Whether you’re a working parent, single parent or stay-at-home parent– the stress of being a mother or father in today’s world is hard to avoid. Being constantly bombarded with judgement, advice and an array of different rules, many Australians parents become ‘hyper-parents’ as a way of handing the pressure.
‘Hyper-parents’ obsess over everything: how safe their child is, whether their child is learning fast enough, and every scrape or bruise – all the while never letting their child out of their sight.
While ‘hyper-parenting’ does come from a good place, and reflects the strong sense of love and care that mothers and fathers have for their offspring, it can have detrimental effects on the whole family.
Hyper-parenting’ can be overprotective, overbearing and overwhelming to the child and, as Dr Scott Dunlop, Paediatrician from Sydney Paediatrics says, “anxious parents often lead to anxious kids. Take a step back and relax.”
These three basic steps will help parents to relax, and in turn, result in relaxed and happy children.
- Set limits
It’s important to set limits for yourself as a parent, and for your child. Clear limits for a child helps to encourage awareness, self-discipline and independence.
As a parent, you should apply limits to yourself in order to allow your child to flourish. Don’t feed your child if she can use a spoon herself, or dress your child if he can dress himself.
“Parents today are way too involved with their children. It is only when children are left alone to play and explore, will they start to establish their own personality, own way of doing things and independence,” Dr Dunlop says.
Avoid hovering and holding your child back from normal risks, and likewise, try not to jump in and make decisions for your child. Kids can’t grow and learn if their mother or father is doing everything for them!
- Let go of expectations
Learn to let go. A big part of healthy and balanced parenting is forgetting the expectations you may have of yourself, and your children. Many parents are their own worst critics, and should try to build a more positive attitude to themselves, which will in turn encourage a child to have a positive outlook and self-image.
Lessen the pressure on yourself, and in turn, lessen the pressure on your child. This will create a happier, healthier and less stressful environment for the whole family.
- Give your child space
Children need guidance in their early years to be kept safe and healthy – but they also need room to grow and develop their own skills and personality. By ‘hyper-parenting’ a child, you can be limiting their personal growth and independent learning.
While it can be tricky to know when to take a step back, you can start by making sure there is time for free play. Get rid of too much structure, and allow kids to come up with their own games and activities, without over-supervising. Let your child be a child!
According to Dr Dunlop, parents often spend many hours trying to “coach” their child into achieving certain developmental milestones. “Many children today are overburdened with organised activities and should be allowed more time to play and foster skills naturally over time.”
“Children are sponges, and will observe others playing and want to copy them. In many cases, if parents relaxed and allowed their child to simply be a child and play, milestones will be reached appropriately,” Dr Dunlop says.
Understanding the importance of learning through play and exploration in the early years, smarTrike, the leading global manufacturer and distributor of tricycles, specially designs products to facilitate and encourage a toddler’s independent development.
In line with their initiatives to eradicate parenthood guilt, the smarTrike range of products enables Australian parents to take a step back and stop ‘hyper-parenting’, with the peace of mind that their child is learning and developing to the best of their ability.
smarTrike aims to build the confidence of parents and empower them to enjoy the truly amazing experience of being a mother or father, by making it easy for children to learn as they learn and play.