In conversation with Naren: overprotection in parenting
Naren meets a lot people everyday, owing to his work in training, the social sector, and parenting. The other day, he met a distraught parent who had this very important question for Naren:
“My husband says, ‘Let the children learn by making mistakes’. I cannot agree with him. Shouldn’t I protect them? Is that not my job as a mother?”
Here’s Naren’s revert to the loving mother:
“In our efforts to ensure our kids experience no major catastrophe in their life, we keep guiding them even where they should be self dependant. Our incessant guidance and reminders makes them dependants and not – “independent.” This would certainly negatively affect their lives and emotions.
Do you find yourself instructing them on these lines…
- “Don’t forget your backpack.”
- “Don’t forget to take your compass box.”
- “Have you filled the water bottle?”
- “Have you taken change?”
- “Don’t forget your tuition class is at 4:00.”
- “Don’t forget your homework.”
- “Don’t forget your cousin’s birthday today.”
- “Did you have your food?” (when you are not in town)
Is the tone of your questions suggesting, “I am sure you wouldn’t have done it yet?” Is your frustration then suggesting, they are not good enough? Are your emotional volleys suggesting, you feel enslaved as you parent them?
We completely understand your thoughts, feelings and situations. Please keep reading…
Your goal is understandable. You want to prevent bad things from happening to your children. When children are young (below 10 years), this is not just normal but required. After the age of ten, trust us when we say, that their brains have developed enough. They can and they must take more responsibility for many of their things and much of their behavior.
When we constantly remind them of items or tasks, important or silly (sometimes), they become dependent on others (us). As a result of this, they remain underprepared for taking ownership over their lives. Instead of enabling them to managing themselves, we disable that quality in them. Sadly, albeit indirectly, we are encouraging them to blame others when things go wrong instead of claiming accountability for their lives.
Consequences are a natural part of life. The earlier kids starting owning consequences for their life, the better it is for them.
In other words, do less preventing and more preparing. Then, you would be a ‘Wow Parent’.
Do you agree? Do tell us.