Parenting Advice: Are You A Hyper-Parent?
‘Hyper-parenting’ is a term used to defined parents who over-schedule their child’ lives with too many activities. Giving their kids maximum exposure and keeping them busy is a priority for such parents.
They become so involved in every detail of their child’s academic, athletic and social lives that they find the thought of allowing their children to just be children inconceivable.
They schedule every minute of their kids’ day, forgetting that children aren’t supposed to be perfect, well-rounded miniature adults. That they are supposed to be children…
According to the American Academy of Paediatrics, filling up a child’s schedule with too many activities can significantly increase their stress levels. Some parents rush their kids through as many as four extracurricular activities a week, including sports, clubs, dance lessons, music and art lessons, computer lessons and additional tutoring!
Individually, these activities are valuable – but combined, they have a tendency to overwhelm a child.
Why We Become Hyper-Parents
- Every parent wants to be perfect, and some see perfection in having children use every to attain perfection themselves. The wish to be a good parent drives the process.
- This is the age of nuclear families. Working parents do not get enough time to spend with their kids, and think that keeping their children busy in different activities is a good substitute for quality time with them.
- Some parents feel that their children should miss none of the opportunities they themselves couldn’t avail of during their childhood – even if the child is not interested.
- Some parents claim that they involve their children in these activities so that they don’t become bored – forgetting that boredom is a catalyst for creativity.
- Some parents consider sending their kids to expensive classes a sort of status symbol.
Parents need to recognize that little minds have to be allowed ‘down time’ in activities such as reading together, playing board games or merely sitting and talking. It is during this down time that parents and children can truly discover and enjoy each other.
Moreover, such non-stressed periods of quality time boost a child’s self esteem more than anything else can. Every child wants to be loved, and as a parent the best we can do for our children is to love them for who they are – praising their accomplishments and nurturing them where they are weak.
In traditional classrooms, the child is being told what to do. He learns to relinquish his own power of original thinking, and to accept what those in authority tell him. A child often has no choice in the way his parents structure his time, and the burden of being hyper-parented can lead to resentment.
Some principles for avoiding hyper-parenting:
- Apart from academics, limit your child’s activities to those he or she is genuinely interested in
- Teach your child that family is a priority. Kids should be given enough time to spend with their family, and should know that relationships matter more than anything else
- Do not judge your child on every aspect of his or her performance in life. This brings far too much pressure.
- Understand that children need time to themselves – empty hours teach them to create their own happiness and fill their own time enjoyably.
- Understand the deeper meaning of a recent study, which revealed that the children who do best in life have parents who are relatively satisfied with their own lives.
Finally, you may be hyper-parenting because of what you’ve read or been told by others. Don’t believe the experts who tell you they know how you ought to raise your child.
When it comes to your family, you are the expert. You are the best partner your child can ever have. Trust yourself. You know more than you think you do.