Do you overparent?

It seems we are so obsessed these days with the fear that, if we don’t put our kids in the top school, provide enough life-experience(and so we sign them up for every extra-curricular activity under the sun), save up every penny of our children’s college savings,  our children are going to be un-prepared for life, socially weird and might even feel a little dis-comfort because they haven’t been handed everything they’ve ever needed. There is a definition to this type of parenting theology  and it’s called “overparenting.”

Pastor Pete Wilson helps deepen our perspective on this issue of overparenting:

We push them to walk by age 1.

We desire they excel at a sport by age 9.

We calculate grade point averages and start talking about scholarships by 6th grade.

We want them to not only master the English language but learn a few others before they graduate.

Years ago I heard a message by Andy Stanley where he talked about how these days we’re tempted to raise kids who are experience rich but relationally poor. In other words they’ve attended every camp, played every sport, mastered most of the arts, played three instruments, but they were so busy they never had the opportunity to just sit around the kitchen table.

I’m worried that sometimes in our effort to give our kids what we didn’t have we rob them of one of the most important things we can give them…ourselves.

I read an interesting article the other day entitled “The Growing Backlash Against Overparenting”.  They said…

Since the onset of the Great Recession, according to a CBS News poll, a third of parents have cut their kids’ extracurricular activities. They downsized, downshifted and simplified because they had to — and often found, much to their surprise, that they liked it. When a TIME poll last spring asked how the recession had affected people’s relationships with their kids, nearly four times as many people said relationships had gotten better as said they’d gotten worse.

How ironic that we might actually become better parents creating a richer family with less money and fewer opportunities.

What we need to ask ourselves is not,  which soccer camp I need to sign my kid up for next, but rather “how can we help to shape our children relationally?” with the real understanding that life lives and breathes relationships. How will our children ever know us, let alone know Jesus, if they don’t ever see value in people rather than things?