Parenting: Enabling or Equipping

I am concerned that we are raising a generation of entitled and selfish children. We treat every word that proceeds out of our darling puppets’ mouths as priceless golden nuggets worthy of deep thought and philosophising.

As soon as our adorable little munchkins tell us about a falling out with their mates, we dive in, faster than Tom Daley would complete a 10 meter jump, to adjudicate. Some of us even go as far as confronting the parents of their friends, asking them to rein in their errant children because, of course, our precious progeny are always the innocent party and are completely incapable of stirring up trouble.

By nature, children are selfish and impatient. They want something and they want it yesterday. Instead of teaching them patience and helping them to give others as much thought as they do themselves, we give in to their every demand. Anyone would be forgiven for thinking delayed gratification kills.

Like helicopters with no direction, we hover over our kids, not allowing them to fail, to feel disappointment or any other ‘negative’ experience. We mollycoddle them and celebrate mediocrity in the guise of positive reinforcement.

Alas, we are, inadvertently, setting them up for a huge fall. Whilst our role as parents includes guiding them through the often treacherous waters of life, we need not completely take over navigating their experience of living.

As painful as it is to watch our children ‘suffer’, it is vital for their development. It builds character, teaches them fortitude and engenders self-confidence. If we keep stepping in, we rob them of the opportunity to learn conflict resolution, to stand up for themselves. They will grow into spineless, dependent adults who lack resilience and whose bosses we will be calling to admonish for daring to upset our grown-up babies.


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About Nkem Ivara

I am a published author and editor and have contributed to journals and magazines. In between the spaces of my life as a wife and mother of two, I try to find time to understand my world with words. You can follow me on Twitter @thewordsmythe and on my blog

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