I have written a lot about teacup parenting, which is the idea that parents treat their children with such delicacy and coddling, kids grow up either chipped or desperately fearful of being ‘out of their proper set,’ chipped or handled too roughly. I am also seeing another phenomenon, which I like to call superhero parenting. Here are some characteristics of superhero parents and why we should avoid these when working with kids.
1) Superhero Parents Are Always There When Needed
A recent study came out showing that children today are never left alone. They are always with some kind of adult and this is severely decreasing their development, creativity and imagination. It is important for parents to be there for safety, but letting children and teens go off on their own and think on their own is very important.
2) Superhero Parents Take Over In a Crisis
Of course, parents should help their children through difficult times (this varies from spilled milk on a class project to earthquakes). But, I said ‘help’ not take over. I see too many parents swoop in and takeover when their child is in a stressful time. If a school project is ruined last minute, it is important for parent and child to work together on fixing it, getting an extension or coming up with an alternative instead of parents saying ‘go to bed, I’ll finish it somehow.’ This doesn’t allow children to see how they can calmly and logically manage any situation.
3) Superhero Parents Take Away Choice
Could you imagine Superman asking Lois Lane if she wanted to be picked up when she was in a dangerous situation? Of course not, she needed saving! Many parents seem to confuse actual dangerous situations with only moderately stressful ones. In the case of danger, kids should be swooped up. But, I challenge parents to think carefully about making quick decisions for kid and taking them out of a situation that they might be able to learn from (compromising with another parent over a confused schedule, coming to a conclusion with a spouse after an argument etc).
Do you have any examples of how you have been a superhero parent that we can all learn from?