Micromanagement: Are We Hovering Too Much?


The October 2012 issue of Psychology Today ran a feature written by Elizabeth Svoboda : “Lessons for Living: Five Surprising Principles for Living, Loving and Playing with Others. http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/201208/lessons-living.

The most interesting and relevant to me as a dad who wants to ensure that my wife and I are exercising a healthy amount of concern and protection was “Lesson #2: The Beauty of Benign Neglect” which discusses the opinions of relationship expert Michelle Givertz (California State University, Chico) and Hara Estroff Marano (author of A Nation of Wimps: The High Cost of Invasive Parenting). They discuss the fact that… “ It’s more harmful to overparent than underparent.”

Although I don’t see us as “helicopter parents” (and sure most helicopter parents wouldn’t see themselves as such) I think it bears keeping in mind for any parent this thought: “By not letting kids stumble over little things, parents prevent them from developing coping skills… without [these coping skills] kids don’t develop a sense of mastery and self-confidence”

The nub of the article is this: “Practicing benign neglect with your children is like inoculation…stepping back, giving kids the chance to recognize that you’re there for them even when you’re not hitched to their side, that they’re capable of picking themselves up when they fall down-is the only way they’ll internalize the strength of the parental bond and a sense of their own competence.”

There is a difference between "over-management" (i.e, managing details neglected by others) vs. "micro-management" (i.e, managing every step of every process and the minutia in between".