Controlling mums. You see them in the local supermarket, meet them at your antenatal coffee catch ups… And, perhaps, see just a little of it in yourself
We’ve all done it. As we’re watching our husband dress our two-year-old in clashing colours, it’s tempting to think, ‘Oh just let me do it.’ And with that in mind, here are our top tips on how not to be a controlling mum…
Don’t ‘correct’ children during playtime
New research from the University of Missouri in the US has found that being playful and affectionate with kids during playtime results in them being happier and smarter than being too controlling. For example, during role don’t be quick to ‘correct’ them if their pretend cat barks or if they put on two hats.
‘Children flourish when they have opportunities to make choices about what they do, particularly in play situations,’ says Jean Ispa, who led the study.
Pick your battles
‘Let it go if your toddler wants to wear her fairy wings to the supermarket, or refuses to let you put her hair in bunches,’ says parenting expert Joanne Fallon, author of Toddlers: An Instruction Manuel (£7.99, Nell James).
‘Worry about the important things like safety, clean teeth and health, and let the other stuff go. Children – even young toddlers – need a certain amount of freedom to make their own decisions. It’s good for them, though within reason of course.’
Children – even young toddlers – need a certain amount of freedom to make their own decisions
Don’t force friends on them
Don’t expect your baby to get along with all other children just because you’re friends with the mum. Sometimes your child just won’t get along with another child, no matter how hard you try.
While it’s important to teach them good manners, sharing and that it’s not OK to hit others or be rude, if your child really doesn’t like your best friend’s little one, limit play dates and go out alone with the mum instead.
Let others help
Mums often think they know best, and you know what? You probably do. But it’s still wise to let Dad, Grandma or Auntie help out occasionally. They may not do things perfectly, or to your liking, but if you try to do everything yourself you’ll just get stressed. So let go a little.
Don’t worry about teaching them
From day one, new parents are bombarded with products, baby classes and advise on how to make their babies smarter. But a recent study from the US found that intelligence and technical skills only account for 25% of your child’s future career success.
The remaining 75% is down to their optimism, how they deal with stress and how well they get along with others. So put the flash cards down and go and jump in some muddle puddles instead…