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Doing EVERYTHING For And EXCESSIVELY BABYING Your Children Will Only Cause Them To Be OVERLY DEPENDENT Adults, Part 1/3

Updated on November 3, 2013

Want YOUR Children To BECOME Self-Sufficient Adults? Teach Them To DO Things for Themselves andStop Doing EVERYTHING for Them!

Disclaimer: I changed the title, the previous title was in response to a request pertaining to male-female relationships which I wrote a hub on to answer the said request. Since the two titles were similar, I decided to change the title to a subject regarding parents who cripple their children by doing everything for them.

The rewards of parenting include raising children who eventually become independent and self-sufficient adults. An independent and self-sufficient adult has a combination of intelligence and survival skills. He/ she can successfully navigate himself/herself through all facets of life. He/she can face and survive both the positive and negative aspects of life. He/she does not crumble when negativity occurs, he/she has the ability to bounce back from failure and/or improvise newer and better ways of doing things.


It used to be that young adults could not wait to become independent and self-sufficient. They were raised by parents who taught them the importance of accountability and responsibility. This was done by giving children chores in accordance to their age and capacity level. As little as three and a half decades ago, it was quite de rigueur to see children performing some type of household chore or other. It was the reasoning of such parents that doing chores give children a sense of a work ethic and a level of competency when tasks are completed.

In addition to that, children were free to play with little supervision. There were no such thing as closely supervised play dates. When it was age appropriate, they were also allowed to venture into areas alone. Decades ago, it was not unusual to see children either walking or taking transportation to school without their parents.

Children were taught to do simple tasks such as tie their shoes and do their laundry at early ages. They were given baby steps regarding performing tasks which would make them increasingly independent. They were expected to make mistakes and sometimes fail; however, they were expected to pick themselves up.

Parents did not necessarily rush in to rescue their children from life's little travails. In fact, it was the belief then that too much parental interference and rescuing would psychologically cripple a child and would not teach him/her important life lessons. They were taught that so-called failures and mistakes were part of life and they live and learn.

In addition to the abovementioned, older children and teens when they could, had either afterschool and/or summer jobs. I remember in high school, there were students who worked afterschool for about 3 hours on Friday and Saturday afternoons and/or worked during the summer months. It was a badge of hour for teenagers to have jobs. It signified being an adult. Oftentimes, one could not wait to get a summer job because it meant having more discretionary monies. The monies were YOUR OWN and you were not so dependent upon parental allowance no matter how much it was.

In those "olden" days, if you did not work either afterschool or during the summer months, you were often looked at in askance. You were viewed somewhat as an oddity. It was wondered amongst your friends and peers when you are going to be semi-independent through a job. Not only poor teens worked afterschool and during summer months, middle, upper middle, and even rich teens had jobs. One of my maternal aunts worked as a maid for a very wealthy woman. She had three children and all had summer jobs from the time of early adolescence either as camp counsellor and/or other forms of employment.

Almost every preteen and/or teen I knew had either an afterschool and/or summer job in one way or another. It was thought that afterschool and/or summer jobs inculcated a young person regarding the workings of the work world and imbues one with a work ethic. Those who had no summer jobs particularly were viewed as quite unmotivated!

Decades ago, parents were of the school that parenting was not a lifelong vocation. It was hope that children would gradually become independent with viable lives of their own. By the time, one reached 18 years of age, he/she was considered to be an adult. Being 18 was considered the hallmark of being an adult. One could not wait to embrace and test the waters of adulthood so to speak.

18 was no longer a kid anymore. It was during the time of the 1970s that 18 years old voted for the first time. These protoadult years were a time to make preparations to successfully transition into adulthood. By the time one reached 21 years of age and graduated from college/university, one was ready to enter the work and adult world. Many of us at that time did not have less than ideal jobs, particularly those who majored in the humanities and liberal arts; however, we preserved until things got better.

There were overinvolved and overprotective parents back in the day but they were very few and far between. Now, the phenomena of the overinvolved and overprotective parent have reach epidemic proportions. Everywhere one looks around, parents seem to just hover over their children and do things for their children that they are quite capable of doing for themselves.


Many postmodern parents believe that the world is way too dangerous a place for children. They feel that children are totally incapable of navigating their environment. These same parents took extreme umbrage when Leonore Skenazy, a journalist, permitted her 9 year old son to ride the subway home alone. Many parents contended that Ms. Skenazy was the worst parent on record. It was these parents' estimation that no 9 year old child is capable of using transportation alone.

It seems to be the age of the overanxious parent. These parents are fearful and inculcate their children to be the same. They are of the school that childhood should be as stressfree and responsibility free as humanely possible. It is nothing for these parents to do simple chores and/or other related simple tasks that they could do themselves. If you mention to these parents the fact that children could do chores, you would see a horrific look on their faces. You are now seen by such parents as a child abuser and better yet, slave driver.

To such parents, children should NOT be doing chores at all. According to them, chores would interfere with their children's happy childhoods. These parents contend that children should just play and generally have it as easy as possible. In the hopes to make their children's lives elatedly happy, these parents aim to do everything and/or almost everything for their children.

It is not unusual that some parents today even do their children's homework for them, especially if the latter portends that the homework is too difficult. You see these parents do not want their children to experience any form of angst, difficulty, and/or frustration. To them, the sign of being a concerned and/or good parent is to assuage their children's frustrations with life.

Even though these parents believe that they are doing the VERY BEST for their children, such is NOT the case. Actually, these parents strongly believe that their children are "lesser" and quite incapable of independently mastering tasks on their own. They actually do not respect the individual competencies of their children. They believe that as adults, they should be doing the tasks for their children as the latter, in their eyes, are not capable of mastering the tasks at hand.

Furthermore, these parents adamantly assert that as parents, they are to be forever omnipotent and omnipresent in the lives of their children. To them, good parents should fulfill their children's every desire and need. They feel that children should be protected as in a proverbial womb. The concept of a child either being independent and/or becoming increasingly independent is quite undaunting and unnerving for such parents. They want their children to be always NEEDING them. After all, in their estimation that what children should be the passive party while they be the active party.

The overinvolved and/or overprotective parent want to have inordinate control over their children. They constantly want to know who, when, and/or what. Their children must always account for their decisions to them. While it is good for parents to be vigilant regarding their children's associations and whereabouts, it is quite another thing for parents to be overvigilant, not giving their children a say in the decision making process so to speak.

Children of overinvolved and/or overprotective parents are constantly on lock down. They are not free to play unfettered and sometimes unsuperivised(depending on the children's respective age). Their parents must be with them at all times. It can be quite unnerving for a normal elementary school age child to be treated as if he/she is a two or three year old. That is what many overinvolved and/or overprotective parents do-infantilize their children to their extreme detriment. These parents are simply fearful to let their children just........BE!


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    • freecampingaussie profile image


      8 years ago from Southern Spain

      So true - I read that it is not that there is more happening it is just with the internet we hear more of the reports than we used to . That mum of the 9 yearold at least knows her son can get home if lost anytime ! We used to play outside for hours and so did our kids , we all had jobs after school, jobs at home and were able to be a bit independent .

      It is sad how some parents are these days .

    • gmwilliams profile imageAUTHOR

      Grace Marguerite Williams 

      8 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York

      Dahlia, there must be an equitable balance between the two extremes. Overrelexed parenting is just as harmful, even more so than overprotective and overintrusive parenting.

    • Dahlia Flower profile image

      Dahlia Flower 

      8 years ago from Canada

      I agree with much that you've said here, but it is important to a degree to be more vigilant about our children and grandchlildren these days than it was 30, 20 or even 15 years ago. For whatever the reasons, there are way more perverted people around than there used to be and a child playing out in a backfield, for instance, unsupervised, is at risk. This is just an example. You didn't suggest a child do such a thing.

      But I see parents -- some parents -- these days being over-relaxed about the whereabouts of their little children.

      Voting up and interesting.

    • gmwilliams profile imageAUTHOR

      Grace Marguerite Williams 

      8 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York

      While I totally agree with you, summer jobs does teach teens a work ethic, give them transferable skills and/or interfacing skills. Yes, I believe in total academic education of youth; however, one must have work skills also to go along with the education. Thank you for your input, tussin, it is greatly appreciated!

    • tussin profile image

      I'M BANNED Y'ALL!!!!!!!!!! 

      8 years ago from Behind You

      It's harder for a male teen to get a minimum wage manual labor job anymore when there are so many illegal immigrants and unscrupulous employers who will hire them under the table for peanuts (or tacos). When I was a young man, a 16-year-old could get a construction job during the summers and save up money for college. Nowadays? Ha! Only if you're the son of a supervisor.

      Not to mention, there are already enough underemployed and overqualified adults looking for work these days, it would suck to have kids taking these jobs when they don't really *need* them. Besides, a lot of parents would rather enroll their pre-college kids in academic summer programs to give them an edge in college admissions. Academic scholarships go a hell of a lot further than meager wages earned from a summer job.

      Times have changed and it's unrealistic to expect teenagers to have jobs.

    • gmwilliams profile imageAUTHOR

      Grace Marguerite Williams 

      8 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York

      Thank you, Esther, one must always find a balance for the benefit of our precious children.

    • Esther  Strong profile image

      Esther Strong 

      8 years ago from UK

      Although I have my children take on specific chores and responsibilities they do not have the same level of freedom that I had as a child. I think this is in part due to there being far more detailed and widespread news reporting nowadays that "scare" parents into being overprotective - but as your hub rightly points out, it's important to get the balance right for the child's sake as well as the parent.

      Voted up etc.


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