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Problematic Parental Practices

Claustrophobia. That’s the feeling you create for your child when you’re too involved in their life. According to The New York Times, the term “helicopter parenting” arose in the 1980s to describe overprotective parents who, fearing for their child’s safety, began to closely monitor their every move. Today, this term refers to parents who regularly interfere in their kids’ lives, often disrespecting their independence or privacy. This includes constantly tracking their kids’ locations, filling up their free time with excessive activities, meddling with their social life, reading their phone messages, and more.

This style of parenting is so overbearing in nature that it creates a plethora of problems. Children and teenagers may feel as though they cannot approach their parents with issues because they fear an overreaction. As a result, they may feel obligated to put up a facade and keep secrets. Essentially, the notion of someone constantly interfering with your business in tandem with a lack of general privacy is suffocating.

There is nothing wrong with allowing your child to experience independence in the forms of sleepovers, parties, relationships, driving, and the like while they are still growing up. In fact, they will likely draw valuable lessons from these experiences that they will carry with them throughout life. On the other hand, prohibiting your child from these classic coming-of-age activities may make them more likely to fervently seek them out once they begin to live on their own. But when that time comes, you may not be there to help them if they need it. Be there for your kid, but let them live and learn. 

Another setback in recent decades is the rise of “snowplow parenting,” a term used to describe a parent who clears out all of the obstacles from their child’s life so that they never have to face challenges or endure discomfort. This can look like “helping” a child with schoolwork, arguing with an athletics coach if a child did not receive the position on the team they wanted, overly-inserting themselves into the college application process, and more. Childhood is a time to learn and grow, and growth can never happen if there is nothing to grow from. Failure is an inevitable part of life, and delaying it for your child will only make it more difficult for them to get over future life hurdles if they are reliant on you to solve their problems. Give your child the chance to fall so that they can get back up even stronger. 

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Sonia Alizadeh
Sonia Alizadeh, Opinion Editor

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