Are you becoming one of those micromanaging parents?
Do you constantly interfere when your child has a friend over to play? Insist they always wear clothes that meet your standards? Hover over them on the sidelines as they play sports? Constantly check on them as they do their homework?
Micromanaging, also known as over-parenting, shows itself in many ways. Sometimes it makes parents fight with their kids over who their friends are or confront teachers and coaches because they feel their child is not performing up to their expectations.
For some parents, it means obsessing about what college their child will go to–when they are still very young.
Children who are micro-managed will most likely grow up either rebelling or becoming overly dependent on their parents to manage their life when they run into problems.
Believe me, as much as you like being “needed” and involved in your child’s life as they grow up, there will come a time when you are tired of the stress and emotional strain of micromanaging and wish that you could just let it go.
If you fear that you might be leaning towards micromanaging your kids, there are two simple ways to help you steer clear of becoming THAT parent.
Let Go In Small Steps
When your children are small, be intentional about choosing areas where you CAN let go. Purpose every day to give your child opportunities to make their own choices. Teaching them to make good choices starts with conversations about those choices and then stepping back and letting them make them.
Letting go of your children should not happen all at once when they leave the house at 18; it has got to start early on and progress in stages if your child is going to learn how to manage their own behavior.
Give Up the Need for Perfection
It’s okay if they don’t clean the bathroom exactly like you would or do their homework in the same environment that you’d prefer them to–at the table under your direction.
And if they forget to do their homework because you didn’t remind them, let the teacher dole out the consequences.
But what if they get a bad grade? You may say. I’m pretty sure they will learn their lesson if that happens. On the other hand, I can guarantee you that if you make a habit of micromanaging their school work, they will not learn the discipline to work on their own.
This is hard for perfectionist parents. However, it’s important to distinguish between a parent having high standards and a parent being a perfectionist. A parent who has high, but reachable standards, can help motivate their child to succeed.
Conversely, perfectionist parents often put too much pressure on kids to perform perfectly, and if a child feels they cannot reach those perfectionist standards, they may result to cheating or lying to gain approval and avoid failure.
Micromanaging Parents = Micromanaging Bosses
If you’ve ever worked for a micromanaging boss, you have felt the frustration of having someone always looking over your shoulder, telling you how to do your job. True leaders know that people work better when they have been given instructions and then are given some room to do the job their way.
As parents, you’ve got to bring that philosophy into your home. Lay down the boundaries, then let your kids manage themselves within that perimeter.
For instance, when your child comes home from school, let them know that their homework must be done before dinner and that dinner is at 6:00. Then let them decide when and where they will do their homework. If your child is younger and needs more structure, then set a specific time and let them choose where they will work and what snack they’d like before they begin to work.
And here’s the bottom line, golden nugget truth about micromanaging your kids: if you are instilling core values in your children, they will need less and less managing because they will be able to manage themselves. When core values are part of your family culture, you will find that there is no need to micromanage because your child will start making smart choices on their own.
If you’d like help learning how to not micromanage your kids, I have some tools that will help. Schedule a free consulting call here.