Easing up on kids

Here are five tips to help reduce parental hovering from Carleton Kendrick, a Millis-based family therapist, and
author of “Take Out Your Nose Ring, Honey, We’re Going to Grandma’s.”

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1 Don’t push them to be you: “Don’t be disappointed if your children do not naturally, automatically share your interest in certain activities or pursuits,” Kendrick said. “They are not rejecting you. These activities are simply not their thing.”

2 Be honest about your motivations: “Summon some gut-level courage and ask yourself why it’s so vital that your child not only participate in certain activities but
also achieve considerable
success in them,” he said. “If your answers are rooted in fears, or building a ‘perfect’ college-application resume,” your motivation comes from
an unhealthy place.”

3 Forget gender stereotypes: “Pushing/directing your boys and girls to engage, respectively, in stereotypically ‘manly and ‘girly’ activities will not automatically produce your comfort-level version of masculine boys and feminine girls,” Kendrick said. “Take a good look at what’s driving your
favoring and prioritizing these gender-based activities.”

4 Don’t overschedule: “Do you mistakenly believe that being a ‘good parent’ includes keeping your children busy with so many activities that they will have no time to be unproductive, idle, or get into trouble?” Kendrick asked. “Children need time to simply play with their friends, unencumbered by adult supervision, to learn how to resourcefully entertain and fascinate themselves, to be bored, to be free of performing up to your expectations and approval.”

5 Let them take the lead: “Take your cues from your children’s naturally occurring expressions of curiosity,”
Kendrick said.

BETH TEITELL