Parenting is a tough job because there is no manual for parenting. Besides there are no standard rules and regulations for raising kids because each child is unique.
When a couple has their first baby, they are at a loss because they don’t know how to handle the baby. They are afraid that they should not hurt the baby, they are alert each time the baby cries, and they try to attend to every need of the baby. But at that stage, they do not understand the baby and do whatever they do based on their assumptions of the baby’s needs which may not be right every time. For instance, many parents make the mistake of assuming that the baby is hungry every time they cry. This is not true because babies may cry for reasons other than hunger. Sometimes babies cry because they might have wet themselves or may have some discomfort like stomach ache, etc. But it is difficult for parents to comprehend the reason for crying.
As the child grows and parents start understanding the child better, the child also starts understanding their circumstances and gets familiar with their parents. As the baby is growing, as parents we make the mistake of giving in to all our kids’ demands. When the baby is small we get upset whenever the baby cries. We will go to any extent to ensure that the baby doesn’t cry. And, the baby gets used to all their demands being met. Babies are never refused anything and they become demanding individuals as they grow. As adults when they step out into the world, they find it difficult to cope because they have not learned to take no for an answer. Unfortunately, the world doesn’t function according to their whims.
Parents need to raise their children with awareness and be alert to signs of their kids becoming demanding. They must take care to ensure that this pattern does not continue.
Another common mistake that parents make is being overprotective. Parents do not want any harm to come to their baby or don’t want the baby to fall sick. So they keep their kids safe from any exposure to the outside world or any dirt, grime, etc. They also do not expose their kids to other children lest they should catch any infection.
It is necessary that the child gets wide exposure from a very young age. This helps build their immunity and reduces sick days when they start schooling.
Many parents are overprotective as their children grow because they don’t want any harm to come to them. So, they make all decisions for themselves so that they do not suffer the consequences of wrong decisions.
Overprotective parenting makes life difficult for children in the long run because they do not have the capacity to discern right from wrong. They are also fearful about making decisions because they don’t want to be wrong. On the other hand, if children are given the opportunity to make decisions and make mistakes, they grow up to be stronger individuals. The duty of the parents is to be available and offer support when their kids fail at anything. This boosts confidence. This type of parenting helps children to grow up to be individuals who can make their own decisions and face the world with confidence. It is not that these kids will not make wrong decisions when they grow up but they know how to cope with failure.
Parents also make the mistake of protecting their children from people who might not have been fair with their children. This overprotection is not just limited to people who are unfair but also anyone who does not view their children as they do. For instance, if someone points out a flaw in the child, the parents try to give excuses for it and protect their kid. They pass judgment on such people to their children and make them believe that the other person is wrong.
The child grows up with the belief that anyone who does not agree with them is wrong. This makes it very hard for the child when he faces the real world. This is because they find it difficult to co-exist with others impacting their personal and professional relationships.
Many parents make the mistake of doing everything for their children and do not allow them to do anything. The result is that the child does not develop the habit of doing anything. When the child grows up to be an adult, he has a hard time managing himself.
We raise our children as if they are all who matter. We are available at their beck and call attending to their smallest need. These children grow up believing that others should cater to their every need. They have not learned that even they need to give, in a relationship. This is one of the reasons we find that people find it difficult to maintain relationships. Break-ups and divorces are rampant today. And, one of the reasons is that we are raising children who are self-centered and do not believe in doing something for the other person.
Right from a young age children must be taught that relationships with others are not just for others to do their bidding. This can only happen if parents are not subservient to their children.
The consequence of overprinting is young adults who are maladjusted. They find it difficult to adjust to their circumstances or the people around them. This is one of the reasons for the rising cases of mental health issues among the youth of today. Youngsters who are finding it difficult to cope often seek refuge in substances and this is also one of the reasons why we find so many young adults addicted to alcohol/drugs, etc.
There is no harm in being a protective parent. In fact, it is the duty of a parent to protect their child from danger and difficulties. But there is a thin line between protective parenting and overprotective parenting. And, it is overprotective parenting that we must be conscious of and make sure that we raise our children in a balanced way so as to strengthen them to take on the world!