In the book The Gift of Failure, author Jessica Lahey explains that this “monster” that emerges from parents is sadly pretty normal. She quotes psychologist Wendy Grolnick who calls this behavior Pressured Parents Phenomenon.
“The PPP is triggered when the ever-increasing competition that our kids face switches on our physiological hardwiring. It’s an internal pressure so strong that we can’t rest until we feel our child is safe (or has achieved what we want them to achieve).”
All this is a fancy way of saying that it’s parental instinct to protect our kids and want to provide the best for them. The irony of these natural feelings is that when they manifest as hovering and stressful behaviors, they alienate our kids from us, which is the exact opposite of what we intend.
And not only that, they are a sign that parents are not learning to lean on God more and trust Him as they parent.
I’ll admit that I suffered from PPP on more than one occasion in 30 years of parenting. And the dilemma is in learning to give up my need to control and trust that God loves my children more than I do. Of course it is our job to protect our children from physical or emotional harm for as much as we can, but there comes a point when the protection morphs into controlling and that is when we need to take a step back and trust that God has got it.
I’ll share with you my new phrase that I often repeat to myself when I feel PPP coming on: That Belongs to God!