Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Posted at: Aug 15, 2019, 7:38 AM; last updated: Aug 15, 2019, 7:38 AM (IST)

Just stop being helicopter parents!

Just stop being helicopter parents!

Alka Kashyap

It was one of those regular parent-teacher meeting that I was attending in my daughter’s school. She had always been a brilliant student, but this time, she had not fared well. As a concerned mother, I laid bare, the entire schedule of my daughter’s day. Then I asked the teacher, where was the problem. The teacher replied, “the problem is you”.

Before I could recover, she continued, “Your over-attention in her daily tasks is hampering her growth and her thinking abilities. She is grown up enough to manage some things on her own. Please let her be. Don’t be a helicopter parent, by hovering around her.”

Her words stuck to my mind. I looked around and realised that our generation of parents is so excessively involved in our children’s lives. We have somehow, started controlling every minute of their day in order to make them better individuals. Their timings of eating, sleeping, playing and working are fixed, and the children follow them like robots.

This is not to say that we love our children any less. In fact, we have come to believe that if we take decisions for them so that they will be able to tide over the stiff competition smoothly. Perhaps, that thought process needs to change as it is subtly harming our young ones.

I recall the time when my parents started looking for a match for me, years ago. My higher education was complete and I was happy at the prospect of meeting someone suitable, through them. Whenever there was a proposal, it would be discussed amongst the elders in the family, except me. One day, I put my foot down, and expressed my displeasure. It was hard to convince my parents, to give me the freedom of having my own choice, since it was my life. Finally, they allowed me to take an independent call. The choice that I made, out of all those proposals, still holds in good stead, and I feel so proud of it.

There is a thin line between suggesting and imposing. Perhaps, if we as elders, could be more of advisors than dictators, our young ones would grow up to be more confident. I often meet parents who want to send their children abroad for turning them into well-groomed personalities. I beg to differ here. We can give them the same confidence here, by letting them be appropriately independent.

As I enter the shoes of my parents, with two teenage children to handle, I have resolved to have a mellowed level of authority with them. I would let them explore the world and take small decisions. I need not send them abroad for better pastures. I will be watching over them, but from a comfortable distance, be their guiding force, till they are able to take the bigger decisions in life. The space and sunshine will make them bloom.


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