Responsible Parenting-3, Don’t Over Control Lives of Children
I had a cadet in my Division in NDA who was finding it difficult to cope up with the training, both outdoor as well as academics, in the first term. He was particularly weak in Math and Physics- probably a candidate who would have been found just about clearable in ‘Reasoning Ability’ in SSB. On the basis of expert advice of the academic counsellor and my own experience I advised him to shift to the arts stream to avert relegation/withdrawal. He told me that he will decide after consulting his parents. For me this response to the situation was simply stupid. Here was a problem which he as an adult understood. He had the advice of the academic counsellor as well as me. His parents were highly unlikely to have understood the problem as well as the three of us. Yet he wanted the solution from his parents. I am confident that the father, if his son had become the Finance Minister, would have tried to control the nation’s finances because he could not have trusted his son to handle the job without his advice! We have many such parents in India. They do great disservice to their children and the society by their attitude, while trying desperately to be great parents. In this blog I analyze reasons as to why this attitude can only have negative impacts and why parents should give up this attitude.
Get a Realistic Self Concept
Most of us have lacked clarity about our life goals and methods to achieve them. Yet we think that we know better than our children as to how they should lead their lives. This is being unreasonable. Please do not do this. Your actions, good, bad and indifferent will have a profound influence on your children’s lives. Let it be just that. Do not overrate yourself and under rate your children. Please do not over control their lives. This over control is often because we value our social rating as parents above the interests of our children. This leads to a large number of problems for children. Some major ones are discussed.
Rebellion by Children
Over controlling parents lose communication with their children because they do not listen or understand them well. Such parents prescribe solutions to problems before understanding them properly. The solutions are based on their past experience and do not relate to the current environment. As a result the children rebel and do not even take the good advice being offered by the parents and would rather listen to their friends, or some good teacher, if they can trust him. Thus by over controlling you can lose your children totally at the mental level.
Stunted Growth of Children
A small child, like a small bird, is dependent on the parents. Just observe as to how a bird is in a hurry to see her offspring become independent. All parents owe it to their children that they become physically and mentally independent. In case over controlling parents have mild natured children then they do not rebel, but remain mentally dependent. Such children often lack:
- Self confidence.
- Ability of independent thought and action.
This plays havoc with their later lives. Numerous professional careers and marriages are ruined because of such parents.
Conclusion: Don’t Over Control Lives of Children
By over controlling your children you can either cause them to rebel or never gain mental independence. While trying to be well meaning, you have harmed your child’s long term growth and development. Hence whenever you are tempted to dictate without listening or over controlling the lives of your children just be reminded that the long term results of your actions will only be bad! Please have faith in your children and nurture them as nature’s unique creations in accordance with their innate natural aspirations and abilities. Listen to them. Once you listen, they have so much to tell, or share and you can develop great bonding and help them grow.