The Type of Parenting That Works Better
Parenting is without doubt not an easy undertaking. It is a full time job, with no holidays and weekends off. As with any other job, performance varies according to skills, knowledge and experience.
There are parents who are not involved enough in the life of their children, in their education and upbringing, and this is clearly bad. But there is a certain type of parenting these days that gets in the way of children growing to be truly successful.
This type of parenting is one where a parent is overly protective, controlling and preventive, believing that the child can’t be successful if they are not micromanaged, controlled and directed.
Some parents often expect their children to perform at some level of perfection that could never have been asked of them by their own parents. As a result, they spend time nagging and cajoling, to ensure a child is not screwing up or misbehaving. They fail to understand how different a child is from an adult.
Most parents conceive a future they want their children to live in, and they can go any lent to direct their children towards becoming what they have in mind for them. As a result, they rob them of their childhood, allowing them no time for play, or socializing.
Some parents absorb their children of helping around the house. They even absorb them of getting enough sleep as long as they are checking off the items they have printed in their mental checklist as requirements for success.
There is this school next door, which the child can wake by 7am and still meet up with the 8am resumption time. But no, this parent prefers that the child wakes by 4am each day in other to beat traffic for the “best school” located in a faraway place. The child is also enrolled in several other classes and lessons, all to prepare them for a desired future, leaving no room for anything else.
There are parents who would monitor every activity to be sure their children are not ruining their life; that they are not going to spoil the future they have in mind for them. They want to build their children to become someone they can brag about to their friends and families.
With so much demand from parents of their children, high rate of anxiety and depression may result due to not being able to meet up with expectations. The child thinks that their worth comes from their grades and scores. Judging by set standards, a child that under-performs in school feels like a failure, because that is largely what his or her worth is being judged by.
And for the child that shines bright at school? This is Dady and Mumy’s favorite, the fruit of their parenting labour. Sometimes they can’t help but demonstrate how the child wouldn’t have performed so well without them – how they are excellent parents.
With their over-help, over-protection, over-direction and hand-holding, such parents deprive their children of the chance to build self-efficacy, which is a really fundamental tenant of the human psychie, far more important than that self-esteem they get every time they are applauded.
Self-efficacy is built when one sees that one’s own actions leads to outcome, not one’s parent’s action on one’s behalf leading to outcome.
If your child must achieve self-efficacy, then they have to do a whole lot more of their thinking, planning, deciding, copping, trial and error by themselves.
I am not saying that every child is hardworking and parents should have no involvement at all in the life of the child as he or she grows. Children are children, they need guidance, and that is what parenting should really be about, not excessive control and misguided guidance.
As a parent, you shouldn’t treat grades, scores, awards as the purpose of childhood. That would mean narrowing the definition of success for your children. All of those come at a long term cost to your children’s sense of self.
Work towards ensuring that they have the habit, the mindset, the skill set, and the wellness to be successful wherever they go. Your child needs you to be a little less obsessed with their grades and score, and a whole lot more interested in a childhood providing a foundation for their success. Such childhood is built on things like LOVE and CHORES.
Did I say chores? Yes, I really did. The Harvard grand study, which is the longest longitudinal study of humans ever conducted, found that professional success in life (which is what parents want from their kids) comes from haven done chores as a child.
The earlier the child starts building the mindset that says there is an unpleasant work and someone has to do it, and it has to be me. A mindset that says I will contribute my best to the betterment of the whole; that is what gets you success in the workplace as an adult.
Another finding from the Harvard grand study says that happiness in life comes from love. So childhood needs to teach children how to love, and they can’t love others if they don’t love themselves and they won’t love themselves if parents can’t offer them unconditional love.
How much time do you spend with your child, how much love do you show to them? Your child needs to know that they matter to you as humans, and not because of their performance in school and how brilliant they are. The child needs to know that they matter to you simply as a child.
Your child doesn’t have to go to the biggest brand name school in town to be happy and successful in life. So many happy and successful people went to the least known schools. The evidence is out there.
It is hardly the end of the world if your child doesn’t go to one of those big name schools. It is more important that they have learnt the very things they need to strive and survive wherever they find themselves. They need to be loved and to learn to work, to take responsibility, and to contribute.
Your job as a parent is to provide a nourishing environment, to love and strengthen them through chores and shared responsibility. Allow them to stir most naturally to the career path that will make them most productive. Your job is not to make them become what you would have them become, but to support the child in becoming their glorious self.