Very few parents know the difference between being protective and being over-protective. While protection keeps the children safe, over-protection brings them unintentional harm. Read on to know how.
Mrs. Srivastava never lets Rohan out of her vigil. Now 13-year old, Rohan is still pampered like a 6-year kid. Fearing he would get bruised, Mrs. Srivastava never let him ride a bicycle, someone was always there to drop or pick him up. Wherever he went, her calls followed him. Never permitted for a night-out, Rohan never did anything without her knowledge. That is good, yes, but does that mean obedient, frank, independent and happy? Not necessarily!
Over-protection can plug certain growth points of the children. They should grow up to be fearless, strong and if need be, wise risk-takers. But obsessive sheltering can make them fearful, weak and suspicious. Agreed that the world outside is full of dangers and parents want to keep them away from every negative vibe. They are the centre of their parents’ universe; the beat of their heart. And therefore, being paranoid about their safety is just as normal. But somewhere a line needs to be drawn. After all, children cannot live their entire lives under the umbrella of parental care. They need to be independent individuals. Over-protection just isn’t the way to make them so.
Where to draw the line?
The line between protection and over-protection is a thin one, yet a clear one. One just has to decide where and when to draw it. Sure, the news headlines and TV reports take the peace out of one’s mind, leaving one even more protective and cautious. However, one must remember that the younger generation should always be more self-reliant than the previous one. Constant do’s and don’ts will never take the dependency out of children.
Balancing the downside
The downsides of over-protection are plenty. From hampering the children’s life-skills to actually converting them into ‘kidults’, parents’ unbreakable cocoons can become too much for them to bear. In some cases, it could be suffocating too as they might start envying their friends who might be getting relatively more freedom. The simple way to balance such downsides is to befriend the children. Don’t be imposing, be concerned. Don’t direct, rather suggest. Sit with them and talk about the issues one faces at their age. They will learn from your experience. Have a look at the following tips parents could find useful in dealing with both, one’s over-protective instincts and children –
· Friendly communication Talk to the children like their friends. Either over a game of chess or while dropping them off to the swimming classes, utilise the time to know them more with every passing day.
· Be in touch with their friends and teachers Company matters more than education. Parents’ age and experience will help them advise their children regarding their company. Teachers shall let them know of their performance, short-comings and other traits parents can work on.
· Explore the world with them If parents are forbidding them to go out at night, tell them why. And to appease their curiosity, accompany and show them the world outside at night.
· Self-discipline Teach them to take the right decisions for themselves. Inculcate within them self-discipline so that they monitor themselves, work without any supervision.
· Good use of technology Today, a variety of apps and gadgets are available for security purposes. They can be put to use for numerous uses.
· House-cum-classroom Simple tasks like making one’s own bed, ironing one’s own clothes, cleaning one’s own room, etc., culminate into their being independent later in life. Over-protection turned pampering often creates ‘kidults’ (kid+adults).
· Let them make mistakes Besides fulfilling their role with advices and suggestions, parents should let the children hold the reins. Mistakes are the biggest lessons and they will only make them stronger.
Here are a few indicators to identify and demarcate that line between protection and over-protection
· The child begins to hate the outside world.
· The child does not want to try new things.
· The child does not want to socialise or meet new people.
· The child does not learn to take his/her own decisions.
· The child thinks he/she is not capable enough without his/her parents.
· The child starts hiding things fearing the parent will object.
· The child becomes rebellious and does opposite to what the parents want.
Empowerment is the Shield
Being a ‘security shield’ for the children will not help. Instead empowerment is the only way of making children feel secure by themselves. Empower them with guidance. Nurture them to be self-confident, self-reliant, emotionally and physically strong, creative, expressive individuals. Help them, protect them, just stay away from that ‘over’.
Something as simple as cycling can teach them the lessons of balance and self-dependency.