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Balanced Parenting

boy-skateboardingParenting is a balancing act—and no one who is honest will tell you that they did it just right.

If you’re overprotective, your children become fearful
If you aren’t protective enough, they’ll have good reason to be fearful
If you guide or make all their decisions, they’ll lack the ability to reason
If you give them responsibility for decisions too early, they may be hampered by poor choices

  • The list could go on and on, couldn’t it? Here are a few tips for balancing as best you can.
  • Read a couple of experts. Check out A Nation of Wimps (Marano) to understand the dangers of being over-involved in your child’s life. And Free-Range Kids (Skenazy) paints a humorous picture of overprotection. Perhaps both books over-advocate for their sides of the issues, but add needed balance in a media world filled with dire warnings about child safety and competitive college entrance criteria.
  • Avoid “competitive parenting.” Yes, checking with others as to how they’re handling issues is great, but younger parents are telling me that “Keeping up with the Jones’s” has morphed into “Beating the Jones’s.” Are the other parents around you taking a superior attitude because of the tutors they hire, their involvement in their children’s homework, the boxes of antibacterial wipes they go through, or the age at which their child mastered Chinese, swimming or multiplication tables? If so, take a step back and think what is best for your vision of a balanced childhood!
  • Trust your child—and trust the world. In the next weeks, we’ll take a look at little ways to hand off responsibility to children of every age.

One way to approach this whole topic is to think of how you want your children to be when they’re 25. Employers do not look kindly on job applicants whose parents attend interviews or make follow-up calls (I wish I were kidding, but I teach a course where are many participants work as college career center counselors—and they all report having to advise parents to back off!!) If you want to raise responsible children who can make good decisions, yet still consider you a great source of advice, it’s never too early to get them started!


Jane Kise, Ed.D. – Educational Advisor and Consultant, 
Jane  writes an insightful post every Tuesday for Kidtelligent. Jane is an educational consultant, specializing in teambuilding, coaching, and school staff development. She is also the coauthor of more than 20 books. Jane’s website  is