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5 Things Moms Need to Stop Doing for Their Kids

Posted by on May. 5, 2015 at 9:11 AM
  • 14 Replies

5 Things Moms Need to Stop Doing for Their Kids

child being scolded

Of course, we want the best for our kids and bend over backwards to give it to them. But is overparenting -- that is, giving everything you have to your kids (and leaving nada for yourself) -- really the best strategy? Ylonda Gault Caviness, a parenting expert for NPR, Today, and The Huffington Post has written Child, Please: How Mama's Old-School Lessons Helped Me Check Myself Before I Wrecked Myself as a warning for every "I just give in because I can't take it mom" out there: you need to stop. NOW!

When Ylonda's first child came along 16 years ago, she did what so many of us moms do: pulled out all the stops to raise her daughter's self-esteem, protect her feelings and build her brain power.

Same with daughter number two. But by the time Ylonda's third came along seven years later, she hit a wall. She was exhausted, grouchy, and so busy running from soccer games to talent shows that she had no time for herself.

At first, she worried it was her fault. Why couldn't she handle parenting? 

Then it occured to her: Love her kids though she may, maybe her world didn't have to -- and even shouldn't -- revolve around them. Ylonda started to rethink her own mother's loving but strict way of childrearing -- and began to see the value of doing it herself.

Here, in an exclusive with The Stir, Ylonda explains the 5 things we moms should stop doing for our kids.

1. Making them take lessons they don't like.

We can push our kids to learn languages, instruments, and sports. But if they're not really into it, the effects might be neglible. "For years, I had both my girls play piano. I even tipped them so they would practice," says Caviness. "I had a fish bowl on top of the piano and I would applaud and 'make requests.' But they weren't good and didn't enjoy it. Looking back, I should have saved myself the money."

2. Coaxing them to eat their veggies.

We can't expect kids to always know what's best for them, says Caviness. They simply don't have the world experience we do. "With both my daughters, I had long discussions about why they should eat their broccoli and how it was good for them," she says. With her son, she simply cut to the chase. "I basically said, "Get your butt over here." Done.

3. Sugarcoating how the world works.

Let's face it. We all think our kids have it going on. The rest of the world might not agree. Caviness thinks that rings especially true for black parents. "Because of the things we've experienced historically or in our lives, we know our children are going to be judged more harshly," she says. Instead of hiding this from her daughters, she tells them: "You've got to better than everybody else."

4. Ignoring our own needs.

Go ahead and be SuperMom, "but if you're doing so in a dingy t-shirt and tired sweats, what message is that sending your kids?" asks Caviness. When she realized she'd been ignoring her own needs, she started taking the kids with her to work out. "It was at 6 pm, which is a terrible time, but I brought coloring books and snacks and they sat outside my cardio kick-boxing class," she says."They loved it and they could tell I felt good afterwards."

5. Letting them think they can do no wrong.

"It's not our job to change our kids' strengths, but to help them see what they are," says Caviness. Recently, she listened to a child playing the violin at a senior citizens' center -- and hitting so many wrong notes that other kids in the audience began to snicker. "The mom got an attitude: "This was supposed to be a good experience for her!"," recalls Caviness.  "I thought, 'Why aren't you being honest with your daughter? Why aren't you saying, 'Yeah, maybe the violin isn't your thing.'" We don't like to see our kids hurt or upset, but we can't protect them from everything. "It's not a huge injustice if something bad does happen to them," Caviness says.

Do you catch yourself overparenting sometimes?

What would you add to the list?


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by on May. 5, 2015 at 9:11 AM
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by Bronze Member on May. 5, 2015 at 9:19 AM
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Number three just made me shake my head. I can't take anyone seriously who thinks good parenting is telling your kids "You have to be better than everyone else."

by Emerald Member on May. 5, 2015 at 9:51 AM
1 mom liked this

No, I don't overparent and honestly don't see the need to overparent.  By sheltering your kids, or giving them a false sense of the world and themselves doesn't help them in the least. 

I would add the "everyone gets a trophy" mentality to this list.  Kids need to learn how to lose with dignity and also how to be a gracious winner.  Giving everyone a trophy teaches nothing.

by Ruby Member on May. 5, 2015 at 10:00 AM

 I'll admit that I probably overparent in some ways, but not in any of the ways listed there.

My overparenting tends to come from selfish reasons. For example, I still get my kids up for school instead of their using an alarm and getting up on their own simply b/c I do not want to have to drive them to school if they miss the bus.




by Platinum Member on May. 5, 2015 at 10:04 AM

I don't do any of that crap. On #1 though sometimes you have to do things you don't love, it's part of life. I wouldn't put my kids in piano lessons if they didn't ask for them, but my oldest doesn't like math, sorry kid you still have to do math. #3's advice is

I would add, I hate it when parents allow their kids to have rude, freak out tirades, and they don't stop them. I was at a friend's house for dinner a couple years back, she had my family over and another family there as well. She had made these delicious ham & spinach crepes. Well the youngest of the other family starts bitching "Dad you KNOW I hate spinach! Bleck! Spinach is disgusting, I'm not eating this, how could you let her give this to me!?!? I'm not eating this, I hate spinach!" the kid serioulsy went on for 20 minutes about freaking spinach, the dad just sat there and let her do it. WTF? He didn't even apologize or have her apologize for her rudeness. If that kid were mine she would have been served spinach at every meal of the day, every day until she learned to shut up about it. You don't have to LOVE everything you're served, but you do have to be grateful and polite. No one gets to eat their favorite foods every day, stop making picky eaters. Just because a person is young & short doesn't mean you only feed them stuff they love. Obviously most kids would LOVE to eat chicken nuggets and french fries every day, that doesn't mean you give it to them.  I guess this sort of fits into #2. In my house, this is dinner, eat or don't, it's no skin off my ass.  I guess that's not really overparenting so much as bad parenting though.

by Maria on May. 5, 2015 at 11:52 AM
I over parent in ways I'm sure, but honestly I'd say I'm a pretty good parent! My kids are loved, disciplined, spoiled, and well behaved. I have to say I've learned a lot from what not to do while teaching.
by Silver Member on May. 6, 2015 at 8:25 AM

Well I guess I am an overprotective mom as I scored doing 4 out of 5.  The only one I don't do is letting them think they can do no wrong, as I also let them know we make mistakes in judgement.

by LoriAnn on May. 6, 2015 at 8:32 AM

Nope Me or my husband don't do any of these that are listed.

by Silver Member on May. 6, 2015 at 8:37 AM
1 mom liked this
I don't do any of those things.
by Silver Member on May. 6, 2015 at 8:55 AM

Now I feel even worse. LOL.

Quoting cupcake_mom: I don't do any of those things.

by Silver Member on May. 6, 2015 at 9:03 AM
I'm sorry LOL.

Quoting Linda_Runs:

Now I feel even worse. LOL.

Quoting cupcake_mom: I don't do any of those things.

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