I've said it before but sometimes parents help their kids too much. Yes, we are there to be their guardians, their mentors and their teachers but we can’t live their lives for them. Our job is to help them grow and gain their own experiences. And it's important not to overdo it.
In my opinion, here are a few things that we should never do for our kids.
1. Talk For Them
It all starts with those innocent moments when a child is asked, “Oh, what is your name?” and we, the parents, respond, “It’s Billy.” It would be nice if this habit ended once our child learns to speak but no, we manage to give answers even for our children everywhere: in stores, at home, and in other places.
And what do we have in the end? We take from our kids the chance to answer for themselves. You can give a hint to a kid about what to say if they ask you to. But you definitely should never talk for them.
2. Be Their Friend
Today, many parents try to become friends with their kids and they don’t want their kids to have any secrets from them. Now, I can understand this completely, but let’s look at this a little deeper. What is a friend? It’s a person you can talk to on equal terms. Yes, you can tell a friend anything.
However, parents have a different role: they care about us and love us. There is no need to try to be very close friends. Let kids look for their own friends among people their own age. We are there for when kids need love, support and guidance.
3. Help Too Much
2 and 3 year-old children can already put on and take off different clothes by themselves, wash cups, and put dirty clothes in the washing machine. More than that, at this age, children really want to do it by themselves.
And what do we do? We dress them almost until they get married and we support this behaviour with arguments like, “He can’t do it!”
We feed them, we dress them and we don’t let them experiment. Then we're surprised when a teenager is untidy or doesn’t want to help around the house.
4. Choose Their Tastes
I really want my kids to love Metallica. But they don't. It's just something I need to accept. You see, we often try to impose our musical tastes, reading loves and clothing styles on our children. The problem is, it diminishes a child’s individuality. And in many cases, it leads to a protest where kids do the complete opposite.
And I don't want them listening to Bieber out of revenge.
5. Choose Their Hobbies
Along the same lines, we often think we know what hobbies or interests are going to give our child the best future. We want them to play the violin or football or be a scout and sign them up with little consultation.
Problem is, it's their life and they are individuals. Forcing things upon kids never ends well. Just their interests and inclinations and let them develop in this field.
6. Choose Their Presents
When a child can already speak, they have the right to choose what they want as gifts when asked. And it doesn’t have to be another T-shirt or a toy that is supposed to develop them educationally. If you want them to have something particular, you get it for them.
Of course, it's not always possible to let them choose. But giving them the opportunity gives children the most important thing: the ability to make decisions, and to face consequences. Such skills can never hurt in adult life.
Parents have an incredibly tough job - develop our kids into the next generation of successful adults. However, sometimes doing less means doing more.