Saturday, December 17, 2022

Don't do Micro-Parenting

 Micro Parenting is a crime:

Raising a child is not trivial. Almost every parent I've come across seems to be under so much duress with their children. However, I disagree.

I've a 3yr old myself and I feel a breeze. The key to successful parenting is to do minimum parenting.

Please bear in mind I speak with experience raising my 3year old only, in my household. Granted some kids are extra difficult than others, and some folks extra patient with their kids than me. So things may vary.

My parenting style is simple: Minimal intervention, maximal exposure

Contrast this with my wife, who is a torch bearer of micro parenting. What is my kid doing every second of the day, she has to know. She is obsessed. It feels like she is always scared if something will happen to the kid. Even when the kid is in daycare, my wife is constantly monitoring through the webcam. That I feel is bit extreme.

Anyway, coming to the parenting point. 

We've to understand some qualities that kids generally have. First and foremost, they are hungry for learning, they are inherently brave because they want to try out everything and also, they are intrinsically independent. That is a very key feature. Notice how they progress from skidding to crawling to walking to running. They are always looking to do things of their own. And its criminal if you don't let them. Kids are like a dry sponge ball, ready to absorb anything. All we've to do is roll the ball into a puddle.

When I take my daughter to park, I let her do most of the things by herself. Yes, when she first tried to climb the rock structure, I helped point out where she can keep he feet and which rock to grab onto etc, but after 1-2 times, she was able to do of her own. Now having conquered the basics, I've noticed that when we go to a new park and a different rock climbing structure, she is able to climb it independently. All I do is stand below, fully attentive, ready to catch her if in the rare case she slips.

Contrast that to my wife. Everytime, and I mean every single time, she'll be holding and lifting her up, constantly guiding her where to put feet and where to hold. What does this micro managing do? It makes the kid dependent. Suddenly they feel like they'll not be able to climb if mother were to disappear into thin air right now. Its like deer caught in a headlight. 

My wife actually does have that fear, which induces panic and then leads to bad decisions. Consider the case where you are driving and suddenly google maps stops working. Which highway, which street, where to go, what to do now? For many years, my wife was scared to fill gas in the car. Even after I showed her the entire process and offered to accompany her first few times to calm the nerves but still, if it were possible to avoid doing this by some means, she would avoid. And avoiding is easy. There is always help available, for e.g pick up the phone and ask brother-in-law or friend if they can help fill the gas for her and done. Thats all well and good, but its not independence. If suddenly you are driving and find yourself in a situation where you've to do it, you'll have a panic attack. If kids don't learn to be independent, they'll grow up with this panic attack always lurking in their shadows.

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