Fredericksburg Families

Amy Umble writes about family issues and kid-friendly events.

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When parents do too much for their children

Has anyone else been here: It’s midnight, your child has a project due in the morning. You’re helping, but for the past hour or so, you’ve been thinking just one thing, “If I just did the project myself, I could be in bed in five minutes.”

It can be so tempting to do our kids’ work. Or to do all the household chores yourself (it is so much quicker to do the dishes than to ask a teenager 1,000 times to do those dishes!).

A New Hampshire teacher writes about the importance of letting your kid do his own work–even if that means failing in this piece in The Atlantic. She starts the article with an intriguing story about catching a student plagiarizing. When the teacher calls home, the mom tells her that the daughter didn’t plagiarize. The mom did. She wrote the paper herself, because her daughter was overly stressed.

In the story, Jessica Lahey calls these examples overparenting and writes:

You see, teachers don’t just teach reading, writing, and arithmetic. We teach responsibility, organization, manners, restraint, and foresight. These skills may not get assessed on standardized testing, but as children plot their journey into adulthood, they are, by far, the most important life skills I teach.

She quotes an Australian study on the so-called helicopter parenting, which said that more research needs to be done, but that this style of parenting is likely to produce children with more anxiety and less resilience.

What do you think? Is it hard to find the balance between helping your children and doing too much for them? Where do you draw the line? And have you ever completed a project for your child?