Nowadays, we as parents have developed the habit of over-parenting:
We have started worrying too much about our kids’ future believing that we need to keep a check on them to make them successful.
We have started expecting perfectionism from them, be it in any area – eating habits, sports, music, dance, arts or overall marks.
We have started making a checklist for them for daily activities too. They've been made to act like our robots.
There's no time for free play, because there's a lot to do at school - projects, homework, extra studies to remain ahead in school.
So what is wrong in this kind of parenting?
We're their parents and whatever we're doing is for their good future.
But "excess of everything is harmful".
We're just looking at the benefits, but let's take a look at its harmful effects on us and kids.
The foremost question to ask ourselves is: Are we happy? And are our kids happy? I guess no.
We're happy only when our kids get good grades. But that happiness is short lived. Because then we get worried about next class, next teacher, next marks and it goes on. We're getting into a continuous trap of stress and anxiety.
Our kids aren't happy too. We don't let them play; because we are mistaken that play is a waste of time. All of us know that free play is most important for brain development, but still the pressure of getting good marks out-ways every other thing.
Are we parents not responsible for this blind race for good school, marks, college and jobs? Not being able to meet parents’ expectations is leading to depression and anxiety in kids. They wonder whether this life is worth living. We're ruining their self-efficacy.
There are 2 surprising Harvard researches which I would like to share:
Kids who do chores at home go a long way to become successful. It develops a mindset in kids that they've to contribute towards the home in which they live. It gives them a sense of responsibility towards their family. When they grow up, they develop the same sense towards their organisation and country, AND
Happiness comes from the LOVE of family and friends. It doesn’t come from money, fame, cars and big houses.
Let's change our way of parenting from obsessed to unconditional love.
- Let them do their part of planning, deciding and doing what they love to do. Let them fall and learn from their mistakes. Our parents were not as obsessed as we are.
- Getting good marks, admission to good schools and colleges is just a narrow definition of success. Most successful people went to small schools and got bad marks too.L
- Let them play freely, and not structured by us. It is a very powerful tool for brain development.
Kids can't learn to love anyone else unless they learn to love themselves. And they'll love themselves only when we love them unconditionally
. And we cannot love them unconditionally, unless we learn to love ourselves unconditionally
. So this is a chain which starts with us.
Love them and hug them every day. Let them play freely. They need to know we love them irrespective of their school/college/marks/certificates.
This post is inspired by TED Talks How to raise successful kids -- without over-parenting | Julie Lythcott-Haims.