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Avoid pampering of your child

Parents make a mistake when they pamper in the name of love. Pampering creates weakness because children develop the belief that others should do everything for them. One of the greatest gifts you can give your children is to allow them to develop the belief, “I am capable.” Children feel capable when they learn that they can survive the ups and downs of life.

But first let’s define what we mean by “Avoid Pampering.” We are not talking about love, affection and connection. Giving hugs is not pampering.  Giving compliments is not pampering. Validating feelings is not pampering.

Pampering is doing things for our children that they are perfectly capable of doing for themselves. The fact is, our children are born with an innate desire to do things for themselves and begin to express that desire around the age of two. We are all familiar with the toddler who says “Me do it!” Too many parents say, “No, you are too little. Go play.” Then when they are older and we ask them to help, we are surprised when they say, “No. I’m playing.”

Parents often do things for their children for expediency. They may be in a hurry or they are afraid their children will not do it “right” or perfectly. That is why it is important to “take time for training.” This means showing them how and then letting them practice. Do things “with” young children until they are old enough and practiced enough to graduate to doing things by themselves. It will still often take longer and not be perfect, but remember we are striving for long-term results. We need to give our children opportunities to become responsible, capable young people.

Loving your child is not the same as pampering your child. So, giving hugs, telling her that you love her, spending time with her, helping with homework and studies, appreciating and complementing her…is not pampering!

Pampering is treating your child with excessive indulgence, kindness or care. This is especially visible when you do things for your child on a consistent basis that she is capable of doing by herself. So, if you always find yourself cleaning up your child’s mess, packing her schoolbag, sharpening her pencils, doing all her homework, giving in when she whines for more TV time or chocolates, buying her anything she asks for…you are pampering and spoiling your child.

Pampering and praising your child in the name of love, is really taking away from your child, his innate and developing confidence, capability and esteem. Instead, demonstrate your love by not constantly pampering ‘doing’ for him, but rather helping and teaching him ‘to do’ for himself. I am sure you have heard of the saying ‘Give a man [or child!] a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man [or child!] to fish and you feed him for a lifetime!’

Furthermore, children who are not shielded from the ups and downs of life, but are instead, taught how to deal with it, realise that they are capable. Hence, when a child is bullied, instead of protecting her and taking things in your hands, teach her to stand up for herself (only if things are dangerously out of control do you step in as an adult). This ‘Standing Tall’, for herself, gives your child a sense of control and belief in her abilities.

A life-impacting and enhancing part of your role as a parent is to support and train your child to flap and test her wings, and like a parent bird, prepare her for the greatest job and joy of all…of soaring towards the vast opportunities of life with confidence!

Pampering is defined as ‘the act of indulging or gratifying a desire’ in an excessive way that ends up adversely affecting the character, nature, or attitude of a person. Now think of these terms with respect to a child – whose whims and fancies are catered to, with parents going out of the way to please and appease him/her.

Now, as parents, we end up letting our kids have their way in the name of love and inconvenience. There is also tremendous pressure on modern-day parents to be ‘perfect’. However, we cannot forget the seeds we are laying today will blossom into fruits tomorrow.

Let your child do things s/he is capable of doing, without extending undue help and concern, unless really required. Do not jump in to help your child at the slightest hint of a struggle. Let them learn and grow. If you are always there to assist your child at the slightest sign of a struggle, you will only deprive your child of the numerous opportunities that are crucial to his development. The child will always be dependent on you.

A child learns through difficulties and experiences, and though most parents bleed to see their wards in trouble, we need to let our children develop and grow progressively, independently, and responsibly into well-matured adults.

Pampering a child can have serious aftereffects on the personality and the character, hence there are definitive limits set to indulge your child. Let the ‘privileges’ not be misunderstood as ‘rights’, and you are just about right. The damage to sensitivity can grow into a severe stage if unchecked. Even when the situation is not extreme, circumstances note that pampered children grow into egoistic and self-centered adults, insensitive to the idea of hurting others.

Satisfying all realistic and unrealistic demands, not correcting or taking action, and treating the child as a delicate human being is not the right way to show love for your child. Instead, this makes the kid imbibe the same attitude of being fulfilled when dealing with the world outside the periphery of their comfort zone, which spells trouble for the kid, the parents, and other people who have to deal with the kid.

Parents must first correct their mentalities on raising a child. Helping a child grow into a responsible adult is not an easy task at all. Despite your bank balance, you need to make sure your child does not get whatever catches their fancy. It is not a matter of your financial ability, it is an issue of your moral responsibility as guardians.

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