The Curse Of The Helicopter Parents: How Over-Parenting Has Affected Millennials
Imagine raising kids in a land that is unknown to you. You attempt to instill values about a culture that doesn't really apply to your children. You teach them a language that's foreign to their evolving dialect. You try to find a balance, but the borderline between right and wrong are completely forged. These were the ingredients for raising Generation-Y, and it could not have been easy for our parents to do so.
I feel sympathy for our parents, the parents of Gen-Y, because essentially we were the guinea pigs. Raising multicultural kids in North America was one giant experiment, and they could have never predetermined the results. Thus, in hopes of avoiding dysfunctional, confused and delinquent kids, many parents adopted the overcompensation style of parenting, a.k.a. over-parenting.
In theory, it sounds great. When your children fall behind in their responsibilities, you constantly provide help, push them even harder, and BAM, you will be considered a good parent! Unfortunately, though, this idea did not span out as perfectly as planned, and the consequential results of over-parenting are as follows.
Writing Blank Checks
There are some 20-somethings who have an amazing education paired with a fantastic job right out of college. They make a decent salary and have accepted their responsibilities as an adult in the real world, but for some reason, they are still turning to their parents for extra cash to live a “comfortable” lifestyle.
Living beyond our means is an easy trap to fall into because we are used to excessive comfort at home. Yet when parents are jeopardizing their own retirement savings to pay for Saturday night's bottle service, there is a problem. If you are constantly pulling your child out of debt, you have crossed your parenting limits. Your child needs to learn to budget if they want to be independent. It is not their birthright to have all the luxuries you couldn't afford when you were growing up.
Sit down with your child and talk about money openly. Explain that you are not a bottomless well of wealth. Also, if you want to buy them an expensive gift or pay for a trip down south, it will be out of the kindness of your own heart. Support from parents should never be assumed.
Supporting Bad Habits
Discipline is a simple concept. If you don't do your homework, you get a detention. If you don't do your chores, you don't get your allowance. Basically, there are consequences for your poor decisions and actions. However, I meet so many 20-somethings who aren't enrolled in college, aren't working, and yet, their complete inaction in life seems to reap no consequences.
I understand there are many fields of study in college, with an even broader choice of career paths that follow, and it can be overwhelming to choose just one that entices you. News flash: we all did it. The excuse that you need time to find yourself is so passé. Hence, allowing your kid to sit at home and play video games while their brain rots means you are a bad parent! You are not doing them a favor by making their beds, washing their laundry, and cooking them their every meal. You are excusing them of responsibility and supporting a very unfortunate lifestyle, lacking drive.
As a parent, you must guide and discipline your kids right up until the very day they leave the nest. If they are wasting the most fruitful years of their life, it's time to wake them up, shake them about, and kick them out. I know it might be painful, but if you love them, there needs to be consequence for their lack of motivation and inaction to make something of their selves.
Making Decisions For Them
How do you like your eggs? Sunny side up, scrambled, or poached? How about your coffee? Do you like milk, sugar, and a dash of cinnamon? When we were younger, our choices were based solely on preferences. I like this; I don't like that! However, as we get older, we draw up pro and con lists for each decision, making sure they are extensively analyzed and deliberately calculated choices. They reflect our personality and direction in life. It is through this process that we become self-reliant thinkers.
However, many parents love being in control and deprive their children from options. This is the career path you should choose; this is the person you should marry; this is the place you should buy; this is the recipe you should try. The child does not experience the challenges of decision-making. That is when the parents' efforts to help are, in deed, counter productive. The overindulgence hinders the child from creating a stable environment of their own, and they forever become insecure.
I understand that as a parent you want to prevent your child from making the same mistakes you might have made in the past, but isn't that what life is about? We live; we learn. You are robbing your children of their identity and their journey. It's a bittersweet thought; I'll let you mull it over.
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