How Much Parenting is Too Much?

There is a fine line between being a model parent and an overbearing one. Good luck finding the goal post.

The popular phrases today are “helicopter parenting” and “lawnmower parenting,” both terms of derision said with harsh critical tones about your child’s friend’s mother at soccer practice, meant to define a parent who hovers over their child or clears their path of obstacles excessively.

But how much is too much? What is the point of excess in raising a child?

“It’s really a balance of how much do I help them, how much do I coach them, how much do I mentor them, and how much do I let them figure it out themselves?” says Houston parenting expert Randi Rubenstein, founder of Mastermind Parenting. There is no yes/no answer.

Age, she explains, has a lot to do with it. Try your patience though it might, youngsters need to be given the time and space to make mistakes and learn. A child may not have the best taste at combining separates for the day’s wardrobe, but it’s through failures that they learn. The bed might not be your idea of “made,” but it’s a learning opportunity. It’s hard to step back and let a child struggle through something you know could be done more efficiently. “As they get older and get into the teenage years, and you see all the pressure s and stresses they’ve got on themselves, that’s when you can step back in and be that supportive family member.”

Some kids will take more time and attention than a sibling, so there is no set standard for how much is too much. Parenting, says Rubenstein, is the ultimate personal development course because you face yourself over and over and over again, and when you find yourself too focused on what others think, it's time to stop and reassess.

If you’re struggling and looking for help, Randi’s website might offer suggestions.

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