If you’re a Tiger Mom pushing your child to succeed, or a Snowplow Parent clearing every obstacle out of your kid’s path, it’s time to change your attitude! Madeline Levine is the author of Teach Your Children Well. And she says too much parental involvement leaves kids stressed out, burned out, and depressed. It also prevents them from becoming capable adults, and increases their chances of drug and alcohol abuse. That’s because over-parenting sends kids the message that they can’t do anything on their own. Plus, kids who aren’t allowed to make mistakes in childhood - when the stakes are low – can be paralyzed by everyday adult decisions. What’s the fix?
First: Let your kids sink or swim early. If your child forgets about their fifth grade science project until the day before it’s due, resist the impulse to stay up half the night helping them. Because a bad day in grade school will teach them better work habits for the rest of their life.
Next: Let your kids do the things they enjoy. Our expert says that one major parental trap is pushing your kids towards activities that you think are appropriate. Your child will be better off taking the dance lessons they want, even if you’d rather they use the piano that’s already in your den.
And finally, remember this: A strong work ethic is more important than good grades. Bryan Caplan is the author of Why Being a Great Parent is Less Work and More Fun Than You Think. And he says it’s a good idea to give your child age-appropriate jobs - and reward them for completing them on their own. In addition to fostering self-discipline, making kids do their own homework, and finish their chores raises their self-esteem and teaches them they can succeed at anything without Mom and Dad.