The Challenge of Parenting


Parenting children creates interesting challenges. Typical challenges faced by parents are how to avoid over-indulgence and over-restriction. Finding a balance between the two will help you create a home environment that is safe and secure.

In showing a child love, parents tend to do too much. A parent thinks, "If I carry my child's backpack to their classroom, it will show my child how much I love them." It could also be that you can carry your child's backpack more quickly and efficiently than your child. In doing too much you are actually over-indulging your child. You are not allowing your child to show their own independence.

Over-indulgence of your child removes challenges. A child thinks, "I don't need to figure out how to solve that problem, someone else will take care of it for me." Starting at a very young age children can feel empowered by performing tasks for themselves. Work toward finding balance in your family life so your child feels safe and secure in their abilities within the family. How do you know as a parent how much is too much? As a guide, use the following:

  • Can my child do this?
  • If my child can't do this entire task, what part can they do?
  • Are my expectations developmentally appropriate?

Determining whether or not something is developmentally appropriate will require some research and observation of your child and other children. You can look online, read child development books, talk to friends and your pediatrician about what is developmentally appropriate. A wonderful resource is your child's Montessori teacher. Montessori teachers see their job as teaching your child and helping you to be the best parent possible.

Now that you have considered over-indulgence, consider the other end of the spectrum, over restriction. If you are an over-restrictive parent you tend to control much of your child's life. Over restriction can lead to a lack of self-control from your child as well as discourage spontaneous activity.

Consider a parent that controls many aspects of their child's life. The child has a certain amount of time to eat, scheduled play dates, scheduled lessons and so on. When during the day does the child have time to explore or just to be? Children who are restricted too much by their parents tend to be fearful, not only of their parents, but also other adults.

Copyright 2005, Ingrid Weland, Pen to Paper