Today, most families have two parents working to pay the bills and many parents tend to unknowingly “overprotect” their children. In many ways, this is not positive for the child or the parent. 

The rate of anxiety in children has skyrocketed. Parents need to learn to say ‘no’ more often to their children. Children need to play independently, whether swimming, climbing a tree or another activity.  If parents overcompensate, this leaves their young ones without self-esteem or confidence. For example, if a parent is afraid of water and does not know how to swim, they should not inflict their fear upon their children. The cycle must be broken. These days some parents are literally robbing their children of their sense of autonomy. If a child tries to do something for the first time and it does not work out, a parent should encourage them to try again.  Most likely, the child will succeed the second or third time, which will allow him/her to feel confident and proud of their accomplishment.

Some teachers feel that due to parents being so overprotective and busy defending their child, that the teacher becomes discouraged from building a bond with parents. A high percentage of parents attend Parents’ Night for elementary students, but the number drops significantly for parents who have children in high school. This too, makes the child feel unimportant. It would be beneficial to have parents accompany their child to a Parents’ Night meeting. It would also be helpful for parents to be firm, yet loving and supportive.  Team sports are useful in that they teach children to be competitive yet able to demonstrate true sportsmanship as sometimes they will be losers, not always winners.

Many teachers agree that some parents are not engaged in their child’s homework or that other parents actually complete the child’s homework for them. This does not help the child to learn, nor does it help the parent’s relationship with their child. It would be advantageous for parents to take time to read with their children before bed, which can also serve as wonderful bonding or snuggle time to let their children know how much they cherish them.  When children learn math, parents can use fun games to help them learn, which is much more fun than sitting at a table.

Many parents who do not have the time to spend with their children feel that by “protecting” them, they are demonstrating their love. The “act of protecting” takes much less time than taking the time to play with them, read to them or participate in a sport with them which takes patience and energy.  Parents need to go back to basics. Let children be children, praise them when warranted, and congratulate them on a task well done.  Encouraging a child is like planting a seed and watching it grow into a beautiful flower.