Parent’s Day Out: Part 6
Islam is a religion of moderation. No over-parenting please!
By Dawood Vaid
The term “helicopter parents” has gained popularity these days.
These parents are always hovering over their children, hence the reference to helicopters.
Parents are more involved in our children’s lives than ever: we schedule play dates, assist with homework and even choose college courses.
However this kind of parenting, termed ‘helicopter parenting’ is harmful and counter-productive.
The college student might think: If Mom and Dad are always around to solve my problems, why spend three straight nights in the library during finals?
Rather than allowing their children to make the mistakes which are necessary for them to become independent, these parents are in constant contact with their children and make most of the big decisions for them.
Being involved in the lives of your children is good. It is healthy, normal, and desirable. But being overly involved is not good.
So how do you tell if you’re a helicopter parent? Ask yourself these questions:
Do you decide what gifts or games your child buys?
Are you planning to write your child’s application forms or school essays?
Do you decide what your child wants to be when he or she grows up?
You decide which tuitions or classes she joins?
Imagine you daughter sees that throughout her school, college life – you made all the decisions for her. From her school to her toys, to her clothes. No wonder she thinks, Mummy will decide the bride groom for me too and runs away!
Over-possessiveness will HURT
Suspicion, being in control all the time, mistrust and rigidness are sure ways to ruin a good relationship, be it between parent and child or the relationship between a husband and a wife.
A good relationship is based purely on mutual understanding. They have to trust each other. Any baseless suspicion against each other would mar the relations of the husband and wife.
A hadith full of Prophetic wisdom and presence of mind conveys it all. “One Bedouin came to the court of the Prophet (peace on him) and said, ‘O Allah’s Apostle (peace on him), my wife has delivered a child who is dark complexioned and does not resemble me. I am sure it is not my child’. The noble Prophet (peace on him) said, ‘Do you have some camels?’ He said, ‘Yes, I have many camels’. Then the Prophet (peace on him) asked, ‘What is the colour of those camels?’ He said, ‘They are brown’. The Prophet again inquired, ‘Are there some grey camels among them?’ He said, ‘Yes, a few of them are grey’. The Prophet said, ‘Tell me how those brown camels gave birth to these grey camels?’
He said, ‘Some camel among the ancestors of my brown camels would have been of grey colour and these grey camels might have taken their origin from that particular camel.’
The Prophet said, ‘Similarly, it is possible that anyone among your ancestors would have been of black complexion and your child might have inherited his genetic influence.’”
How amazing is this Prophetic wisdom. We must lose some control to gain more of it. As the proverb so aptly mentions, ‘people do not care how much to know, until they know how much you care.’
Over-Parenting Hurts … Ouch!
The same maxim goes to parents. Let children be. Let them play and fall down. There are times when all you can be is their coach and not be the player in their life. That player is they themselves. Children with controlling parents are more likely to be depressed or anxious, a study suggests.
The findings also suggested that children of over controlling parents feel less competent and less able to manage life and its stressors while some parents wrongly consider ‘helicopter parenting’ to be supportive, rather than detrimental.
Over-parenting is motivated with the idea of doing good things, but it does the exact opposite in the long run. In the long run, parents are impairing their child’s coping skills. They are winning the battle, but actually losing the war.
Allah says in the noble Qur’an: “O! You who believe, save yourself and your family from a Fire whose fuel is men and stones.”. Parents should carry out their duty with wisdom, affection, patience and steadfastness. By doing this, their position will be exalted in the eyes of Allah, and their status will be raised in society.
And finally remember, Islam is a religion of moderation. No over-parenting please!
(The writer is the founder of Burooj Realization, Mumbai, which works with Islamic Schools for Teachers Training and Islamic Studies Curriculum.
He can be contacted at [email protected] www.burooj.org)