Raising a Life Without Smothering ItGuest Blog Post by Brian Jones Parenting is hard work, especially when you hear about the negative effects of both under and over parenting your child. Helicopter parents are found to be a little too protective to foster creative, independence kids, while experts say that free-range parenting may just be asking for trouble by leaving your child unsupervised. Finding the middle ground, where you know that your child is safe without smothering their independence, is possible. Raising a Successful Child There are distinct disadvantages to both helicopter and free range parenting. Small children and infants benefit from having a parent watching them closely to keep them from danger, but as kids grow older they need to be able to have the freedom to succeed, or fail, on their own. A parent who is constantly involved may not be giving their child the gift of self-confidence. Kids, especially teens and older, need to know that it is alright to fail and that they can succeed on their own. On the other side of this extreme parenting style, we find that parents who aren't involved enough can also endanger a child's ability to grow and succeed. Free-range parenting is also called laissiez-faire parenting or “slow parenting,” and can be just as detrimental to a child's developing sense of self-esteem and independence as being too involved. This parenting style has been shown to i
ncrease a child's dependence on parents and may be linked to reduce impulse control, rebelliousness and lowered self-esteem. If you are searching for the best way to parent your own child, you will want to look for an option that allows you to be involved in the child's life without being too overbearing a presence, while also providing the caring warmth that children need to grow and develop into a confident teen and adult.Finding Middle Ground Children fare best when they have a secure foundation to rely on as they learn to navigate the world around them. Kids need some boundaries to feel safe in their world. One of the most important things that you can do as a parent is to base your rules and restrictions on the capabilities of the child, rather than their age, and provide feedback when rules are broken. A democratic atmosphere is vital to fostering communication and improving a child's ability to succeed. Empowering and enabling your child also helps the child grow into their own identity while allowing the parents to pass on the necessary skills to avoid danger. Situations where kids are home alone happen more often than you think. Sometimes parents have to work late and can’t find a babysitter or the kids get home from school a few minutes sooner. Teaching your kids how to prepare a snack for themselves and answer the front door when no parents are present is extremely helpful. Supplementing that with a security system or at least a cell phone plan can make all the difference in the world and, most importantly, allow parents to take a step back. Lots of cell phone providers offer family plans on their sites and you can find plenty of information about security systems here and all over the web. As a parent, you will still want to keep your child safe. There are many tools available that allow you to check in on your child without becoming a helicopter parent. Monitoring their internet usage and cell phone charges are both easy ways to determine whether you need to intervene in a situation. Teens may be particularly vulnerable to the large amount of information and images available online. Setting rules for internet use, and then monitoring their use occasionally, is a simple way to make sure your teen is protected online. As your child grows, you may need to change some rules to reflect their maturity. Make sure that your child knows that he or she can call you when they are in an uncomfortable situation. Providing your teen with rules about calling if they are late or going out with friends also allows you to track their whereabouts without smothering them. With a few boundaries and a lot of love and support, you can raise a healthy, confident child who has the tools needed to succeed. Brian Jones is a freelance writer who has spent most of his career writing for all kinds of places from home safety experts to parenting blogs. He is always happy to share what he knows so long as it helps others better themselves in some way. At Castlewood Treatment Center, we work with families to develop healthy boundaries and communication that allow the client to grow, change and develop as their recovery unfolds. Involving the family and helping clients to accept the love and support available to them is essential to the recovery process.