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Are you doing too much for your kids?

By Michael Grose

"Am I doing a good job?" is a question we parents constantly ask ourselves.

As Mother's Day approaches it is worth asking a different (and better) question-

"Am I doing too much for my kids?"

Now that may sound a little unfair but it seems many wonderful, concerned, worried, anxious mums I have been talking with and working with lately are trying to do too much for their children.

There is plenty of information in the media these days to make us feel anxious and guilty as parents. Guilt and anxiety can drive us to do too much.

Consider the following questions:

1. Are you your child's home entertainment machine? Do you constantly occupy your kids or do you give them sufficient opportunity to keep themselves amused?

2. If a child says 'I'm bored' do you believe it is your job to amuse them or do you see this as an invitation for kids to use their own initiative, imaginations and creativity?

3. Do you do most of the jobs around the house or do your kids have assigned jobs and chores, even if they are very young?

4. Are you currently making yourself redundant or are your kids becoming more dependent on you to look after them?

5. Do you spend a great deal of your time organising/taking/driving kids to activities outside their normal school/pre school/childcare activities or is there plenty of down-time where kids can just muck around?

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6. Do you see it as your responsibility to resolve your children's disputes or do you give children opportunities to work conflict out themselves?

7. Do you assume personal responsibility for children's eating, choice of clothes and homework that is set by teachers or do you believe that these are issues that children need to take responsibility for?

8. Do you believe that if you weren't there to remind kids nothing would ever get done around the house?

Okay, these questions assume that life is black and white and that parenting is an either/or proposition. It is never quite as simple or black and white as it may be presented in these questions.

However, it is worth considering that for the right reasons you may be doing a little too much for your children. Your job as a parent and as a mother (and a father) is to step back and allow your children in.

When we move toward redundancy our children naturally move toward resilience and resourcefulness. That is the goal of effective (and exceptional) parenting.
Just a little something to think about as you enjoy the coming Mother's Day!

Michael Grose, a popular parenting expert, shows you practical ways to raise happy, confident, well-behaved kids and resilient teenagers. Improve children's confidence and behaviour now and get Michael's free ebook '25 ways to speak so children will listen' at http://www.parentingideas.com.au . While you are there subscribe to Happy Kids newsletter and get regular updates to build your 21st Century parenting manual.


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