Us parents many times fall into the trap of over-protecting our kids and acting as if we were police officers, ready to spy and punish them for every single (small or big) mistake they commit. This old-school approach to parenting has been widely employed by generations of parents as a way to discipline their kids, but the question is? Is it right? Studies have shown that it’s no longer beneficial neither for parents nor for children.
While it is important to teach our kids some good values, adopting a strict and authoritarian style of parenting isn’t the way to go, if we wish to grow happy, confident, and smart kids. According to a Psychology Today article, authoritarian parents falsely believe that bending the will of their child is totally acceptable and anything that comes against it e.g kids not adhering to their rules, is perceived as wrong or sinful.
What some parents fail to realize though, is that our kids have been born with their own temperament, quirks, and personalities and we can’t manipulate them into thinking and act as we do. We can’t always force them to perform their “best” to fulfill our own dreams and inspirations. Sure, boasting of our kid’s achievements is something that most us enjoy but nonetheless, we shouldn't place vast pressure on our kids to do what WE want. Our kids aren’t robots to simply obey our orders, they have their own judgment and opinion which should be respected unless there is a serious reason to correct it.
Keep in mind that our kids (over the age of 5) are extra busy with their school and homework and thus it is important to let them explore themselves and develop on their personalities without any unnecessary interference. Essentially, allowing our kids some healthy dose of freedom and expression of themselves encourages:
According to expert Sue Cowley on psychologies.co.uk, while we need to allow our kids some freedom, that doesn’t imply not setting any boundaries or rules. Young kids especially need some guidance on what is considered right or wrong and what is generally accepted in order to grow into functional and useful individuals in the future. Cowley, who trains teachers and parents on managing children’s behavior, recommends striking a balance between freedom and discipline by allowing our kids to have choices. We can, for example, present our kids with two choices and the consequences for each and ask them about their opinion on which is the most appropriate. Example: Should you wear this y or X thing at school? What is the right thing to wear? That way, they will feel comfortable expressing themselves freely whilst still succumbing to the “boundaries” we indirectly set and the consequences of their choices.
Our children do need more freedom, but it needs to be done right or we may end up growing dysfunctional individuals.