Sometimes parents make choices about their children that may be seen as overprotective and undermining of a child's need to be self-sufficient. Educators use the term "helicopter parenting" to describe this.
It's not easy for parents to determine if they are over-stepping. A good rule to ask yourself: "Is my child capable of handling this situation himself?" It can be especially difficult for a parent to show restraint when you fear your child might fail. If the answer to this question is that yes, your child is capable of managing a particular aspect of her life, then parents do need to step back and accept the outcome of a child's behavior or choices.
Allowing your child to manage his own life allows him to learn to trust himself and improves his sense of self. When a parent over-manages or protects a child, it robs her of self-sufficiency and can result in an anxious or depressed child. It may leave him unable to feel confident about himself when he is inevitably faced with a difficult choice.
Knowing when to allow a child to "take the lead" when making a choice seems easy at the surface level. After all, parents are busy; why would they create more work for themselves? However, there are factors that can leave a parent feeling unsure if a child is capable of making a decision or choice.
The fact that every child is different, with a unique set of strengths and weaknesses, makes the parental decision on intervening with a child's choices difficult. A child's development is ever-changing. At times, both parents and children feel pressure to make a decision quickly. Parents may have difficult accepting the outcome of a child's decision or may feel it is easier to do it themselves. Finally, parents tend to make parenting choices similar to their own experiences with their parents.
The decision to let a child manage a situation begins in infancy and can span into early adulthood. Beginning with the decision to allow a crying infant to self-soothe to a child's plan post high school, parents ask themselves if their children are capable of making choices. And there are many decisions in between, such as who a child chooses to play with and how they resolve issues with their teachers.
Parents have the ability to "gift" children with personal skills that give them the solid foundation for a happy and successful life. Giving your children control of aspects of their lives that they are capable of managing leads to the growth of confident and competent young adults with a positive sense of self to meet life's challenges.