What you need to know:
- It is not only the internet that limits them, because modern parents are more controlling and over-protective.
- Learning to solve problems and overcome frustrations are crucial life skills.
Today’s teens are far more anxious than in the past. Partly, that is because they spend so many hours online, leaving them little time for real-life friendships and adventurous physical activities. Both are critical to their mental well-being.
But it is not only the internet that limits them, because modern parents are more controlling and over-protective. We’re told we must constantly supervise our children to prevent mishaps and ensure everything’s perfect.
So we oversee their schoolwork, prevent them from roaming, restrict their friendships, shield them from failure, limit their choices and involve ourselves deeply in our children’s problems.
But learning to solve problems and overcome frustrations are crucial life skills.
And children don’t acquire them if their parents never let them struggle with difficulties. Helping with every challenge means that your children don’t learn to manage their moods, make difficult decisions, or develop resilience.
It is all a question of degree. If your child is climbing something dangerous, then stopping them is responsible. But telling them not to climb at all restricts their development.
It is easy to see why parents have become over-protective. Endless news flashes convince us our children are not safe.
Today’s competitive world encourages us to intensively parenting. Not only constantly monitoring our children, but always teaching them. Social media influencers pressure us into making our children look super-successful, and we worry that we might be neglectful if they are not flawless.
How do you avoid being over-protective?
The key is thinking about the long-term goal. Which is to prepare your child for their path in life, rather than smoothing their path for them.
So, when your child’s struggling with homework, resist the temptation to provide the solution since the long-term goal is for them to become good problem solvers. Suggest ways to research the topic rather than giving them the answers.
When your child falls out with a friend, don’t rush in. The long-term goal is for them to learn to deal with social dilemmas, but offer a listening ear as they think through possible solutions.
When your children face difficulties, your job is not to remove the obstacles, it is to help your children remove them. To help them learn to cope, instead of growing up expecting someone else to fix everything.
There’s a big difference between coaching your children and brushing aside every issue for them.
So stop checking their homework! Looking bad in class will motivate them to do the work, otherwise, when they grow up and are expected to do things on their own, they become anxious.
Stop solving your children's problems, instead, ask them what they think they should do. Let them try and fail until they succeed. And stop over-scheduling your children's lives. Let them play with their friends, without close adult supervision.
When your children spend time just hanging out with one another, they learn essential life skills including leadership, cooperation, problem-solving, flexibility and compassion, this way, when they leave home, they will make it without feeling anxious.