Why Parents Should Avoid Coddling Their Kids

Why Parents Should Avoid Coddling Their Kids
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Parents always have the best intentions for their children, but there’s a significant contrast between nurturing and coddling. Lauren Solotar, Ph.D., Chief Psychologist at the May Institute, puts it succinctly: “Infants are completely distinct. They rely 100 percent on their caregivers physically, cognitively, and emotionally.” However, as children grow older, coddling can become problematic if parents aren’t careful.
Encouraging Problem-Solving Skills
The reason why coddling can cause such huge problems is because it inhibits children’s ability to solve problems independently. When parents intervene in every minor issue or disagreement, kids miss out on important life lessons. For instance, if a child has an argument with a friend, it’s better for them to resolve it on their own instead of having a parent step in. (Of course, every situation is different, so parents still need to exercise good judgment.) The main difference is: a nurturing parent equips their child with the skills to handle conflicts, whereas a coddling parent provides immediate gratification for wants rather than focusing on needs. This should be the benchmark for parents: gratification against genuine necessity. In other words, overemphasizing gratification can impair a child’s ability to handle stress and make sound decisions in the long run.
Here are five practical tips to help parents get started:
 – Let Them Play on Their Own: Encourage your kids to find their own fun without always needing you to entertain them. It helps them get creative and figure things out on their own.
 – Give Them Chores: Have your kids do simple chores around the house like setting the table, folding laundry, or tidying up their room. It doesn’t have to be perfect, it’s just to  teach them responsibility and independence.
 – Let Them Make Choices: Allow kids to make decisions, like picking out their clothes or choosing from healthy options for lunch. This builds their confidence and decision-making skills.
 – Teach Them to Solve Fights: When they have disagreements, help them learn how to work it out with their friends instead of always stepping in to sort things out.
 – Wait Before Giving In: Instead of giving them what they want right away, teach them to wait and work for it, like saving up their allowance or setting small goals. It helps them learn patience and the value of effort.
The Rise of Anxiety
Anxiety is a widespread problem among today’s youth. According to the *National Institute of Mental Health*, approximately 32% of adolescents in the U.S. suffer from anxiety disorders. Constant coddling can exacerbate this issue because children don’t learn to face challenges and setbacks in a healthy manner. When confronted with real-world problems, they may feel overwhelmed and anxious due to always having had someone else manage things. This is why it’s so vital for parents to let their children experience and overcome difficulties independently to build resilience.
The Need for Extra Support
Sometimes, traditional therapy may not suffice for a child experiencing severe anxiety or other mental health issues. In such instances, an intensive outpatient program can be invaluable. Programs like the Denver Intensive Outpatient Program offer additional support and specialized treatment that help kids develop coping skills and mental resilience. These programs provide a structured environment that allows children to receive the necessary help while continuing to live at home and maintain their routines.
Cultivating Future Resilience
Ultimately, the objective is to raise children who are not only content but also mentally robust and resilient. This involves allowing them the space to solve their problems, face disappointments, and understand that life won’t always be fair. It’s all about balancing support with independence. So, take a step back and give your kids the room to walk their own paths. They’ll grow stronger and be better prepared for the future.

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Katherine is just getting her start as a journalist. She attended a technical school while still in high school where she learned a variety of skills, from photography to nutrition. Her enthusiasm for both natural and human sciences is real so she particularly enjoys covering topics on medicine and the environment.

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