In a time where the world is becoming a more frightening place, it's tempting to wrap our children in cotton wool and shield them from the harsh reality outside. But are we doing more harm than good? Mollycoddling your child may seem like you’re doing the best for them. But long term, it can hinder resilience and damage work ethic, preventing proper development.
This is an issue that was recently covered in Netflix’s Black Mirror series, in an episode titled ‘Arkangel’. Without giving any spoilers away, a concerned mother has her child fitted with futuristic technology called ‘Arkangel’. The child is implanted with a chip, which allows the mother to see through the child’s vision, track her on GPS and even censor her experiences. The child finds out she is being monitored and needless to say, it doesn’t go down well.
While an extreme interpretation, this approach to parenting is becoming more common in the Western world. I can understand why, from school shootings to abuse scandals like Larry Nassar and USA Gymnastics, the world looks like a precarious place for our youngsters. However, ‘helicopter parenting’ is not the answer.
If you do too much for your child, not only will they lack independence, they will lack the desire for independence. Start developing your children’s life skills early, getting them to do their own laundry and research their own car insurance. By giving them a sense of independence now, it won’t shock them when they need to do these tasks later. Instead, they'll welcome the responsibility.
By over parenting, one of the biggest elements of your child’s development you can hinder is their individuality. Keeping your child away from experiences will stand in the way of meeting new people and forming opinions. In turn, they will become a carbon copy of their environment, without a true sense of identity.
If you are constantly assisting your child with school work, they will struggle when it comes to doing it themselves. This feeds into their professional life when they are older, leaving them without any sense of hard work or initiative. Which is well documented with the millennial generation, the first to experience mollycoddling.
For your child to gain these vital personality traits, the key is to step away when the time is right. Let your child fail, let them understand what it’s like to get negative feedback or to lose a job. The best way for them to succeed in life is to fail first, to identify what went wrong and learn how to grow from it.
Let’s try and cut down on over parenting and let our children experience what we did as kids. The freedom to play outside, to see the world through fresh eyes and live without fear.