If you are a mom who is classified as a hyperparent, you may not even know that you are. Parents, as most of us know, tend to deny these kinds of things. I did – a few years back. I can recall the anxiety, frustration, and the pressure that was pulling me down when Alaena was born. I couldn’t handle all of it, and so I decided to talk to a therapist to help me solve my problems so I wouldn’t go spiraling into depression. It took me months to finally accept that I was indeed a hyperparent, and all the stress and other mental health concerns I had were simply because I was too on edge. Therapy helped me realize that I needed to loosen up – for my daughter’s sake and mine.
What Is A Hyperparent?
A hyperparent mom (or dad) is someone who attempts to teach her child even while she is still in the womb. She regularly stimulates her unborn baby with operatic music in hopes that she will be more intelligent than the usual kids her age when she grows up. She is fixated on everything, including her child’s small scrape on her knee down to the moment she comes home all wet because she played too much. She is overpowering, overprotective, and domineering. Are you a hyperparent?
As someone who was once an annoying and overwhelming mother, I would like to share a few things that I’ve learned. I hope my experience helps all the moms – and dads – who are trying to break this unpleasant habit. Perhaps there are some suggestions I will make that you won’t agree on, but it’s okay. Just know that this is the best that I can do to guide you into relaxing a little while still loving your child unconditionally. When I changed my ways, I noticed that my relationship with Alaena is much better. She has become more honest and comfortable telling me about anything. She can explore and try new things, although I can’t help but supervise her (and she allows me). I am hopeful that these steps will work on you too.
Your Child Deserves Respect Too. Just because they’re still children doesn’t mean you can push them into doing what you want. That is disrespect. Showing them that you respect them may mean that they are allowed to refuse something that you ask of them, especially if it is not something that they must do, like playing with your friend’s child or enrolling her in ballet classes when she wants to sing. These are simple acts of respect and kindness that will go a long way in strengthening your parent-child bond.
Do Not Expect Too Much From Them. This is a mistake that many parents commit, perhaps because they have a lot of dreams for their kids. They want their children to excel in a specific sport, and when they don’t, they see the disappointment in your face. I used to tell Alaena that I wanted her to join the writer’s club, as I’ve always loved to write ever since I was very young. I didn’t know that she hated it. I only knew it when I saw her incomplete phrases and sometimes blank papers from her bag. It was just not her thing. Support what your child loves doing and celebrate her wins.
Minimize Saying No. But this is not to say that you should say yes to your kid all the time. “Some kids can’t understand or learn the reason for the rule if they only hear the word ‘no’,” says Bruce Grellong, Ph.D. It is often a parent’s nature to say no to whatever their kid asks of them, which is sometimes a reason for them acting out. This is also quite stressful for both you and your child. Try to stop saying no. If you’re hesitant to say yes because you don’t want to be definite, maybe do a little negotiating. For instance, you can say, “Yes, we can probably do that, but let me finish what I’m doing first.”
Let Her Discover Things On Her Own. Letting your child explore is one of the best ways for her to learn about the life, among other things. “What seems like defiance is actually just your child exerting his autonomy and trying to figure out what he can and can’t do,” Christine Raches, PsyD, says. If you allow her to run around the house and she does it rather inappropriately, then she’ll know she needs to slow down when she hits that wall. Let her bike around the neighborhood and make new friends. Of course, you should establish some safety rules before giving her some freedom to play and be a kid.
Don’t Change Your Child. Your child is unique, with distinct qualities and skills. Don’t try to modify her into a perfect creature. “Even though someone might be your child, they are still their own individuals with their own feelings, opinions, goals and lives,” says Ashton Burdick, LPC. I never attempted to change my daughter simply because I knew she is already perfect the way she is.
So don’t control your child. Protect, but don’t over-protect. Reprimand, but don’t manipulate. Be thankful for whatever she is. She is one of your greatest blessings. Give her enough freedom to explore the world. Love her – unconditionally.