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12 Ways You're Making Your Kid Completely Helpless

Posted by on Jun. 2, 2015 at 11:31 AM
  • 2 Replies

12 Ways You're Making Your Kid Completely Helpless


There's no perfect way to parent. We know that. But we also know there are plenty of ways to screw kids up for life, and every parenting style is guilty of endorsing at least a few.

These days helicopter parenting is in ... and it has been heavily critiqued ever since somebody put a name to the ranks of crazy over protective parents who do everything but breathe and sneeze for their kids. As far as parenting styles go ... well, consider this: a study by professors at Brigham Young University found that showering your kid with love doesn't make up for all the damage of being over-involved in your kids' lives.

Think you're just helping your kid? Here are 12 ways you could be making your kids totally helpless.

1. Telling Them They're Smart

A psychologist from Stanford has been researching the effects of affirming kids by telling them they're smart for some time, and what she found is a little surprising -- telling kids they're smart actually makes them less likely to work hard.

2. No Risk ... No Reward

A study published in Evolutionary Psychology studied the psychological affects of kids engaging in risky play, and they found that risky play acts as "cognitive behavioral therapy of anxiety" for kids. Basically, the more risks they take, the less anxiety they'll have to deal with.

So next time you yell, "get down from there," remember ... you could be turning your kid into a basket case.

3. 'You're Awesome'

It was always assumed that high self-esteem meant high success, but now studies are saying that might not be the case. According to a 2006 study by Brown Center on Education Policy, when kids get too much praise, they start to only value themselves based on that praise. That makes it worse for them if they fail, so they become too scared to take risks. In other words? Stop telling your kid how awesome they are ... it's just too much to live up to.

4. F is for ...

Parents that hover too much when their kids are young also end up with college-aged kids that are more likely to get bad grades, according to a study in the American Sociological Review.

5. Confidence Killer

Moms who do too much for their kids end up with young adults who have a harder time believing in themselves and solving their own problems, according to a study published in the journal Education + Training. The kids in the study had "poor coping skills," and lacked responsibility and conscientiousness in college to boot.

6. Peer Pressure

No one wants their kid to be bullied or forced to engage in risky behavior because they can't stand up to their classmates. But be wary of how much you step into the fray.

A little peer pressure is actually healthy, says a study from the University of Virginia. Researchers found that kids who didn't experience peer pressure growing up generally weren't as smart and didn't have as many well-adjusted relationships as their peers.

Sometimes it's better to let kids fight their own battles on the playground, Mom.

7. Kindergarten Ready

All those flashcards and Mommy and me Mandarin classes paid off! Your toddler is a mini Einstein! But beware pushing them too hard on the educational path.

A study in the National Foundation for Education Research figured out that kids who are put into school before the age of 6 are more likely to drop out of high school and college.

8. Stranger Danger

"Stranger Danger" is an idea kids are taught from a very young age, and it makes sense -- we don't want kids getting into ever random van they see. But at the same time, too much "stranger danger" literature actually gives kids trust issues and makes them more likely to be bigoted later in life.

More from The Stir:  Why 'Stranger Danger' Doesn't Work: Tips for Keeping Kids Safe From Predators

9. Super Schedule

When their whole lives are laid out in tightly-packed schedule from a young age, children will grow up with a harder time self-directing and being independent, according to a study from University of Colorado, Boulder. The researchers looked at 6-year-olds, and they found having free time actually enabled kids to develop "broader life skills" than their peers.

10. Chore Hazard

In 2002 a study came out of University of Minnesota that followed 84 children from birth all the way into their 20s. One of the chief findings: Children who started doing chores when they were 3 ended up as adults with better relationships, better success academically and professionally, and they were more self-sufficient when compared with children who started chores in their teens or didn't do them at all.

Sure kids need time to play, but cleaning their room for them isn't doing them any favors.

11. Down and Out

Hovering isn't really healthy for anyone involved, but new research shows that it directly causes depression -- a study for the Journal of Child and Family Studies found college students were more likely to be depressed if there parents were hoverers when they were younger.

12. Fixed That for You

Research from UCLA showed that kids don't learn as well if they're not allowed to make mistakes... and then figure out the answers for themselves. Ironically, the study showed kids actually learn better if conditions are created so they make errors as they remember their mistakes and tend to do better the next time.

That means that if they think 2 +2 is 5, it's better to make them learn how to make the calculation rather than telling them the answer is 4.

More from The Stir: Quiz: What's Your Parenting Style?

Are you guilty of #6?

by on Jun. 2, 2015 at 11:31 AM
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Replies (1-2):
gooberholic
by Member on Jun. 3, 2015 at 8:46 PM
My son is 9 mnths so thankfully I haven't done any of these yet.
MamaBear2cubs
by Nikki on Jun. 4, 2015 at 11:57 PM

I'm guilty of a lot of these.

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