There are many ways parents can do too much for their children; one is to buy everything your child asks for. In our material world, new gadgets and must-have fashions pop up as quickly as weeds after rain. Kids are often convinced they can't live without the latest thing, and many parents may believe the only way to make their boy or girl happy is to buy everything on the wish list. But deep down, we know that money and things don't provide happiness. Overindulging children with gifts sometimes serves the parent more than the child.
Another way parents do too much is to help your child with every project, problem or task. Sure, adults usually have the know-how to get the assignment done quickly. We've been there and done that -- and the past is the point. Now it's your kid's turn to grow and learn though the experience of doing. As parents, we've got to learn to back up, put our hands in our pockets and our mouths on mute and let our youngsters' ideas unfold.
Possibly one of the biggest challenges parents and kids face is overscheduling. Exposure to good things helps children develop healthy interests and lifestyles, but there can be too much of a good thing. Overscheduling often comes in the middle school years, when older kids have greater abilities, growing independence and more options for activities. Parents want their sons and daughters to find enjoyable pursuits and expand their opportunities for making friends, but sometimes we put our kids into activities that we always wanted to do. Another school of thought is that busy children don't have time to get into trouble, so we max out their free time. But busy boys and girls are more susceptible to stress. Symptoms that your child is overscheduled include:
- Complaints of headaches or stomachaches
- Loss of interest in a favorite activity
- Declining grades
- Forgetting or refusing to do homework or chores
Time with your child is precious, and even if they won't admit it, kids really want your time. Instead of ordering the latest gadget or signing your son or daughter up for another activity, schedule time to do nothing together. Time together may be worth more than all the designer clothes, high-tech gadgets and other stuff you think makes your kid happy.