Jefferson is a 7 year old kid whose mother can easily be awarded the best and most careful mom on the planet (if there is such a thing). But it appears that all the things she seems to be doing right are making life not so fun for her son, and sometimes he feels like he can never make any friends because he just doesn’t fit in.
Jeff’s mom Grace wants her son to live a healthy life and have friends at school just like every other kid, but she has expectations when it comes to the kind of friends her son makes.
Well, the kids at school are not all bad mannered, but you see, children would always be children and sometimes they do and say the weirdest things. Jeff wants still to be a good boy so when he notices that a kid does or says something that mommy might not like, he stays away from them.
At home, Jeff has two neighbours with sons and daughters about his age range. The other kids play outside on weekends and sometimes they even climb the tree outside Jeff’s bedroom window. Jeff loves to watch them as they jump and try to chase the squirrels.
He watches them laugh and sing happy songs, but he is never going to get the chance to play with them. Mommy says it’s too dangerous and kids who climb trees never get an A because tree climbing could make you fall and hit your head, and by the time you recover from the hit, you would be thinking like a monkey.
Well, Jeff believes mommy has a point because one of his neighbours who happen to be Jeff’s classmate wore a monkey costume to school some time ago when they had a costume day and he hardly ever got an A in math.
However, Grace seems to be worried about her son, and she doesn’t understand what could be wrong with him. Jeff seems to be scared of a lot of things and although he is a good boy, he doesn’t smile as much as she wants him to.
As parents, we want the best for our children, and we try to make sure that no harm comes to them, so we adopt the helicopter parenting approach to help us keep a close eye on them.
Sometimes the temptation to put a bell around their necks so we know when they are straying too far comes, but it is never the right decision to make. We are human and so are our children, so we need to cut them some slack and allow them to be themselves.
Remember when you were a kid and all you wanted to do was see the world and play around so much that sometimes you snuck out when your parents weren’t watching? Your kids have the same feeling too.
Teaching children to be of good behaviour and practice healthy habits that would make them grow up to become responsible adults can be done without protecting them too much.
When over protecting your child can cause
A low value of self
When you always stop your child from doing the things he or she wants to do as a child, they find it hard to engage in discussions relating to some of those childhood experiences when their peers talk and laugh about them.
That could give a child a feeling of worthlessness because he or she might get laughed at or even called names by other children.
Children get depressed too. Overprotecting your child could cause them to become withdrawn from the rest of the world and nurse an inner feeling of sadness.
It might be hard for them to explain how they feel to you because they do not understand it or know what it is, all your kids are aware of is the fact that if they could get the chance to be like every other normal kid, they might feel better.
Your child might feel pressured to meet up to the standards you expect. It is not easy for a child to become perfect all of a sudden; even adults never attain perfection as much as they like to assume they do.
When you overprotect your child, they become too careful that they begin to make mistakes and they develop a sense of fear as a result of that.
Overprotecting your child ruins their chances of mixing up with peers. While you might think that allowing a child mix up might lead them to learn all manner of terrible things, have you ever thought of all the right things they could learn too.
Besides, once your child begins to make friends, they become eager to tell you all about their play time, so when they mention things that you consider unhealthy, you can sit them down and give them reasons why such things are not right for them.
This would mean that you need to create a good relationship between yourself and your child so that they are free with you enough to tell you the truth about everything.
What not to do as a parent
Don’t always help your child with homework
Yes, you might want your child to come top of their class every term, but helping them with homework every single time is not the best assistance you should give. It is good to go through their homework once in a while and guide them through it, but when it becomes a constant thing, you are teaching them to become dependent.
Allow your children to go through the stress of trying to solve their homework problems, and if they get it wrong, they will get corrected at school. When a child gets used to doing things themselves, they develop their problem-solving skills, and it is one of the most crucial survival skills a human being requires.
Do not always show up at school
Seriously, every time your child comes home complaining of some peer at school, and you rush down to his or her school to solve the problem you are not helping your child. Depending on the nature of the trouble at school, it is OK to teach your child to stand up for his or her self.
The outside world is a mean place, and if your child gets used to having Mommy and daddy fight their battles every time, they will find it difficult to survive in your absence. Report only severe cases to the principal and allow your child to stand up to their mates who try to ride on them.
Don’t always expect perfection
Allow your child to fail; it is OK. It only means they can try again and that is what life is about. Children get to build emotional intelligence when they experience such situations in life.
The feeling of pain and embarrassment teaches them that even though you think you are doing enough, you can do better. The joy a child gets when they succeed at something after failing at it a previous time is a beautiful sight. So when your child fails at something, try to encourage them to feel better and work harder.
Never ask for the reason before the lesson
Say, for instance, your child runs around the house throwing things, and you warned them about it before, then they mistakenly throw their favourite toy into the fireplace and come crying to you.
You may get so furious and want to scream your lungs out asking why they went about throwing things, but that would only give you answers like, I was just playing fetch with my puppy because I miss him.
But when you ask your child what lesson he or she had learnt from what happened, you get answers like, “ I learnt that throwing things could make me lose them” and that’s a right way of teaching your child that there are consequences for specific actions without being an overprotective parent.
Also, ask your child what to intend to do about the situation. This allows them to think and thinking of how to sort out personal problems is very healthy even though you will replace the toy when you feel like it.
Never choose their college
When it comes to going to college, let your child decide where they want to study. It is good for them to make such decisions because they are old enough and need to make individual choices for themselves.
If a parent forces a child to choose a particular school for personal reasons, there are chances that the child may develop a feeling of dissatisfaction and even anxiety.