I’m learning that a lot of parenting is a balancing act. Don’t be too strict or too lenient. Don’t hover, but still have enough boundaries. There’s a sweet spot in almost every part of what we do as moms. One area we can easily forget to temper is how much we focus on our kids. Could you be giving your child too much attention?
What? Too much? That’s like saying you’re too good of a mom. But giving your child too much attention is nearly as harmful as giving your child too little. So here are 7 ways to tell if your home is too child-centered.
You cook separate meals for the kids.
Sure, if you and your husband are eating salmon that was $14 per pound and you know the kids won’t eat it, pizza and nuggets are fine. But if every night, you’re bending over backward to prepare a second meal so they will eat and (more importantly) not pitch a fit, then you are telling your children the kitchen revolves around them.
You find yourself giving in to your child’s demands or negotiations.
My older son is a good negotiator. He’s logical and persistent. But even if he’s made a good point, I have to stick to my guns and not give in or else I’m failing to teach him respect for authority. I’ll listen and respond, but sometimes I have to give him this classic line: “You need to do what you’re told because you’re not in charge and I am.”
Your child interrupts conversations between adults.
Research in child development says that until kids are about seven, they have a very self-centered view of the world. You might be able to train a five-year-old not to interrupt, but he won’t completely understand why it’s rude. But for a bigger kid who developmentally should be less egocentric, interrupting is an assertion of power.
Your kids come before your marriage.
Turning away from your child to turn toward your husband will not hurt your children. I’m not saying do it all day every day, but it will give them a sense of security to see the two people who love them most love each other enough to make their marriage a priority.
Turning away from your child to turn toward your husband will not hurt your children.
You have no adult-only space.
Yes, it’s his house too—but if you have no toy-free, game-free, kid-free zone where you can go and breathe, you’re telling your child there is no space where his or her needs don’t take precedence.
You stay home because of your child’s behavior.
Have you turned down invitations to get-togethers because you know your child won’t behave, or you don’t go out to dinner because he or she can’t sit still? You think you’re just choosing your battles, but you’re giving your children the reins and missing out on situations that can help them learn and grow.
Your child sleeps with you every night.
If your 4-year-old never sleeps in his or her own bed, you could be giving your child too much attention. I’m not talking about planned co-sleeping. Reactive co-sleeping, though, is a lack of setting and enforcing boundaries.
Could you be giving your child too much attention? Which one of these is hardest for you to think about changing?