Parent involvement is important in every aspect of a child’s life, especially when it comes to education. It can increase motivation levels and keep kids on the right track. However, there are instances where parents have taken their role and involvement with their child and crossed the line. They have become more of a nuisance than a help. As parents they believe it’s their right to know and be involved in every aspect of their child’s life. So how much involvement is too much? When do we draw the line?
Parent Involvement in the Education System
Everyone knows someone or has seen someone behave somewhat inappropriately when it comes to helping in the classroom or getting involved with their child. We all know the signs; needy, overanxious, and sometimes just a pain in the neck. Today parents have taken the term “parental involvement” to extremes. This generation of parents or the “millennial generation” of parents can’t seem to let go of their children. They swoop in every chance they get to sort out differences or “mend” a crisis; not allowing their children to work things out on their own. There are definitely times when intervention is needed, and that’s what teachers are there for. So what are some signs of too much involvement from a parent?
Needy children/ Needy parents: One of the most visible signs of an overly involved parent that can’t seem to let go of their child is needy children. Every classroom has them; they are characterized by a constant need for attention, approval, and instruction. It’s almost as if they have never been left alone to do anything in their life. And the parent just makes it worse because they make them depend on them for everything. If this sounds like your child then it might be time to cut the strings and give them a little more space and independence. It may seem hard at first, but it really is for the best and will make their experience in school much more pleasant.
Aggression. Sometimes children that have parents who are overly involved will display aggressive behavior towards other adults trying to teach or interact with them. The reason for this is that they have so much involvement from mom or dad that they have suppressed anger and it shows through when communicating with other adults like the child’s teacher. The child can also show forms of aggression toward one or both of the parents. While they are trying to be independent and be their own person, there is nothing more frustrating than having a parent breathing down your neck all the time.
Parent Involvement in Extra-curricular Activities
Extra-curricular activities are a great way for kids to form healthy relationships with other kids their age, and a great way to discover a new talent or improve on an already existing one. It seems however, that the amount of parent involvement with extra-curricular activities has exceeded what it should be. It is usually in these types of activities or community activities that we find those over zealous “soccer moms”, or the aggressive “T-ball dads” putting way too much pressure on kids to “do their best.” Understanding that parent involvement is important for a child to feel success, we must also take a step back and understand that too much involvement can hinder performance and increase feelings of failure and doubt in your child. It’s not hard for others to see if a parent has crossed the line with these activities but how does a parent of a child know when too much is too much? Here are some warning signs:
If you have volunteered to coach your child’s team and you find yourself always coming down on your own child to move faster, or pass better, etc. Remember that volunteering can be a good thing unless you get too into what your child is doing and how they are performing. You may need to take a step back or even step down from the position.
If you find yourself screaming from the sidelines about how unfair the rules are and that your child never does anything wrong, you may be infringing on your “parental involvement rights.” You will especially know if you’ve gone over the top if your child doesn’t want anything to do with you afterwards because they’re so embarrassed of your inappropriate behavior.
These are just a few of the warning signs of a parent who might be overly involved with their child’s extra-curricular activities. There are certainly many others.
As a parent it is important to know how much involvement is too much. Keep a watchful eye on your behavior and how your children react to the way you are behaving. Parent involvement is important, but you have to know when enough is enough.