Parental Involvement for Your Child: How Much is Best?
A few tips to stay involved without holding your child back.
We’ve all heard the warnings about being a “helicopter parent.” Parental involvement is so important but no parent wants to over do it or smother their kids, or be too overprotective, or not protective enough. We want to do what is best for our children and what gives them that perfect balance of strong parental support and age-appropriate freedom.
Parental Involvement vs Your Child’s Development
How much parental involvement is too much when it comes to your kids? Parenting is serious business. It is love, support, and building foundations for your child’s future. Every child is different and every family has unique and important dynamics but if you are wondering how much parental involvement is best for your child, this article is here to help with some good parenting guidelines.
Read on to discuss how listening to your children, letting your children lead you, taking an interest in their interests, and encouraging their independence can help set up a good foundation for a proper level of parental involvement that will balance your child’s need for safety and security with their need for freedom to try their wings. It’s all about balance. Here are some ways you can strike the perfect balance between your child’s need to develop independence and self-esteem, and their need for the strong, caring guidance of your parental involvement.
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Parental Involvement Affects Your Child’s Education
The effects of parental involvement in children’s education is unquestionable. Parental involvement has a direct positive relationship to your child’s educational development and their ability to learn to love learning. Accountability and emotional support help to keep your children on track educationally as well as socially as they navigate the public or private school systems.
Begin by Listening to Your Children
Children are human beings with feelings, thoughts, and things to say. Gone are the days of “children should be seen and not heard”—what a recipe for trauma! Children should indeed be heard and respected for what they want to say about the things that are important to them. This does not mean do what they say, give them what they want, or let them run the show. It means listen to your children. They want to share things with you and they will tell you what they need if you are not giving them things like privacy, time alone, or space.
Have you ever been playing with toy blocks with a small child and they push you away? They want to do it themselves but do not know how to communicate this with you. Preteens and teens have the words and they will let you know when they want to be alone, when they want you to come help, when they are not sure what they want.
The key is knowing your child, listening to their needs and respecting their feelings. They won’t push you away if you give them that bit of space that they need, but they might push you away if you overcrowd them or never let them have a moment alone. Listening to your children is a core component of a healthy parent-child relationship.
Child-Led Parental Involvement
You are the parent. You are the adult. You are in charge. But this does not mean you cannot let your children take the lead sometimes, especially when it comes to their needs for growth, space, trying new things, and exploring their interests. Showing your kids that they have your attention, respect and enthusiasm for what they want to do provides them with a foundation of safety and security to eventually have the confidence to do these things on their own.
Take an Interest in their Interests
If your kids are into Roblox or video games, take an interest in this. If they like crafts, art, or cooking, take an interest in this. Do these activities with them and help them find resources for learning more about what they love. Do not try to change their interests, as long as they are healthy and age-appropriate. Do not dismiss or put down the things they love to do or the things they like to think about or learn about when it comes to their hobbies, skills, likes and dislikes. This will help your child feel confident in their own individuality, a key component of developing healthy self-esteem.
Let Your Child Try Problem-Solving Before Stepping In
When your kids are having little fights with their friends, I know it can be hard not to immediately intervene and get involved. But you have to try to restrain yourself. It is normal for kids to have conflict with their peers and friends. They learn and grow from it to go through these struggles and learn to handle it on their own. Unless of course it is severe, it is bullying, or it is out of line, and then step in as the adult in the situation should. Or if your child comes to you for help, ideas, comfort, yes, be involved.
By giving your child a little bit of space with some helpful guidance, you provide them with the foundation, tools, resources, and support they need to develop problem-solving skills of their own. If they cannot handle something, these tools of love and support will bring them to you, and you will know what to do. If they can handle something, they will and they will tell you all about it. Being proud of your kids for dealing with the normal ins and outs of navigating friendships at any age gives your kids the confidence they need to grow into healthy adults.
Like all things in life, parenting is about balance. If you listen to your children, let them take the lead on the things that matter to them, take an interest in their interests, and allow them to navigate the normal ins and outs of peer and friend relationships on their own, you can ensure that there is a balanced and healthy level of involvement in their lives at every age. Parental involvement is a sliding scale, as well, and you may find your need to be involved changes with the seasons of growth your child goes through. If you keep up good communication with your child, you can weather these seasons together.
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Christina M Ward is a mom, grandmother, and writer of lots and lots of words. When she’s not busy obsessing over writing poetry and well-living articles, she is out in nature exploring or doing needlepoint crafts in front of Netflix. She loves books and reading, learning geeky things about nature, and helping other people live their best life.
Helpful tips for parents about what level of parental involvement is healthy for child development and supporting children’s education.