When I talk about not being a “Smother Mother,” what I’m really saying is, to mother your child is to enable your child to learn grow and develop, mentally physically and emotionally. Looking at what you can do as a parent to enable those areas in a healthy way, so that you do not smother your child from the life skills and lessons that they need to learn in order to have the ability and to be capable to eventually think for themselves. So, they won’t be completely co-dependent on you beyond their years necessary.

Great parents on every level are invested in their children’s lives and are an important, strong influence. But when parents become too immersed it does not allow children to breath and naturally respond and behave in a way that is socially empowering.

That said, however, let’s not mistake being a cautious protective parent with being one who is hyper-controlling. What it boils down to is the age and temperament of your child. Each step of development is different, so I’ll break it down for you by age group:

TEENS

With teenagers we must instill the following:

 

    • TRUST. Believing in their capability to be trusted validates they have the maturity to meet what is required of them. It is not something that is given, but earned. We have to be able to trust that our teenagers can think things through, with a knowing that they have the safety net of their parents behind them. As difficult as it may be to let go and painfully watch your children make mistakes, it will happen. But there are some things they need to learn on their own, as long as they’re safe, they will be ok.

 

    • Responsible Choices. Our teenage children need to make their own choices with whom they become close to as friends with our gentile guidance, with who is appropriate to keep company with and who isn’t.

 

    • Don’t be a Helicopter Parent. Helicopter parenting doesn’t hold any advantages and can breed laziness. Disabling our children from the adversity only takes away the opportunity for them to learn a life skill, or to work through their school homework, or learning household responsibilities like cleaning and picking up after themselves.
      ‘TWEENS

 

Our tweens love being given the responsibilities of big adults. It makes them feel grown up and shows them that we trust their ability to get the project done. A lot of my advice for ‘tweens is similar to teens, but while a few more restrictions that are age-appropriate:

 

    • Let them fail. This goes for ‘tween and teens alike. We must allow our children to learn from their failures and not mask efforts and allow them to experience their successes too.

 

    • Create space. Nine and 10 year old’s do not constantly have to be supervised. Tweens need space to establish who they are as people. Whether it’s giving your ‘tween their time alone in their bedroom or simply time out of the house, hanging out with friends, space to discover who they are and explore their social dynamics is important.

 

    • Give privacy. Similar to my ‘create space’ point, privacy is important. As long as your child is safe, allow them certain areas of privacy. When they have friends over or talk on the phone or text. As long as you know the friend they are communicating with, give them the benefit of privacy with their content.

 

    • Be patient. In addition to failing, your ‘tween needs room to learn life skills and social dynamics. It might not happen the first time. They might make the same mistake a few times, thinking there will be a different outcome. They will learn, it just might take some time or be a longer road. Be patient and understanding, but know when to support or reinforce as well.

 

    • Balance protection, safety, and independence. This is perhaps the most difficult part because it requires trusting your instinct and knowing when to intervene and when to keep a distance. But do trust your instincts. Be patient. Be supportive. Be there for them. Remind them you are there when they need it. When they need it, they will come to you. As long as they are safe, let them have space to learn. You’ve given and continue to give them the tools they need to navigate in the real world. This part is about trusting yourself just as much as trusting your child. Keep moving forward and preparing them to explore, excel, and become fantastic people.

 

And, keep in mind, the cost of smothering is pricey. It can fracture close loving relationships or result in co-dependence, or having young adults who cannot think for themselves. Enabling can lead to a lack of emotional immaturity. Remember, restraint on your part is just as important as giving them freedom. It’s a learning experience for both parent/caretaker and child, so allow yourselves the opportunity to learn from each other and fail and succeed together.

Copywritten by Jo Frost

Share this:

More in this category: Teaching Values » Exaggerating » Tantrums » Selective Hearing » Aggression » Are We There Yet? » Terrorism – How to Talk to Our Children About It » Encourage Reading » Keeping in Touch When Away » Discipline » Winding Down Tips Before Bed Time » Stepmom Struggles (Fake Cry) » Stalling Over Mealtimes » Child Anxiety » Sleep Transition » Work and Home Balance » Peek-a-Boo » Let’s Talk About Sex » Confidence for Pre-School » BACK TO SCHOOL » Encouraging Children to Come Out of Their Shells » Spring has Sprung — Let’s Get Active! » Meet the New SAHM: the Work-From-Home Parent » Kids Talk About Love » Turning Winter Blues into Sunshine for the Children » Spending Holiday Time with Family » Change the World, Give Back » Zero Tolerance Bullying » The 10 Dos and Don’ts of Back-to-School » For Playdates & Parties, Don’t be a Helicopter Parent » Disciplining Other People’s Children » Making the Most of Your Summer with the Kids… » Children and Accountability » Settling In Nicely » One With Nature » Valentine’s Day » Charging Into 2015 » 10 Holiday Questions (and Answers!) » Practicing Gratitude » Balance On the Work and Home Seesaw » And So To Bed… » Ready for Nursery » A Time of First Milestones » Eating Habits » HAPPY FATHER’S DAY! » When is YOUR Child Considered Potty Trained? » Child Abuse Prevention Month » Excerpt from Jo Frost’s Toddler Rules » With Love » The Art of Being » Holidays on a Budget » Dealing with Life Transitions » Halloween Crafts » Who Needs Sleep? Everyone! » How Much Attention Should We Give Our Kids? » Young Girls and Self-Esteem » Anxiety, Depression and Teens » A Personal Note About Food Allergies » Gay Parenting » Eating Out with Kids » Flu Season » Plan of Action » Baby, It’s [Getting] Cold Outside » Encouraging Your Child’s Social Skills » Medical Alert » Planes, Trains, And Automobiles: Travel Tips for Children of All Ages » Father’s Day Activities » A Mother’s Day for YOU » Limiting Your Child’s Screen/Tech Time » Getting Sexy Back After Baby » Introducing A Babysitter » Jo’s Tips For Being Penny-Wise This Holiday Season » Adoption Month » The Importance of Sleep » Parenting Solo » Stay Cool » Household Chores » Jo Frost’s Confident Toddler Care Book Excerpt » How Do I Play? » Jo’s April Editorial » Jo’s Editorial » When Technology Is Ok » Do You Know What Your Children Are Reading? » Calling All New (or soon-to-be) Moms & Dads! » Jo’s Three Nursery Golden Rules » “We Never Have Sex Anymore!” » How your child behaves is your responsibility » How to deal with your Toddler » My son has a problem in the toilet » My 15 month old son will not sleep » My 4 year child is telling me “I hate you” » Work with your baby’s body clock » Starting fresh for the New Year » Twelve Thoughts for Christmas » Naughty chair/spot correct way? » A New Mom To Be » Baby waking too often » How much sleep does she need » Pick me up! » DESPERATE for help!!! » Three year old daughter won’t let others help » How to get my five year old son to stay dry all night long » How to explain death » No more nappies?!!! » Need to Pack On The Pounds.. » Getting my 2 1/2 year old in his car seat » guilt trip or more serious? » My 12 month old doesn’t like to nap in daytime » Big Issues with my 15 year old » Time Out Follow-up » Tummy time! » How do I best help my 18 month old to STTN? » My son won’t use cutlery » 6 year old Reader » Getting my 2 1/2 year old in his car seat » Child won’t drink from sippy cup or cup… » 3 1/2 month old’s sleeping difficulties » Ouch!! » Transition to a new room » Fear of bed time » 10 months – too young to sleep through? » Is it too early for reins? » 3 year old and new puppy » Toddler forcing himself to vomit » Potty Training » I’m a nanny and need help!!! » Help getting my 18 month old to talk » How do I know when to start weaning?? » 3 1/2 yr old daughter wont stop SCREAMING!!!! » Naughty Step Becomes a Game » TEEN IN DESPRATE NEED OF JO’S HELP!!!! » Please Help! » Daily Routine » STUDY HABITS » Paci still a problem » 4 1/2 month old: Should he be eating? » Three-year-old son sleeps only in our bed »
Read previous post:
THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED –> Horrid Henry’s Ten Terrible Tales and More!

  This month, we're giving away Horrid Henry’s Ten Terrible Tales by Francesca Simon (Ages 4-8) AND a grab bag's...

Close