A regular phone call from one of my client – a super sucessful mom – with concerns about her 3 year old child got me present to the reality – that most of us as parents have very high set of expectations from our children.
We tend to associate our standing in society with the behaviour and performance of our children. We start to look at our children as projects to be perfected. We put them on the nursery waitlist before they’re born. We sign them up for every kind of class imaginable. We get them involved in music and sports. We tutor them outside class — not because they need it — but because we want them to be ahead of everyone else. Even their free time, we use for “organized activities.” The competitions, show and tell performances etc which these camps/ classes use to demonstrate how well they have engaged with the child give us an opportunity to see the new skills our child has thereby acquired and show the same to the society.
All these actions put us and our children into a lot of unecessary pressure.
We forget that what they need is the freedom to be children, to be inquisitive, to be protected from the worries of adult life – even if for a little while. We ignore the fact that the myths about needing to go to the best nursery, have the best grades, extracurricular activities etc. in order to succeed academically do not garuntee a happy, accomplished life.In fact, the only thing that helicopter parenting is shown to foster is depression and its disasterous side effects in adolescents.
Ironically, when parents are shown these downsides of this competitive and anxious nature of parenting, the most common response is:
“But I just want my child to be happy!”
Our children are born happy, carefree, self expressive. If only we nurture these inherent, inborn qualities we can have a stress free parenting experiance. If we can seperate our expectations from their way of being we can nurture them to be the best versions of themselves. Being raised in this manner will empower children to choose their own parameters for happiness. Maybe the best thing we can do for our children is to accept them as they are, and support them as they grow into the people they are destined to become.
Today I want to make a promise to my 2.4 year old daughter.
I promise my daughter that I will do everything in my power to protect her. I also vow to encourage her to grow into the person she is destined to become without burdening her with the mantle of my realistic or unrealistic expectations for her or myself.
I pray that the look of wonder in her eyes and the happiness in her smile stay with her forever; and whatever she chooses to do with that life, whenever she comes to me, she finds me…
always having her back, supporting her and loving her… no matter what.
By Dr Shruti Jaiswal – Consulting Homeopath & Parenting Expert with Parwarish.