your struggles with other parents when you feel the inner control freak surfacing.
Raising emotionally healthy children requires that we stop controlling them, and allow age-appropriate independence. It can be difficult to step back and watch our children make their own choices, especially when we believe that they are making mistakes, but this is all a necessary part of them becoming the amazing people they are.