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Tuesdays with Jane: How Hard Can You Push?

Is your child a pleaser, who tends to do whatever you ask to keep you happy? Is your child a free spirit, who often doesn’t really hear you? Or, is your child a controller, who’s had clear ideas of how the world should be run from just about Day One? How would you describe your child’s reaction to parenting?

While some children welcome loving attempts by parents to organize their lives, others dig in their feet hard, early, and sometimes disastrously. Even Amy Chua, who wrote The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, admits that the very structured parenting techniques that worked so well with her older daughter simply backfired with her younger daughter.

In A Nation of Wimps, Hara Marano speaks of the huge increase in counseling staffs at colleges and universities necessary to meet the ever–increasing percentage of students with anxiety disorders and depression. While it’s easy to see when over–control results in outright rebellion, another effect of what’s become known as “helicopter parenting” can be that children don’t learn how to make decisions and choices by themselves.

There’s an upward limit, then, on how much parental involvement is healthy, whether your child accepts or rebels. Personality type, the framework Kidtelligent uses to tailor parenting advice, can help you make sense of what’s best for your particular child. I know it often helps me think through, Is this what’s best for me or best for my child?

 I mentioned to a neighbor recently that someone had said to me, “You let your child major in Philosophy and English?” My neighbor laughed and said, “As if anyone could force any of our children to major in anything!” Parenting will always be an incredibly complex balancing act, juggling what you know is best with what you know will help your child make those best choices by themselves. Unless of course you’d welcome them living in your basement when they’re 30 years old!

By 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