Better for parents, too

I write often here about the dangers of overparenting, of doing for your kids what they can (and I would argue, should) do for themselves. Overparenting sends your student the message that you don’t have confidence in their abilities to succeed without you. It teaches them to sit back and wait for Mom or Dad to take care of everything. And it doesn’t prepare them for the independence of college.

But overparenting is damaging to parents, too.

Good parenting is a difficult job. Why make it more difficult by adding the additional jobs of manager, agent, and publicist?

Adults—especially parents—have enough responsibilities without assuming those that should reside with your kids.

Good parenting sometimes means doing things that kids will resent you for now but thank you for later. Overparenting, on the other hand, leads to both short-term and lasting resentment.

Overparenting aims to secure outcomes like admissions to prestigious colleges that ultimately just aren’t in your control.

And most importantly, overparenting robs you of what should be one of the greatest parenting joys: watching your kids grow into mature, capable, responsible adults who can enjoy a new relationship with you based on mutual respect rather than mutual dependence.

Overparenting comes from a good place, but leads to a bad place.

Instead, step back. Resist the urge to do for your kids what they can do (or even can almost do) for themselves. Combine high expectations with unconditional love. Cheer from the sidelines without taking over. Embrace the difficult idea that challenges and even failure are what helps kids to grow.

It’s not easy. But every good parent wants the best for their kids. This will be better for your kids.

It’s better for parents, too.