“How much do you love your child?” That is a weird question to ask any parent. Parental love knows no bounds and it does not need to be measured or proven to anyone. That is its USP, as we may put.
Well, would you agree that anything in excess is not good? Let me remind you that it includes parental love, too! Of course, here we are not going to discuss the dangers of pampering and spoiling the child. It is going to be about liberating the child from the clutches of ‘over-protection’.
We have come across a couple of ‘alien mothers’. We call them so because they move about with an invisible umbilical cord that links the mother and child, even when the child has grown up enough! Result:
- The mother is emotional, stressed and restless.
- The child is dependent, indecisive and immature
Why is such parent after the child day in and day out? The reason could be one or more of these –
- Domestic problem
- A weak mind
- Lack of trust
- Bossing nature
- Perfectionism or over-expectation
Domestic problem could mean anything from marital disharmony to tiff with the in-laws in the joint family system, which is still practiced in India. The parent seeks refuge in the child. A pure case of escapism.
A weak mind is the reflection of low self-esteem. The parent could end up fearing – all the time – that only bad (or still worse) evil will befall the child. And ends up hanging around the child, always. Superstitions and influence from other sources would wreck the parent’s boat.
Lack of trust in turn is the buck which is passed on: “Some ‘so and so’ who is very near and dear to me does not trust me. I need to check out the kid’s activities in order to be sure” is the repeated instruction from this parent’s sub conscience. This leads to the continuous forced supervision.
Bossing nature, very much like the previous case, is the outcome of the very own way the parent is being treated or has been treated during his/her childhood. It usually is the story of ‘As you sow, so you reap’.
Perfectionism or over-expectation is the by-product of the parent’s stress. The fear of failure and the anxiety of performance drive the parent to raise the level of expectation about the child. Such parents turn out to be ruthless task-masters.
It is time to share a ‘Dennis The Menace’ joke: The picture shows the furious mother, her hands on her hip and a tight cloth tied around her forehead. And there is Dennis, the naughty one, standing near her with a quizzical look. He says:”Why should I go to sleep when YOU have a headache?” He has a point, you see?
It is just the question of regulating our love to the little one. After all we don’t want to be feared by him, but yearn to be loved. Let us give the parental love – unadulterated and in abundance and get it back multi-fold.