Here's an article I found yesterday that hits the nail on the head about the damage done to kids by overinvolved parents. It's entitled: "What Price, Privilege? Has our overinvolved parenting style created a generation of kids with an impaired sense of self?"

Needless to say, I've been screaming "YES!" from the rooftops about this forever. This is a very professional and clinical piece stating the case.

Here are some excerpts:

"If warm connection has been shown to be the silver bullet of effective parenting, how can it possibly damage children or impair their development? The hard-to-face answer is that warmth and connection easily can slide into overinvolvement, enmeshment and intrusion. Sometimes our children's unsafe behavior dictates that we have no choice but to fully insert ourselves into their lives, but more frequently we have drifted into overinvolvement out of our own fear of uncertainty or anxiety about loss of connection. At times it can be difficult to know whether we are being appropriately loving, or intrusive. But listen to your instincts, and your children; they will usually be only too happy to help you with this distinction.
"Persistent worry about how well one's child stacks up against other children inevitably leads to parents who are overinvolved and emotionally exhausted as well as to children who are impaired in their ability to function independently. In spite of good intentions, the levels of adult overinvolvement that have become typical in so many comfortable homes and communities are startling and counterproductive. Both intrusion and overinvolvement prevent the development of the kinds of skills that children need to be successful: the ability to be a self-starter, the willingness to engage in trial-and-error learning, the ability to delay gratification, to tolerate frustration, to show self control, to learn from mistakes and to be a flexible and creative thinker. Kids who develop these skills have a large toolbox to dig into, both to enrich their lives and to help them problem-solve.
"Little has been written about the falling off of creativity among kids; it is, however, an ominous trend. Creativity, the ability to look at things from a fresh perspective, is an underrated but critical life skill. Children can read the needs of their parents remarkably well. They know that the mother who spends a disproportionate amount of time and energy inserting herself into her child's life is likely to be fending off her own unhappiness. She needs to be overinvolved, and, in an unfortunately common psychological drama, her child is willing to sacrifice his own needs to meet hers.
"Parental overinvolvement and intrusion are typically indications that a parent's own needs are not being adequately met. The more we pour ourselves, our talents, concerns and aspirations into our children, the less room they have to develop their own talents, concerns and aspirations. Autonomy, not dependency, is always the goal of good parenting. Mother birds know the value of nudging their fledglings out of the nest so that they learn how to soar on their own wings. Overinvolved parents are clipping their children's wings.
"Parents who persistently fall on the side of intervening for their child, as opposed to supporting their child's attempts to problem solve, interfere with the most important task of childhood and adolescence: the development of a sense of self. Autonomy, what we commonly call independence, along with competence and interpersonal relationships, are considered to be inborn human needs. Their development is central to psychological health. In a supportive and respectful family, children go about the business of forging a "sense of self" by being exposed to, and learning to manage, increasingly complex personal and interpersonal challenges.
"When we coerce, intrude on or take over for our children unnecessarily we may be 'spoiling' them, but the far more significant consequence is that we are interfering with their ability to construct a sense of self. My patient was empty because she had not been able to develop the internal resources that would make it possible for her to feel that she 'owned' her life or could manage her feelings. She felt little control over what happened to her and had no confidence in her ability to handle the curveballs of adolescence.
"Well-meaning parents contribute to problems in self-development by pressuring their children, emphasizing external measures of success, being overly critical, and being alternately emotionally unavailable or intrusive. Becoming independent, and forging an identity becomes particularly difficult for children under these circumstances.
What looks like healthy assimilation into the family and community -- getting high grades, conforming to parents' and community standards, and being receptive to the interests and activities valued by others -- can be deceptive. Kids can present as models of competence and still lack a fundamental sense of who they are. Psychologists call this the 'false self,' and it is highly correlated with a number of emotional problems, most notably depression.
"We need to examine our parenting paradigm. Raising children has come to look more and more like a business endeavor and less and less like an endeavor of the heart. We are overly concerned with "the bottom line," with how our children 'do' rather than with who our children "are." We pour time, attention and money into insuring their performance, consistently making it to their soccer game while inconsistently making it to the dinner table. The fact that our persistent and often critical involvement is well intended, that we believe that our efforts ultimately will help our children to be happy and to successfully compete in a demanding world, does not lessen the damage."

1 comment:

goodparenting said...


There is an overinvolvement of parents but not all times. Parents are afraid all the time about the kids falling to wrong things. But they tend to forget that giving space is also something what matters. Kids should have their own comfort zone with parents and should not be forced to share their personal lives with parents. Let them learn from their experience. Here on

has some parental problems


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