How to tell if you are overbearing

PLUGGED IN: Although parents need to check what their children are up to online to  notice any dangers they must not invade their privacy  PHOTO: ISTOCK
PLUGGED IN: Although parents need to check what their children are up to online to notice any dangers they must not invade their privacy PHOTO: ISTOCK

Are you an overbearing parent?

We have all seen that scene on television where parents leave the kids with a baby-sitter so that they can go out to dinner.

They would leave a list of instructions on the fridge about what time the kids should be fed, what to feed them, the restaurant's telephone numbers and the emergency numbers to be reached at.

Then, while at the restaurant, they constantly call the house to check in every five minutes.

Are you the same as a parent?

There is a misconception that being a parent means constantly knowing your child's comings and goings. And while it may be true that a good parent will need to meddle in their child's life nowadays to prevent certain unfortunate events, there can be a very fine line between being overbearing and being simply plugged in.

To find out how to tow the line, psychologist Kerileng Metsileng, who has experience in helping parents establish a healthy relationship with their children, gives us some insights. Metsileng defines what constitutes an overbearing parent.

"It basically means being too involved in your children's daily activities - suffocating them, not allowing them to make their own decisions and mistakes.

"But most importantly, it means not trusting your children to make the right choices," she says.

"If we go a bit deeper, it can translate to you not actually trusting in your own skills as a parent, not trusting that you have equipped your child enough with the necessary knowledge of right and wrong.

"Being a parent is almost like being a coach for a soccer team. You may have given your players all the training before the game but when it comes to the actual day of the match, all you can do is watch from the sidelines and supervise when it calls for it."

That being said, Metsileng says there are certain areas that a parent should never compromise on.

Metsileng says you are not overbearing as a parent if you:

lMonitor your child's social media and online interactions

"A parent can never be too careful when it comes to watching closely what their children get up to online. With child predators, cyber bullying as well as exposure to pornographic material online, it is vital to constantly be on the lookout for your child's safety."

lKnowing your child's whereabouts

"It is completely not overbearing to want to be informed of your child's whereabouts, and who they are with at all times.

"Abductions are a real danger, and having that close-knit relationship where your child reports their movements to you as a parent will certainly go a long way in alerting you if something is sinister."

lMonitor your child's schoolwork

"This certainly goes without saying. Every parent needs to be up-to-date with how their child is faring in school.

"It is of utmost importance to always be there to find out if there are any learning disabilities at play or to enforce discipline within their studies."

lHow to tell that you are crossing the line to overbearing

Metsileng says once a parent knows what not to compromise on, everything else should be handled with ease.

"Being an overbearing parent is a poor parenting trait that, if not nipped in the bud earlier on, can extend even towards adulthood.

"Everyone knows those parents who refuse to cut the cord, so much so that they would step into their adult children's lives and try to dictate how they raise their own children, to have a say in their choice of life partner, where to live and even what career choices they should make. The overbearing parenting trait starts off in childhood."