I remember my childhood when my mom always reminded me that failure was not an option in my exams. This philosophy is still running in many homes, but now the competition is now getting much fiercer than before. Now, the race is not against the pass or fail but of achieving higher grades and test scores. Nowadays, students are in more pressure than students twenty years ago. Moreover, this parental desire to see their kids shine leaves little room for children to make their own mistakes and learn from them. The question is, what would be the lifelong threats for a child who is overprotected by his/her parent? Is overcontrolling a hazard to their mental and social growth?
Parents who always pay exceptionally close attention to their child’s experiences and problems and “hover overhead” means overseeing every aspect of their child’s life constantly are termed as ‘Helicopter Parent’. Holly H. Schiffrin discussed in her research, that ‘overprotective, domineering, or over-controlling parents cause long-term mental health problems for their children. The description of these mental health problems may be lifelong and its impact similar to the scale of individuals who have suffered sadness. Similarly, According to the Medical Research Council (Source UCL) ‘psychological control can limit a child’s independence and leave them less able to regulate their behaviour.’
Now we all want, parents and teachers, our kids to succeed and have the brightest future ahead in their lives. However, this struggle for excellence goal later becomes an ambition to the majority of parents, and they go at any lengths to make sure that their kids don’t fail or fall behind. I remember each year parents come to me asking help for their children who lack attention during exams and class tests. Research suggests that the main reason for their inattentiveness at home and school is basically due to that helicopter parenting. By not letting children hesitate or experience disappointment make them helpless and unable to handle any problematic situation that might arise in future. The precise opposite of what most parents want to achieve for their children.
Jessica Lahey, a teacher and writer for the Atlantic and the New York Times, writes in her book, ‘today’s overprotective, failure avoidant parenting style has undermined the competence, independence, and academic potential of an entire generation.’ Overprotection and controlled environment at home halted the child’s decision-making powers and the ability to learn from their mistakes and experiences. These children, in their later life, are much more prone to psychological anxiety (Previous article: Teen Anxiety | Reasons and Remedies) especially when they enter high school.
It is essential for parents to know and let their kids know that ‘failing or being failed is OK’. Why they need to know that because it is the ultimate reality that failing is universal, no matter how hard you try. There is no ‘Formula of Success’, the success is depending upon how hard you work to achieve it, and if you even failed in that struggle, still you learn how to avoid that failure in future. Remember what Thomas Edison quoted when he first invented the light bulb after 10,000 unsuccessful attempts ‘I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work’.
Failure, in any part of your life’s journey, is brutal, ugly, and unpleasant. However, In the end, it is we people who will decide whether we want to Learn from our mistakes or Run from our mistakes. The great lesson which I learned in my childhood from the cartoon movie ‘The Lion King’.