Who doesn’t want to be an awesome mom or dad? Of course we all do, but sometimes our passion and enthusiasm leads to an ambitious approach which can cross the line.
Sadly, over-functioning parents produce complementary under-functioning children. If parents do too much for their children, the kids evade doing things for themselves. Our kin come to expect us to solve their problems and handle their responsibilities. They don’t develop skills and ultimately stay dependent. That only fuels our belief that they can’t manage without us and we once again step in to help, which keeps the system of over-functioning and under-function going.
Are you worried you might be crossing the line? Here are 10 signs that you’re doing too much for you kids.
1) You’re tired
Of course you’re tired! You’re basically living two people’s lives: your own and your child’s. All day long you are doing two people’s work and looking after two people’s responsibilities. Of course you’re falling asleep on the couch before you can even log into your Netflix account.
2) You’re resentful
Overdoing parents often step in after they have failed to motivate their under-functioning child to do their job. We plea, urge, remind and barter only to fail, and then we still end up carrying their hockey bag in from the car. When you end up doing things for your child you know they should be doing themselves, you feel put-upon, resentful and unappreciated.
3) Your children accuse and blame you
“You didn’t pack my skates! You forgot my lunch money! You made me late!” If your child is wagging the finger at you, laying blame on you for their problems, this is a red flag that you’ve been doing too much for them. Clearly they have come to believe that you are still ultimately responsible for every aspect of their life. Hmm… how did they come to think like that? Just saying…
4) You’re the only one
Look around, who else is wiping their child’s nose? Nobody else in their grade 8 class? Are there other parents standing by their child’s locker and loading their backpack? Who else is helping their child get dressed after swimming? If you aren’t sure what your child is capable of, ask your pediatrician and pay attention to what similar aged children are doing independently.
5) Your kids are bossy and demanding
You know you’re doing too much when your child talks down to you and makes barking demands: “Tie my shoe!” “Get my juice!” “Drive me to the mall.” Me thinks they doth protest too much.
6) Your kids are resistant to doing anything
If you have been overdoing for your child, they may have learned a helplessness attitude and are resistant to doing pretty much anything for themselves. That resistance or persistent under-functioning fuels your belief that they are incapable rather than unwilling, and so you feel more compelled to step in and cross boundary lines to rescue them from their responsibilities.
7) You’re shocked to hear what they can do when you’re not around
You may be shocked or even hurt that you have to fight each morning to ensure your teen is awake on time for school, yet when they are at camp as a counsellor in training, they get themselves up for kitchen patrol at 6 a.m. without your help at all. Who’s being fooled about their abilities?
8) Your life is unbalanced
Are you avoiding your own life? Many parents who focus too intensely on the upbringing of their children are keeping themselves very busy with a noble cause. However, could it be that they are actually avoiding getting on with their own life? Who are you when you’re not busy being a parent? Raising children is one important part of our life, but if we make it our whole life, we lose our sense of self and we put undue pressure on our children to fulfill us.
9) You have low tolerance for stress and anxiety
Many overdoing parents step in to help their children for their own purposes. If you can’t tolerate your child’s disappointments, tears, frustrations, mistakes and imperfections, it could be your own heightened anxiety driving you to solve the issue at hand quickly, so you don’t have to suffer.
10) You have excessive standards
Children are growing and developing so they will inevitably be slow, sloppy and uncoordinated and thus, make mistakes. If you have high standards, you may jump in too soon to correct, re-do, help, resolve or take over in the name of hitting a standard. Sure, it’s their job to clean up after a spill, but can you handle their abilities or do you need to step in with mop in hand to get the job done in a way you feel is right? Can you give up control and allow your child to pick what they want to wear over what you think matches? If you can’t tolerate polka dot tights with a striped skirt, you may not want to hand off the responsibility of dressing. After all, what will people think of YOU? Gulp.
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In 2014, Sting told the Daily Mail that he’ll be spending his own money, thank you very much. “I told [the kids] there won't be much money left because we are spending it! We have a lot of commitments. What comes in, we spend, and there isn't much left,” the Police frontman said. “I certainly don't want to leave them trust funds that are albatrosses round their necks,” Sting, who is a father of six grown kids, continued. “They have to work. All my kids know that and they rarely ask me for anything, which I really respect and appreciate.”
Although celebrity chef Nigella Lawson came from a wealthy family herself, she made her own fortune through the success of her cookbooks and TV shows. Now she expects her children to do the same, and work hard to support themselves. “I am determined that my children should have no financial security. It ruins people not having to earn money,” she said. Lawson has two kids with ex-husband John Diamond: Cosima, 22 and Bruno, 20.
Bill Gates and wife Melinda founded the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 1994, with over $40 billion in assets. They then started “The Giving Pledge,” which was their promise to donate half of their wealth to charity. Additionally, they invited other wealthy individuals to join their pledge. Gates, who has three kids with his wife, said in 2010: “I knew I didn't think it was a good idea to give the money to my kids. That wouldn't be good either for my kids or society.”
Simon Cowell became a first-time father in 2014. However, before his son Eric was even born, the former “American Idol” judge admitted that he had no plans to leave his $300 million fortune to him. “I'm going to leave my money to somebody. A charity, probably -- kids and dogs,” he told Esquire UK. “I don't believe in passing on from one generation to another.”
The renowned English composer is a father of five and has no plans to leave a cent of his fortune to any of his kids. While he plans to leave his kids in good hands, most of his fortune will go to arts programs. “[A will] is one thing you do start to think about when you get to my age,” he said. “I don't think it should be about having a whole load of rich children and grandchildren. I think it should be used as a way to encourage the arts.”
KISS bassist Gene Simmons worked hard to make a name for himself and he wants his two kids – Nick, 27 and Sophie, 23 – to do the same. “In terms of an inheritance and stuff, they're gonna be taken care of, but they will never be rich off my money,” he told CNBC. “Because every year they should be forced to get up out of bed, and go out and work and make their own way.”
The late Oscar winner passed away in 2014 from a heroin overdose. Following his death, it was revealed that Hoffman did not leave any money to his three children because he “did not want his children to be considered ‘trust fund’ kids.” Instead, his fortune was left to their mother, his longtime girlfriend Mimi O’Donnell.
George Lucas joined Bill Gates’ Giving Pledge in 2010 and promised to donate half his wealth to charity. “I am dedicating the majority of my wealth to improving education,” Lucas wrote in his pledge letter. Two years later, the father-of-four also revealed he would be donating the over $4 billion he received from Disney for Lucas Films.
In 2011, the 61-year-old actor and martial artist revealed that he will not be leaving a cent to his son Jaycee when he dies. Instead, he will be giving away half his fortune to charity. “If he is capable, he can make his own money. If he is not, then he will just be wasting my money,” Chan told Channel News Asia.
Business investor and father-of-three Warren Buffet has pledged to give 99 per cent of his wealth away during his lifetime, 83 per cent of which will go to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. “I want to give my kids just enough so that they would feel that they could do anything, but not so much that they would feel like doing nothing,” he said.
The Canadian businessman and investor won’t leave money to his two kids because he doesn’t want the money to take away from their work ethic. “If you don’t start out your life with the fear of not being able to feed yourself and your family, then what motivates you to go get a job?” he said. “Fear motivated me, and it will motivate them.” However, O’Leary does plan to set up trusts for his grandkids and great grandkids, reports TIME.
The 68-year-old singer told Mirror UK that his kids won’t be getting a cent of his estimated $380 million fortune. “Of course I want to leave my boys in a very sound financial state. But it's terrible to give kids a silver spoon. It ruins their life,” the father-of-two said. “Listen, the boys live the most incredible lives, they're not normal kids, and I'm not pretending they are,” John continued. “But you have to have some semblance of normality, some respect for money, some respect for work.”