Being over-involved in your child’s life can have a negative impact. Here’s why.
By Vaibhav Datar
I remember my good old days in school when fathers were hardly involved in a child’s growth. They believed in being hands-off and, simply put in management terms, practiced management by exception. They would get involved only in exceptional situations like deciding on which educational stream to take or finding the right proposal for marriage. With all due respect to my own and other fathers, they tended to not get involved in day to day affairs. Their love was immense and they showed that by providing us with basic needs.
Mothers were a little more involved, but never intruded the private space. Like I remember getting the liberty to talk to my girlfriend for hours through my landline phone, but never a question asked. Contrast it with the scenario today. Mothers know exactly what their child is doing every minute and, just in case they don’t, they would call and find out. They are too involved in the decision making process, right from what to wear to who the child should go out with. Unfortunately, they also pass on their fears and worries to the child. So, instead of showcasing how beautiful the world is, they end up showcasing how unsafe the world is. Fathers, too, are friends first and parents later. They want to be with their child in everything they do, inadvertently not helping the child to be curious and inquisitive.
Unless the child falls, how is he going to learn to walk? So parents end up buying walkers and cycles with extra wheels and helmets. Water is extra purified and filtered, travel is by cabs and your daily activities are controlled. How is the child going to explore his world? This is where traditional parenting comes into the picture.
In my mid-life coaching sessions with parents, I always end up saying “How I wish there was a certification in parenting!” We all are learning through experiences and experiments.
Sometimes it is good to have traditional parenting, because remember you are what you are just because of what your parents taught you. Had they not given you the freedom to explore, you would still be avoiding risks. So let’s look at things which you can put into practice immediately.
Allow freedom to explore
Give your child the freedom to explore things. There are so many things for child will learn by doing things on his own. I remember travelling alone in trains in my eighth grade. It surely boosted my confidence. I wonder how many parents will be willing to take this risk today.
Also read: Tiger or lawnmower? What kind of parent are you?
Don’t be a watchdog
Give your child the freedom to socialise. Believe in your own parenting roles and family values. Believe your child will not take wrong steps or venture in the wrong direction. Even if the child does, quickly get him back on track.
Engage the child in conversation
Have an open and friendly conversation with your child during dinner and bedtime. The child will love that he is being treated as an equal and his views are being listened to. Be a traditional parent along with modern. Remember your parents and how they would have handled a situation. Ask if your parenting is going to help the child grow as a great human being, an alpha man or if you are slowly drifting away from them.
(The writer is a mid-life coach and author of Simplify Your Life.)
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