Help Your Child By … Stepping Back
It is the last week of school before Christmas and the New Year. You’re anticipating all the fun and frolic, but you’re deeply worried about your fourth-grader. You’ve always perceived her as more fragile and sensitive than your other children, so you’ve been a little more protective of her, hoping she’d grow out of her sensitivity.
How You Help Her
You determined that you would “be there” for your little girl every time she needed you. You intervened for her with her friends. You defended her homework efforts to her teachers. You’ve done her homework. You protected her from her tougher siblings. Whatever you feel needs doing to protect her, you do.
All along, you’ve hoped that she would toughen up, but she has only gotten more sensitive. When she tried to get you to stop when you protected her from her friends, part of you hoped she was getting stronger. The other part of you was … hurt at the thought that she didn’t want your help.
How It’s Affecting Her
Your little girl is at the right age to begin determining what’s right and wrong. She’s able to make her own decisions and speak up for herself. And she should be doing so.
You believe that you’re being a loving mother, but what you’re doing is holding her emotional and social development back. In short, mom, you’re hurting your own child even though you don’t want to do so. In every area of her life where you “help,” you are actually preventing her growth.
Why You Have to Step Back
This is the perfect time to resolve to make a change. What you’re doing is known as “helicopter parenting.” You hover over her to ward off any negative aftereffects of anything bad that happens. If you keep doing this as she grows, she will never be able to protect herself.
Take this time to make a New Year resolution that you’re going to step back and allow your daughter to make her own decisions and speak up for herself. After all, mom, you’ll only be doing her a favor.