Mar 30, 2012

Just how far are we taking good parenting?

If you did not know, the term helicopter mom is an in vogue term invented for a mom who hovers like a helicopter over her children to see that they do everything right and that they have the best of everything; the best clothes, the best schools, the best tutors, the best everything. The parent means well but is so claustrophobic and unwavering that it does not at all benefit the child in the long run. Yes, you can help the child make up his bed, but if he starts standing one side while you do everything, you have just shown him how to rely on you. And if your two year old child comes to your bed to sleep with you, calm her down but take her back to her room. Explain in ways she can understand that everyone has his own bed to sleep in at night. Don’t encourage sleeping in your bed; you will have a hard time fixing the problem and raise a child who expects things to go her way all the time.

Responsibility important for a child

Hard as this may be to swallow, children need to make mistakes and learn from them. You teach them how to make up the bed, not make up the bed yourself. One of the worst mistakes a helicopter mom can make is to encourage lazy behavior and a demanding individual by doing all the paperwork and submissions to college in the belief that she is helping her child as the application will be accepted. The child does not learn anything from this exercise except that his parents have clout and can get him into university. He does not experience failure, he does not learn responsibility. He will expect that what is allowed to him in his home should be allowed by others also. This is the end result of a helicopter mom’s constant interference.

Old style values

In the forties and fifties you got a wholesome breakfast of porridge or oats with thick cream and fruit. Now our children are eating super brain foods of nuts and seeds and drinking green juice. It is of course good to eat from the earth and the tree and the sea, but are we not going just a little overboard with all this over-parenting? I read somewhere that the state of Georgia provided newborns with a CD called ‘Build your baby’s brain through the power of music’ after researchers claimed to have discovered that listening to Mozart’s music could potentially raise IQ scores by as many as 9 points. Just how high are we on our own supply?

Maintaining safety in the house for toddlers

When you have two and three year old toddlers climbing up on cupboards and running up and down stairs, especially if they are active, you have to make sure that there are safety measures in place. A child who tries to climb up on something to reach the cookies on the shelf will hurt himself if he falls. One has to have eyes in the back and the front of one’s head to constantly see what they are doing. My daughter who has two toddlers, both girls, and who does everything right when it comes to her kids – my grandchildren – has a great system in place.

Keeping toddlers safe

When Ameera was nine months old, my daughter had a great part of the living room cordoned off with plastic fencing and rubber flooring to accommodate a fairy tale world for toddlers to have their own little stove – made of plastic – children’s table, washing machine, soft toys, hard toys, muppets and puppets and educational toys. When her two year old toddler is finished eating, she can find a dozen fun and educational things to do by herself. She is occupied and happy and her parents do not have to worry much about her. There are, however, things in the house that require a special safety check to protect toddlers from harm:

• Have safety covers on all electrical outlets. A child can easily stick a finger or something in it and receive an electrical shock. It is surprising how many parents with toddlers overlook this.

• Have a smoke or carbon monoxide detector in the house in the event of an emergency or a fire.

• Have a gate at the bottom of the stairs so they do not go upstairs when no one is there.

• Have slippery child proof covers fitted on the door knobs so they cannot open the doors.

• Keep chairs out of the way for them not to climb on.

• Be careful of bunk beds for someone as young as two. You want the child to be as close to the floor as possible.

• Have a plastic shield fitted to the front of the stove – they’re common in North America – if you have a child whose head is at the same height of a gas stove and she has big hair. This kind of accident has happened before.

• When going out, make sure you have the right car seat, that it faces the right way, and accommodates the right weight.

• Toddlers have many ways of reacting to potty training and while some of them are cute and funny, it is messy work.