mom in boxing gloves
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You Fight Your Child's Battles

Your daughter comes home in tears after an argument with a friend. What do you do? If you answered, “Call the friend’s mom to work out the problem,” you need to take a step back.

Try this instead: Be a support system, but let her talk it out. Teach her how to calm her emotions, then help her explore ways she and the friend can work it out on their own.

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man doing kids homework
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You Do Their Schoolwork

Put on your preschooler’s shoes. Solve a hard math equation for your teen … there are plenty of ways to swoop in to save your kids from feeling frustrated. But healthy levels of stress can actually boost his problem-solving skills. 

Try this instead: Let your kids figure things out on their own. Praise their efforts when they stick with hard situations.

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parent with coach
3 / 7

You Coach His Coaches

If you shout advice from the stands during your kids’ games or corner the coach to talk after every practice, it might be time to sideline yourself. Sports can teach your child how to deal with conflict, work toward a goal, be a leader, and cope with defeat. But it has to be his team, not yours. 

Try this instead: If he asks for your help or you can see he has a problem, teach him how to talk to the coach himself.

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mom at kids birthday party
4 / 7

You Keep Your Kids on a Short Leash

You stick around for drop-off birthday parties. You drive your teen to friends’ houses even when they’re only a short walk away. You send daily check-in texts (plural) to your college student. Sound familiar? If so, it’s time to cut the apron strings and let your kids build some self-confidence. 

Try this instead: Create chances for them to be independent: Let them play in the yard while you stay inside or walk the dog solo.

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mom vacuuming teens room
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You're a Maid in Your Own House

Do you still make your first grader’s bed, clean your teen’s room, or do your college student’s laundry? It’s time to lighten your load. Make your kid pitch in around the house and you’ll teach him responsibility for a lifetime. 

Try this instead: Start with small tasks and build from there. Be clear about what you expect him to do, and praise a job well done.

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mom bubblewrapping son
6 / 7

You Play It Too Safe

“Get down from up there!” “Don’t ride so fast!” “Hold my hand down the slide!” Would you bubble wrap your kids if you could? Turns out you can protect them too much. When you don’t let them take physical or mental risks, you can stunt their development. 

Try this instead: Remember the goal is to keep him as safe as necessary, not as safe as possible. Let him climb a tree, or fall and scrape his knee. It’s good for his growth as a person.

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girl spilling milk
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You Can't Let Them Fail

Think of the last time you made a mistake. Chances are, you learned from it. Your kids need to do the same. Trial and error teaches them how to make their way in the world. If you take over a project or task to “do it right,” they won’t learn how to tackle problems in the future. 

Try this instead: Let her make mistakes every once in a while. When she fails, encourage her to try again.

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Sources | Medically Reviewed on 06/16/2016 Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on June 16, 2016

IMAGES PROVIDED BY:

1) Thinkstock

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3) Getty

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7) Getty

SOURCES:

American Academy of Pediatrics: “Everybody Gets Mad: Helping Your Child Cope with Conflict,” “For Teens: A Personal Guide for Managing Stress,” “Chores and responsibility.”

American Psychological Association: “Using Praise to Enhance Student Resilience and Learning Outcomes.”

Michigan State University Extension: “What do youth sports teach our children, really?”

University of North Texas Center for Sports Psychology: “A Guide to Being a Positive Youth Sport Parent.”

Kids Health: “Raising Confident Kids.”

Brussoni, M. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 2012.

Child Mind Institute: “What’s Wrong with Helicopter Parenting?”

Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on June 16, 2016

This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information.

THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.