Not a Time for Over-Parenting
Summer vacations may seem fun time for kids, as it’s a break for them away from boring books and routine school work. But many ‘new-age’ parents aren’t often as enthusiastic about the holidays as their children are. “How will we now keep the kids engaged for two months?” they fret.
This leads to the question: Are parents today parenting too much? It is quite common to see the children being escorted to swimming classes, summer camps, crafts class, music class and many other activities by their parents—that is, those who can afford such things. While it is good for parents to be around the children and spend time with them, it may also do a world of good for the children if they are given their own personal space to be just themselves and not have the parent after them all the time telling them what to do and what not to do. It can get extremely claustrophobic for the child to always be controlled by the elders. In many cases, all decisions are taken by the parents for the child, down to what he should read or what she should wear. Can’t the child be allowed to decide even such things for himself or herself?
Parents can also let their children to reflect and introspect and give them the space to be with children of their age, so that they grow up with positive self-esteem, confidence and the ability to take decisions for themselves. In this way, they will grow up with genuine love for their parents and others around them, rather than living in mortal fear of them. Counselors often say that the repeated use of two words by parents can cause deep hurt and resentment in a child as he or she is growing up into the adolescent years and then adulthood. One is “Why”, and the other word is “Should.” ‘Why did you do this?’ ‘Why didn’t you read that?’ ‘You should go there!’ ‘You should speak like this!’ ‘You should not answer back!’ Often, more than the ‘why’ and ‘should’, it is the tone in which it is said that hurts the child most. Granted, a growing-up child does need parental guidance, but their ‘whys’ and ‘shoulds’ should not suffocate him or her and cause the child to lose all sense of autonomy.
Often, parents forget what they felt like when they were little and were shouted down, often for no legitimate reason, by their parents and other elders. If they didn’t feel good about it then, why inflict the same damage on their children now? True, parenting requires great responsibility, but that doesn’t mean that parents should think of themselves as dictators and their children as meek, timid, slaves!
Treating children as their friends is something that new-age parents need to learn today. While it is the duty of parents to provide for their children with the basic material comforts of life, it is all the more important for parents also to, at times, “let go” their iron-grip on their kids and allow them to be themselves, so that their children grow up fearlessly, with love in their hearts for humanity, nature and all creatures around them. Letting children flower on their own, without unnecessary interference, is vital for children to develop a high level of emotional and spiritual intelligence, which will help them handle the real challenges of life that they will have to face as they grow up in a world where trials and tribulations will be part of their journey.
And what better time than the summer vacations for parents to spend time helping their kids grow up as spiritually, physically, mentally and emotionally strong individuals by respecting their right to freedom, to be just their natural, joyful selves?