Monday, June 20, 2011

Can we be "too perfect?"

I caught a short part of a segment on the "Today" show this morning that got me thinking. The subject was "over parenting" or being a "helicopter parent." Is there such a thing as protecting your children too much? With our constant need to please our children, are we setting them up for failure later in life? Do we celebrate mediocrity to the point of lowering our expectations for our children?

In my opinion, yes. Yes, I believe a lot of parents work so hard to make their children's lives easier that it really will set them up for failure later in life. Children need to learn how to succeed, absolutely, but they also need to know how to accept failure. I've talked about this before. I think it is a very important lesson for parents to learn. If you are so busy doing everything for your child, you teach them that they have to do nothing.

Doing daycare and being a preschool teacher, I see so many "mistakes" being made. Not intentionally, they are made from love, but what will the consequences be? Not that I am the perfect parent. Don't get me wrong. I hover sometimes when I shouldn't, but I believe I have a pretty good balance. I have seen the 5 year olds who can't wipe their own bottom, because their parents always do it for them. I've seen the toddler/preschooler with the pacifier because it would upset the child if it's taken away. Even if it hampers their development of speech, and completely messes up their teeth. I've seen kids bring candy bars into preschool for breakfast because Mom or Dad can't say  no. Or the many notes written from parents, who no doubt love their children, requesting that I make special exceptions or lower my expectations for their child. We want to keep our kids happy, because if the kids are happy, the parents are happy. Life is just easier. Please know that this is not an attack, just an observation.

I know a lot of parents might not agree with my opinion, and that's okay. We'll check back in 20 years and see how many children are still living at home, unemployed and unambitious. Maybe not? This whole parenting thing is pretty much a big experiment, right? We do the best that we can with what we the tools we have. I just want my children to know that although they mean the world to me, the world does not revolve around them. How do you feel about it?

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