Saturday, 15 March 2014

Overparenting

Parents all have a primal need to protect their children from all vices, physical and emotional. It is a system that is on 24/7 and more often than not, it is on autopilot. We strive to provide the best we possibly can for as long as we have breath. But when the silent vice called overparenting creeps in, it actually becomes counterproductive and we ourselves become our own obstacle in the positive development of our children. In essence, we deprive them of getting an edge in the battlefield that is life.


As you read further I'll briefly touch on the areas where we generally tend to over think and over parent our kids. Prevention or at least keeping an open mind in these areas can lead to a more hassle free life, not to mention less stress on both sides of the equation. We may not all be guilty of these factors, but I certainly was/am, and it is a constant struggle to balance things out each and every day. But know that all parents have the purest of motives, all we require is a little distance and clarity and of course experience.


1. Over Protection: We'd do anything for out kids to save them from undue suffering, so much so that sometimes we readily fight their small everyday battles for them. A small baby that's just beginning to explore tries to reach for a toy and you promptly hand it to him. A teen is facing bullying at school and you stomp up to the principal demanding blood. Your pre-schooler is slowly working his way through the numbers but the impatience in you makes you want to complete those last few numbers for him. All these scenarios and others like them just prevent your child from developing essential problem solving tactics. The truth is that it can be a cruel world. You guidance and advise will lead to more independent and assertive children. Instead of solving all their issues, show them the way and let them try to do things by themselves now and then. Even in newborns, I see babies so wrapped up in layers of blankets in malls that to me its obvious that the child is over heating what with getting all red and sweating. And it pains me because a baby can't speak. Yet parents are oblivious. But then again it comes with experience.



2.Over Expectations: To every parent their child is perfect. In this aspect, we forget sometimes, that everyone has their weaknesses. Not every child can be a rank holder. It does not mean he is less talented. He may excel in other things. Realize your child's potential and build on that. Expecting too much burdens the child. It's one of the leading causes of teen suicides. We must push our children towards excellence but there is a fine line between doing that and pushing them beyond their limits. One son is disciplined and neat and tidy, it comes to him naturally, the other is clumsy and untidy, forgets things and annoys you. You can't judge one the same way as the other. Sometimes we brag about our kids in front of friends and family about his future endeavors or the talent he has, even though the child has a deep desire to be far from these things. It just harbors guilt and resentment. Instead sit down and communicate with your child. Be supportive.



3. Over Spending/ Over Compensating: If you want to build an independent, fair and decent personality, you can't be giving in to every demand your kid makes. I've seen children as young as ten hanging out with their friends, comparing the latest smart phone, wearing branded watches and slinging around expensive games. And they are total brats. By no means am I saying to deprive your children of things you can easily afford, after all you do earn for them, but indulging your children in fast food, giving them their every demand, even the ridiculous ones without batting an eye will spoil them and make them weak in the future. Teach them the value of a penny and the pounds will take care of themselves as one saying goes. A lot of times both parents work so they have the means to fulfill every whim of the child which they do to over compensate the time they are unable to give the child. So ask yourself if he really needs the next luxury product on the market. At the very least make him work for it, earn it by doing something deserving.
The other aspect is simply over spending because of the lack of experience. A new born out grows his clothes literally every month. But first time parents spend colossal amounts of money on these things. I'm saying some research and advice from experienced people can help you from generating a lot of waste.



4. Over Medicating: I see children being given antibiotics willy nilly every which way I turn around. I say that 80% of the cases don't need it. As a result of this alarming situation, we are building a generation with weakened immune systems. When your child shows signs of fever, give his body some time to fight the infection it self. You realize that when you start antibiotics that:
a. If its viral there was no need anyway.
b. By the time the fever and symptoms go away, about the third day, would be the time that your child would have fought off the infection anyway. And you would sing praises of the wonder drug that cured your child on the third day.
c. All medicines have side effects. It takes a toll if you over medicate.
I'm no doctor, but trust me with 6 children and 7 younger siblings I'm practically there. Instead of running to the hospital just watch your kids for a couple of days. If you see his condition is stable with home remedies or over the counter medication like panadol or anti histamines then he'll probably be okay in another day or two. But if he is deteriorating systematically, the fever and pains are no better by the end of the second day or early morning of the third day, its a genuine reason to take the child in for a medical assistance.
Note: Keep watch over conditions in which it becomes difficult to keep a child at home, like uncontrollable pain or high grade fevers. In those cases do not wait.




5. Over Controlling: In our quest to guide our children towards excellence, we often become over bearing and control freaks. I'm so guilty but strive to be a better mom....Though children need responsibility and need accountability in their lives, it does not mean putting a leash on them and controlling their every move. We need to provide balance- freedom and accountability. On one hand we have the mom who has the entire day mapped out from the minute he wakes till the his bed time, it includes a strict regimen of all activities. On the other hand we have a mom who leaves to the child do whatever, whenever he wants. The best option is a mash up of both these moms. All major activities like bed time, lunch time, play time should be provided in a structured format, but leave room for you child to make decisions on what to eat, what to play and what cartoon to watch on his own. Of course all these things have to be within limits. But within those limits, give your child some room to breathe. Here I want to add that controlling issues in parents can become border line child abuse if the child is beaten or subjected to mental black mail. Don't be the mother who smothers.


Parenting is one of the most difficult tasks out there. Done properly, it is the best gift you can possibly give your child, and hope that he or she becomes a wonderful parent to his or her children one day.




14 comments:

  1. Beautifully and simply written. Alhumdollillah I agree with all these and hv followed pretty much the same ideology:)
    JazakAllah khairan katheeran for the reinforcement:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you and Jazak Allah for the feedback. Wish you all the best.

      Delete
  2. Rahima this is a lovely article, reading it I realised how much I have changed as a parent. I was guilty of over parenting with my first born, that in time changed, by the time I had my third child I knew what had to be done. We all need these reminders. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes Hena we learn as we get older and have more children, infact my next post is about tips I would have given my past self...thank you for your feedback.

      Delete
  3. Hello Rahima..Mashallah i read ur post and i looked back overmy parenting and thought that there are many guidelines u gave i shold follow...my kids are young right now but ur article has opened many new dimensions of thoughts and parenting :-)..thnkx may Allah bless u

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your prayers, and its my pleasure.

      Delete
  4. very well...agreed.. :)..

    ReplyDelete
  5. Rahima i cant agree with u more! Gud job!

    ReplyDelete