Helicopter Parents

Early morning when I go for a morning walk I enjoy watching things around; its much better than starting a day in Gym on Treadmill. Compared to road or a garden, exercising in gym sounds too boring to me as you walk on treadmill as a ritual, as if you need to take those vitamin tablets every day but outside there is life, you see dhoodhwalas , newspaperwallas on bicycles, people at all life stages doing different exercises, including walk, jog, playing football, working out on bars, or you see them laughing at hasya(laughter) clubs. There is so much to watch and so much to absorb. You may find 80 year old walking in the same speed as yours and you may see housewives taking this as an opportunity to share what happened yesterday, few familiar faces smile at you and you return the smiles back and your energy exchange really sets on..

Its also normal to see early morning school goers on the road and there again you see children walking alone, in their groups, on bicycles, walking with their parents, waiting for the school buses.

And then you just go little more deep on your observation.

Kids who are walking alone are walking to reach the destination, once in a while having opportunity to halt and watch the green parrot, amazingly colored butterfly which just passed by, a little dog who keeps following him / her that brings occasional smile on their faces.

Then there are kids who are in groups, they are just enjoying, laughing, updating on what happened yesterday at home and in school, they are surely not in hurry to reach school as this is the period which excites them the most.

Then there are kids who are old enough to carry their bags and cross road on their own, but their parents are with them to hold the bag, hold their hand and cross the road for them, parents wait till the school bus arrives and ensure that their children are stepped safely inside the bus. They wave hands at them till the bus disappears. Have you seen the expressions on the faces of these children especially the elder ones?

Who are about to enter teens or few of them are already above 12, 13 yrs?

You will hardly see them happy, giggling or looking around in amusement. They all have to be good boys and good girls of their good parents.

We see a huge crop of this new age parents who are overprotecting their children.

We see them in school, gardens and all over the places, Constantly arguing with teachers, coaches to try and obtain some sort of advantage for their child. It's a regular practice for them to meet school authorities, coaching class staff, school bus staff and find out if their child is getting what he is entitled to, or is anyone bullying him? They consider it's their job to let others know that this particular child has very active, protective parents and the child must get everything that comes in 'best' category.

They also interfere in their play time and play mates, demanding their child to get more play time, more batting opportunity, more time on garden swings and so on..

We see them everywhere.

Loving children is natural and normal and there is surely nothing wrong with this, you can also be protective but overprotecting them can actually harm them and I think parents must draw a line somewhere, and they should know that there is a limit to which they can keep hovering around their child and the borderline must be understood.

Especially in case of older children as I mentioned earlier they don't see parental protective behavior as love but tend to believe that their parents don't trust them.

Overprotective parents generally want to protect their children from harm, from hurt and pain, from unhappiness, bad experiences and also from rejection, from hurt feelings, failure and disappointments, but they are forgetting that they are leaving their children unprepared to face the real world incapable of handling unexpected events in their lives.

As kids were not allowed to do things on their own when they were capable of doing them, and parents were always there making sure that their children didn’t face any pain or discomfort, those children tend to have low self esteem.They need to make their own mistakes and face failure few times as they learn that failure is part of life and one must come out of it by "trials and errors" method which one must decide for self.

So many incidents are running in my mind, but one incident is surely worth mentioning here..

As a recruiter I was working on a requirement for CA position, it was a junior position as my client was looking for CA with 2,3 years experience in any company. I had few shortlisted candidates and was in the process to screen them after taking their telephonic round.

I called up Abhijit, his CV was very impressive as he was a first class holder in CA final. He had relevant 2 years of experience in a company but had left the job and was on a break, so I needed to know the reason behind this break and why was he at home.

His initial introduction part was encouraging and I was about to think that my hunt is over, a callout to Abhijit from his mother interrupted us-inquiring who is on the phone, Abhijit kept the phone on hold and answered his mother's query, we started talking to each other again and I could hear his mother giving him instructions about things like- don’t forget to ask what is the location, what is the salary they are offering, are they ok with this break?

Now it was really getting disturbing to me and Abhijit both, but I had to take it patiently, but after few more interruptions Abhijit broke and he lost his control, he shouted but in a pleading tone he kept repeating-"mom, let me just speak, please let me speak"

I could hear the vibrations in his voice and I knew he could not hide the revulsion and disgust which filled his tone and voice. Both of us were clueless about what to talk, I finally suggested him to call me back. The call never came back, maybe he felt too ashamed about what happened.

This incident really shook me; a 30 yr old adult who is a very well qualified CA is still considered by his mother a child who needs help from her at every step. I could only imagine what hell Abhijit must have gone through as a child.

Parents of such children lose credibility in their children's eyes as they feel that they have been denied normal pleasures as their peers because their parents have unfounded and baseless fears. Such children when grow into adults also believe that their parents think they are accident prone, they have poor judgment and the world may just fool them rather they are constantly at risk in the outside world.

These "Helicopter Parents" or control freak parents should learn to accept the limitations to make their kids safe, successful and happy.

They must know that one day their child will have to cope up with this world without them.

The toughest trees grow in rough conditions, making things too easy for the child may not help him cope with hardship which he / she may face tomorrow.

Never do anything for your child that he can do for himself. It's easy to keep feeding him with a spoon or dressing him, comb his hair, iron his clothes, pack his bag, complete his homework the list is endless. But the parents who encourage their child to do these tasks on his own are genuinely doing the best for their child. According to me parenting surely is not wearing huge lenses and monitoring every move of your child, its recognizing and acknowledging that your child is a capable one as you are and will handle situations when given a chance. In growing years parents must ensure that the child is given responsibilities step by step and is appreciated enough to feel motivated in doing the same.