Overparenting – the new norm

I do think that parenting after divorce can take on some interesting dynamics, and this week we serve as a cautionary tale. Yes, I am talking about OVERparenting.

When a mom and dad are still married, I think that they themselves and their kids view them as one team. So, if mom comes to the soccer game while dad is working then the team is represented. If dad comes to the choir concert while mom is home with the little kids then the team is represented.

However, after a divorce, mom and dad can be viewed as being on separate teams so heaven forbid mom should attend a kid event that dad cannot attend. Score one for team mom and zero for team dad. So, both mom and dad feel the need to go to EVERYTHING lest their team fall behind.

Case in point – we had two sons in the local Battle of the Books this week. Rather than my hubby or his ex attending the battle for Landon, they both felt the need to be there. The same was true for me and my ex on Justin’s battle day. To take it one step further, neither of us wanted to be the step parent who looked like he/she was showing favoritism to birth son versus bonus son so I also attended Landon’s battle and my husband also attended Justin’s battle. Needless to say by the time it was all said and done, the boys’ parent observers nearly outnumbered their team.

And we wonder why the college students of today feel entitled and as if they are the center of the universe. could it be because they had parent cheering sections of three or four every time they participated in a play, sport, activity, etc.

Not sure what the answer is since we are just as afraid as the next guy to be the team that doesn’t show up, but I do think we need to be careful not to overwhelm the kids with so much parenting.

About bradybonusmom

I recently combined my family (me and my 7-yr old son) with another family (dad and five kids). Needless to say, this has thrown us into a whole new world. We look a lot like the Brady Bunch - except we don't have an Alice.
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3 Responses to Overparenting – the new norm

  1. Karaboo says:

    I love this post! This is such a different way of looking at an issue I’ve been dealing with as well and this makes total sense to me! As a step-parent for the last 10 years, I wish I had this perspective years ago, but I have it in my thoughts now, so better late than never – right?

    As for what the answer is – I have an idea, but it’s going to depend on what the dynamics of each family are. I think setting each core family down (you, DH, kids, ex-wife and her husband and then again, you, DH, kids, ex-husband and his wife) and presenting the concerns in a thoughtful manner may work. Maybe just the parents first and then bring the kids in once a consensus is reached – don’t forget to hear the kids opinions as well though! One kid may really be excited to have everyone there, but the others, not so much.

    I am going to try to work this idea into our situation when the timing is right. I’m not very hopeful that it will be well received based on history, but I really want to try anyway.

  2. frostbittenkitten says:

    Interesting perspective. However, that’s not giving credit to the parent’s who actually just want to be there to watch their child participate in whatever activity it is. It is an odd dynamic though, when you throw blended families into the mix, with step-children.

  3. Kristin says:

    I don’t think showing up to see your kids do things will make them feel entitled. It shows them that you support what they do.

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