Let me first start by saying that I am in no way a parenting expert, if fact, there are more days than not that I lose my patience and behalf like a Maniac Mommy. This is just my opinion based on constant interaction with my eight little test subjects.
Here is my opinion in a nutshell. Kids are capable of WAY more than we give them credit for and we are, for the most part, holding them back from their preschool potential. I’m not suggesting that we as parents go old school militant on our children, but I do wonder if this “new age” way of parenting is doing more harm than good.
We have all heard it before; Our generation is very protective of our children. Some things are clear like five point harnesses until grade one (yes, I rode in the back window of my family’s car too), bike helmets (which I wholeheartedly support) and every child making the soccer team, but there is a much bigger way we are over parenting. We just don’t give our children enough credit.
What kind of harm are we doing when we hesitate or stop our children from trying something new because we are afraid they will fail or that they are not ready? How could we possible know they are not ready if we don’t let them try? Whether we stop our two-year old from going on the jungle gym alone or keep our three year old in a crib or diaper, we are giving them the same message “you’re not ready for this yet”. We are in every aspect holding them back, even though we may have the best intentions.
I’ve be accused of being too relaxed in my parenting or even “forcing” my kids to grow up too fast. To this I can only shrug and try to not judge other peoples parenting. I must say though, for as “relaxed” as I am, my children continue to surprise me. This week I decided to see if my three-year old could vacuum and dust her own bedroom. To my surprise, she worked that giant vacuum perfectly and loved every minute of it. She puts away her own laundry, empties the dishwasher (her own dishes) and sets the table too. This makes me realize that I wasn’t giving my oldest daughter, who is now five, enough credit when she was three!
In my daycare I had a baby whose mother was so anxious that her one year old refused to eat solid food. She brought her baby girl to my home complete with a box of baby food and her “special” spoon, which was the only one she would eat off of. Her mother said she tried everything but this baby just wouldn’t even try to eat solid food. I took one look at that chubby little face and knew she hadn’t tried “everything”. For morning snack I placed puffs and cubed fruit on her tray, which she threw on the floor. I gave her nothing else. At lunch I placed cooked and cubed carrots, fruit and crackers on her plate. This time she did not throw it on the floor. I did not try to force her to eat, I simply went on with my other duties. After about 15 minutes she started to eat the food on her tray. Every last bite. Her mother was elated and said I was a “miracle” worker. She asked my secret to which I said ” I didn’t offer her anything else, when she got hungry enough, she ate”. Not exactly what some would consider good parenting skills. How dare I “starve” that poor baby! Think what you may, but that baby was not eating solid food because her mother never gave her the chance to try.
I can say the same thing for potty training, picking up toys, writing their own name, getting dressed, putting own their own coat and shoes and just about everything else. Your preschooler can do it, they just need a little encouraging and to be left alone to try.
So I guess that my point is: “Don’t deny your children the joy and pride of learning something new for fear of the bumps and bruises they may receive from trying” . Bumps and bruises go away, self doubt does not.
If you think you may be an overprotective, over-parenter, check out this great article : http://www.consistent-parenting-advice.com/overprotective-parents.html