When children are over-managed, they develop learned helplessness; they come to rely upon support to overcome life’s daily obstacles. This undermines the development of their sense of capability; the capacity to find solutions for the unforeseen difficulties of daily life. The sense of capability is integral to self-esteem. So too is a sense of likability.

On the other hand, over-nurturing is an excessive attention to a child’s wants and needs. This can even extend to too much comforting of the child in distress. That is not to say we should not comfort our children, just not to excess.

Whilst young children delight in being comforted  … that they always want more of it, it does not follow that they don’t get enough. Neither does it mean that they are deprived of love.

The Smooth Road Analogy

Every day is a journey, and every day we travel the road. Obstacles in the day – bumps in the road – are part of the experience of a normal life. As children, in overcoming everyday obstacles we develop our capabilities and we learn resilience; lessons in life certainly worthy of a skinned knee. When over-management smooths the road of life too much, we are left ill-equipped to meet life’s challenges.

Travelling on smooth roads, the journeys might be easy, but the destinations are crowded and predictable. The fun places in life are at the end of bumpy roads.