An excerpt from the book, Are You Over Parenting? By Lachmi Deb Roy.

Many parents today feel that being a parent is like a full-time job. We have been programmed to believe that that the ticket for their kid’s success is in their hands. In fact, the preparation to bring up the perfect child starts even before they are born. Parents are turning their kids into mini robots and scheduled slaves.

I believe that over parenting reflects in the parent’s desire to manage every single decision of their child and not giving a scope for them to decide what they like or what they dislike. As parents we all have our high days and low days, times when we are proud of our parenting and again times when we are totally embarrassed of the way we have brought up our kids.

This did not mean I do not care or worry about him. I am still petrified at the fact that my child has to cross the road on his own. So, am I over caring or am I over parenting? It is easy to say that we are a bunch of caring parents who gives time to their children, but actually we are suffocating them with excess love and care.

I believe that over parenting reflects in the parent’s desire to manage every single decision of their child and not giving a scope for them to decide what they like or what they dislike.

Often, I see that we see and treat our children as competitors always made to run a race with an undefined finishing line. And every passing year, the expectation of the so called new age parents is increasing with each passing year. We are always discussing among ourselves or thinking of ways of how to keep our children engaged. When my husband takes my son for a game of golf, he says that this is his free time. Here again, we are trying to mould his life the way we want to.

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A child’s free time should be completely unorganised. We don’t want them to waste a single minute. We want them to make the best use of time. If a group of mothers and fathers are having a chat outside the school or a hobby class, we are only discussing about ways to give the best to our child and in this process, we end up pressurising the child. We rarely seem to be happy with the achievement of our kids. We want our kids to excel in everything. Are we really happy if our child gets an eight out of ten or do we want or rather demand a ten out of ten from them in each and every activity?

We are forgetting that parenting is not a race we need to win. Over burdening and excessive criticism by us can take a mental toll on the child. Paediatricians say kids as young as five are suffering from anxiety attacks. If your child is overburdened, he/she is likely to be overtly clingy, bite their nails, throw tantrums, suck their thumb and sometimes pluck their hair and wet their bed. The cause of all this is the new parenting trend which pushes their parents to uncork their child’s potential early in life otherwise they feel that their kids will not grow up to be successful adults. Parenting indeed has become a very competitive thing. It is time parents start taking things a little easy by accepting their child’s short comings and at the same time being happy with the unique qualities that the child possesses.

We want our kids to excel in everything. Are we really happy if our child gets an eight out of ten or do we want or rather demand a ten out of ten from them in each and every activity?

Parents need to focus on the emotional development of the child rather they are focusing only on intellectual development. And as parents we should remember that we play a crucial role in fostering healthy emotional development in kids. In fact, it is the parent’s behaviour which plays a crucial role in how a child develops in to an emotionally secure adult. Friends start playing a very important role in teenage. It is up to us to give them the exposure to a good circle of friends who will provide a positive influence in their life.

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We should be more aware of our moods, then only we can take care of our child’s emotional requirements effectively. The other day I had pressed the panic button a bit too hard. I was definitely stressed out with my own work, but at the same time, I was stressed out about the fact that my son’s eighth standard, yes eighth standard, final exams were approaching. My husband and I kept on pestering him that he should reduce his play time and finish the syllabus. “Did you finish your syllabus in Social Science and how the hell are you going to get an A1 in it?” I guess we all do that because we live in a world of cut throat competition. We should blame ourselves not the education system because we forcibly made ourselves slaves to the system and we expect our children to do the same. Our parents didn’t get 98 percent and 99 percent in board exams and they are not fools. I am sure most of us also didn’t score that kind of percentage in exams. Then is it fair for us to ask our kids to do the same? Should we mimic and follow a vicious cycle blindly?

Excerpted with permission from Are You Over Parenting? By Lachmi Deb Roy, Rupa Books.

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