Hot sauce on the tongue every time a dirty word is said. Homemade birthday cards thrown back in a child’s face with a disgusted “I expected more effort.” Hours sitting in front of the piano, trying to master a difficult composition, with no dinner or bathroom break. No sleepovers. No play dates. No grades lower than A’s. Calling a child “garbage.” Amy Chua, author of “Battle Hymn of a Tiger Mother” and professor of law at Yale University, has done it all in the name of parenting.
Moreover, her book and recent fame have certainly raised the question: is there such a thing as “overparenting?”
According to Communicare Counselor Rhonda Smillie, over-parenting can verge on the abusive when used in such a manner as Chua’s.
“Over-parenting can be abusive. It can also be protecting your children too much and making every decision for them,” Smillie said.
Mississippi law defines child abuse as any force that leaves a physical mark or results in neglect, including emotional and sexual abuse, exploitation and abandonment.
“According to research, not nurturing the child and ensuring a healthy self-esteem is abusive,” Smillie said.
In an ideal parenting situation, however, natural consequences would still exist, Smillie said. A “parenting from the heart, not parenting from unrealistic expectations,” outlook makes for the best situation, Smillie said.
“The best type of parenting would naturally be one that respects the child as an individual as well as teaches them to be concerned about others,” Smillie said.
RULES AND CONSEQUENCES
Rules and consequences also play a large role in a healthy parent-child relation, but, in Smillie’s opinion, the main goal in parenting is to assure the child knows “beyond a shadow of a doubt that they are loved and wanted.”
“Parenting is hard,” Smillie said. “Even though there are thousands of books out there telling you how to parent, each child is different, and each situation is different.”