Blog 93: Parenting: Doing Too Much For Your Child Is A Form of Abuse.
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A new crisis has emerged and it is very worrying: The suicide rate amongst young adults is going up – all because many have not been taught how to cope with life.
So what’s going on?
It seems some parents need to wake up – because what child psychologists are noticing is concerning:
Doing everything for one’s children, hovering over their every need or becoming what is known as a helicopter parent, even if it’s out of love, is actually leaving many children feeling helpless and unable to manage on their own.
And there is a growing concern that if a child hasn’t been shown or given enough tools to build confidence and self-worth, they could find themselves at a loss when dealing with real life situations and conflict.
And sadly, this usually arises when a young adult has been brought up to believe that they’re in some way the centre of the universe and therefore entitled to get whatever they want, whenever they want – and sadly, this notion doesn’t disappear when they finally leave home.
And if a spoilt child was used to throwing tantrums to get their way – doing this in adulthood may cause a lot of heartache. I have even seen people go to prison for creating mayhem via their temper tantrums.
But on another note, and for example, when young adults leave college or university they can get rejected at job interviews, and so on, but sadly many can land up confused and sometimes even desperate, fearing failure. And if they haven’t been taught how to deal with rejection, then adult life can seem quite merciless and even shocking.
And many young adults are now moving back home as they find it easier than being out there and making it on their own, especially when the cost of living and rent has gone up over the last decade. But this can also be hard on parents who may have hoped to spend time together, travelling and enjoying retirement and so on.
But more worrying, is that children of helicopter parents are far more likely to become depressed, as many find it hard to make it on their own without any parental help and guidance. This often results in their taking medication and for some, this route could prove fatal if suicide becomes their only option.
This is why it is important to allow children to develop important life skills that will help them learn how to cope, and how to motivate and discipline themselves, as this will stand them in good stead later on in life.
But also, not encouraging a child to work during vacations and so on, is becoming a drawback: Those who have, and who can add what they did during holidays etcetera, on their CV’s – are finding work. Why? Because they can prove they are prepared to work and this is very attractive to prospective employers.
It is therefore important that parents realise, that even when a child is still small, they need to begin encouraging and teaching a child about work, money and how adult life actually works. This will provide a child with a better chance of surviving and coping with the stress and the massive competition that adult life now involves.
B) Yet, these days there is a lot more focus on children’s rights and children are now far more aware of their rights too. Consequently, many parents fear any repercussions – if they put a foot out of line.
Unfortunately, this can lead to the undermining of authority between parents and their children. As a result, parent’s fear being authoritative and consequently, their children are landing up being the boss. And some family lives have now become unruly and undisciplined, as parents are forced in some cases to give in to a child’s every whim.
And in other cases, and as children become older, police or social workers have had to be called out, in order to help with extreme cases. And parents are often left feeling confused and failures.
But some parents also collude unnecessarily with this too:
Therapists are seeing that more children are being allowed to make decisions that are often ‘far above their paygrade’. And this pattern sometimes starts when children are very young.
Children are now being asked to make decisions about things that they have no experience in, yet they’re being given the power to do so. Some parents even go as far as asking children whether they should buy a house, take a job and so on.
But how on earth can a child ever answer these questions responsibly?
And if they do answer – it’s often with a nonchalant offhand childishness. This is because they’ve been given far too much authority too quickly and the questions are also far too complicated for any child to truly understand.
C) But handing over decisions to a child has repercussions:
1) Deep down a child doesn’t want to make these decisions. They want to play and enjoy life.
And if you listen very carefully to the sound and intonation of their answers, it quickly becomes clear that it’s often a forced and false kind of glib response to what they think is cute and clever – saying what they hope you want to hear, so they can continue playing.
But no parent would really want to take away a child’s innocence to soon – surely?
2) Because in any case, adult life decisions are what a parent should make – even when it comes to whether a child should clean their room, eat their vegetables or not, and so on.
And handing over decisions to a child has further repercussions:
1) It gives the child a false sense of importance.
2) It does not teach a child how decisions are made or researched.
3) And by putting responsible decisions into the hands of children, can lead to a child losing respect for their parents.
4) But also, this teaches lazy and complacent thinking.
5) And it also teaches that decisions do not need to be faced – they can just be handed over to others to make instead.
As a result, a child is not taught how to be responsible, rather they are taught how – to renege on responsibility.
And this is surely not helpful.
E) And Credit Cards Can Be A Further Example Of Teaching A Child to Renege On Responsibilities.
Credit cards are an excellent example of how parents can set up their children for failure. But how does this happen?
Not all adults pay off their monthly credit cards bills and not all adults can afford to pay them off either, and in many countries this is resulting in a disturbing rise in personal debt.
Unfortunately, children often observe how adults easily pull out their credit cards to pay for things – but children don’t always see how hard it is to pay the debt off. And if this is not pointed out, children can grow up with a misconception about how money is made and spent.
Unfortunately however, we also live in an age where peer pressure seems to rule.
So for example, when everyone at school has the latest smart phone or trainers, parents are often forced to help their children “keep up with the Joneses”. Consequently, children want and they get. But if they don’t get – they may be bullied and teased – which is why many parents give in to the demands.
But for some parents this may also mean getting themselves into debt.
This consequence is often not explained to children or parents wait far too late to begin teaching children about money or how not to demand that an item be bought but rather worked for and saved for.
As a result, when children get older and they suddenly can’t afford to get what they want, when they want, because:
- They don’t have credit cards,
- They can’t get credit cards or,
- Their credit cards expect them to make regular payments,
many can land up in a crisis – not knowing or understanding how to cope and possibly even build up credit.
But, and as I have already pointed out, few parents these days get their children to do paid chores around the house or as they get older to find weekend or holiday jobs. And this is having dire consequences. Usually the best and possibly the only way to teach a child the value of money is to get them to earn money and save their own money. But kids are now seldom taught the value of money, how to save, how to work for their money or how important it is to contribute towards a smart phone or indeed those cool new sneakers.
Consequently, many things get taken for granted and whereas an older generation may have looked after their possessions having saved hard for them, many kids these days are more inclined to throw their possessions away once they’re out of fashion, as they know full well – that they’ll easily get what they want, until they themselves reach adulthood and find paying or earning isn’t quite as easy.
Doing Too Much For Your Child Is A Form of Abuse:
It seems from observation that some parents need to step back.
Doing too much for a child, doesn’t always help a child develop a healthy emotional and financial independence. And it certainly doesn’t provide them with tools to cope.
Often I have witnessed parents say, “I love my children – so I can’t help myself but spoil them”, or “I love my child and therefore I will do everything to give them the life I never had” – only means that you’re putting your own needs before your child’s needs.
There is nothing wrong with wanting to provide and give a child a good and healthy childhood but spoiling them and overdoing it – can be a form of abuse. It can leave a child feeling helpless and insecure when faced with adult life or adversity.
And if a parent who does too much, dies or dies far too early in a child’s life – the child will be left incapable, powerless and unable to cope.
Surely though, the role of a parent is to teach a child how to cope, not the opposite?
Not doing so, as already explained, is leading some teenagers and young adults to feel helpless and depressed, and some are overdosing and even committing suicide.
It is therefore important to recognise that so much has changed since parents were young – and social media is certainly not helping either. This is why it is more crucial than ever before to teach children how to cope with the demands of a stressful life.
Allowing a child to slowly become independent needs to start as early as possible in order to teach a child how to cope financially and emotionally.
And if you need parenting assistance, please speak to your doctor who could refer you to either a child psychologist or a family therapist who would be more than willing to help.
And then you may be interesting in watching this: Simon Sinek speaking about the millennial generation and the issues they now face.
It is called: This Is Why You Don’t Succeed – Simon Sinek on The Millennial Generation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NEsUudZvntE
© 2018 Deidré Wallace All rights reserved.
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