This could be one of the more outlandish questions you hear a parent ask. Can too much love be detrimental to your child? This is not a trick question and is something that is causing me to think about how we are raising our son. I know the phrasing of the question sounds preposterous, of course you can never love your child too much but let me explain. Since bursting onto the scene a little over two years ago Max has been central to our little family, he is not an addition fitting in around us he is the singular focus. When I reflect on my childhood I believe that to an extent I fitted in around my parents needs.
Our days are filled with activities that are solely focused on showing him a good time and generally enriching his life. During his waking hours he has the full and undivided attention of at least one parent. I’m big on creativity and imagination. I think it’s a gift to be able to sit and create something or to lose yourself in your own little world. Will my ever presence stifle his ability to discover, create and imagine?
The majority of our marital conversations are probably focused around The Boy. Money that used to be frittered away on fun things like alcohol and restaurants seem to be channelled towards Max’s bulging toy box, book case and wardrobe. I can still remember my childhood toys, I valued each and everyone. At the extreme end of things we’ve even put down some Australian looking roots because we feel it’s the place for him to be. As a child I would move up and down the country to fit with the needs of my parents and their careers.
I see some behaviours in Max that I think are our own making. Don’t get me wrong he is an absolute delight and has an amazingly happy little demeanour but the penny has dropped that it’s all about him. If you do devote your time, money and attention so emphatically to your child they are surely entitled to make the assumption that their nappy don’t stink.
I was loved unconditionally just like Max is but it does scare me that the way we are going about things might be detrimental to him. Perhaps the fact that we don’t see family regularly causes us to pour more into Max than we would otherwise, we’ve got a lot of love to give and not many places for it to go. I certainly don’t think we are alone in this type of parenting and in my locale it certainly seems to be in vogue, child held aloft on a pedestal doted on to the point of smothering. I’ve spoke to friends who were smothered during their upbringing and felt that it held them back and didn’t allow them to develop as they otherwise would.
As you can probably tell this post is not coming from a place of knowledge or authority, I am trying to draw some conclusions myself. It would be terrible to invest so much of yourself into loving your child only for it to do them harm rather than good. Is a manual too much to ask for? What do you think, can you love your child too much?