Parents: Cons of 'overcompensating'

1:31 PM, Apr 3, 2013   |    comments
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GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. -- Most parents want to do everything in their power to give their kids a happy childhood, but sometimes their best intentions can backfire.

If they do too much to make life easy for the children, they might deprive them of a chance to build the skills they will need to navigate life's ups and downs.

Dr. Marti Erickson, developmental psychologist and co-host of, shared some insightful tips for parents.

Here's what she suggests:

1. Give children a platform for independence.

This means teaching children specific skills and supporting and encouraging them as they try them out. Whether it's learning to zip their own jacket, make their own lunch, or figure out how to resolve a conflict with a friend, children need parent's to guide and coach them but not to do the task for the child. A long-term goal as parents is to prepare children to navigate life with confidence.

2. Allow children to experience the consequences of their actions.

For example, if children don't do their homework, they don't get the credit. If they don't get their dirty soccer uniform in the hamper, it doesn't get washed before the next game. If they treat a parent disrespectfully, that parent doesn't feel like driving them and their friend to the mall. If they spend their allowance on candy, they don't have money to go to the movie with a friend. Avoid being a "curling parent" who sweeps away every obstacle to a child's short-term happiness! 

3. Maintain your own strong identity beyond that of "parent".

Moms especially may fall into a pattern of being martyrs, sacrificing their own needs and interests to cater to their children. Certainly parenting does involve some sacrifice and it's important to be there to provide love and support at every stage of your child's life. But too much sacrifice will give children a sense Parents and children both benefit when parents set an example of living life fully, maintaining healthy habits, a strong friendship network, and a love of lifelong learning.

To learn more about effective parenting at every age, join Dr. Marti and her daughter Erin for "A Night Out for Me" on Wednesday, May 1, 2013, from 6-8 p.m., at the Metropolitan in Golden Valley.

There is no charge, but you must register in advance at

(Copyright 2013 by KARE. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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