By Tara Weng, GalTime.com
The Over-Competitive Parent I always feel a little queasy when I am told by one of my offspring: "mom I have a project due."
Give me an essay or a book report and I'm on board. When it comes to the artistic portion of said project however I know I will be out-matched and overwhelmed.
My latest artistic endeavor involved making a clay raven to encapsulate what my son was trying to say about Edgar Allen Poe, I was told "it looks like a turd , on a plate."
My confidence--clearly shaken.
It's not at all the act of watching or helping my child with a poster board, diorama, or other such craft--it's knowing that more often than not the other kids' parents will be doing their projects for them.
I don't know how many times I've walked into a classroom and saw a life-sized, paper mache grizzly bear waiting my arrival..and I know the average eight-year-old didn't make this.
So why do these parents feel the need to horn in?
I consulted one of GalTime's resident parenting experts, Barbara Greenberg. Ph.D, for her take.
"All too often parents live vicariously through their children. This often rears its head when parents get involved in not only helping but actually doing their kids' school projects. This ultimately turns out to be a competition between the parents and has little to do with the emotional well-being of the children. In fact, it may even give the message that "cheating" is acceptable."
This brings up a valuable point. Are we teaching our kids to cheat? And further, are we mocking those kids whose parents don't stay up all night and perfect those masterpieces?
I realize that there is a way to help your kids on these assignments without helping them look like the next Frank Lloyd Wright or Monet. In my opinion, back off, let the kid do the best they can and when they do ask for help--help but don't do the entire project in your vision.
I've officially hung up my artist's apron and handed over all glue sticks, paint, and clay to my kids--and their father for minor adjustments.
What do you think? Where's the line between parent participation...and parents run amok?
More from GalTime:
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- How Can We Change the Way We Teach Our Kids Social Values?
- 5 Ways to Parent a Perfectionist
- Top 9 Reasons Why Kids Cheat and the Solutions