We were in the process of finding the right pre-school for M, when I suddenly realized that there are a lot of things to consider (some of them are well described here).
So I was sitting here at a corner and think of how I’m always the relax mom all along (even though M was naturally always turned out to have some remarkable milestone since he was still inside the womb) and now why am I so intense of all these school things? M is only 33-month old this month. It’s not like he’s going to college or something. So I asked and searched many sources about my worries, until I found out about the “helicopter parent” term and wondering am I starting to become one?
What is Helicopter Parent?
The terms itself is already so obviously referring to parent who is always hovering over their children for every aspect of their lives (in extreem ways).
To them (as helicopter parent), raising a kid is like racing up to the finish line. They race up on how soon the kid can walk and talk, or count to ten, or sing as much as nursery rhymes, or write their own name. They controlling the kid’s behaviour to the extent of praising and or punishing too much. They are busy enroll the kid into many courses and activity centre without even asking what the kid’s really want/like/interested into and yet proudly showing it off to other moms. And not to mention don’t care if the kid’s actually refusing all those activities, because to them, their decision is always the right/best for their kid.
I can’t help but noticed that Singapore moms mostly in general are indeed helicopter parents especially when it comes to education. And it worry me so much just to think if I will be ended up being one because I think it can be dangerous for both the parent and the kid.
It can interfere with the kid’s problem-solving capability.
The best thing about kid’s life is that they’re always curious on everything and everyone surrounds them. So let them have the liberty of exploring things/people. They may find it on an easy way or a hard way, but it’s okay to let them find it by themselves. Too much providing things may turn them into a spoiled brat kid and more prone of unwanted situation. Every parent wish for an independent kid, right?
I never teach M to roll his back, crawl, walk, or to ride a scooter/bicycle. I always let him play and explore on the floor/ground. I let him free at the playground/park since he was as young as 6 months old. climb the ladder to then slide over. M was always learned to do all those things by himself following his curiosity. I was surprised when I found out that M was able to complete an 8-pieces puzzle since he was 9 months old and nobody was teaching him, he was just try and try!
It lower down the kid’s self-confident.
Decide every single things for our kid may make them feel incompetent/incapable of doing/decide things on their own. I noticed that when M reach the age of two, he was started showing off his independence and marking his prerogatives. “No!” has become his favorite word at that period. This is actually the "testing-the-water” phase for them. They want to know all about limits, therefore they would like to try out their own options instead of we directing them. All we need to do is assist them by providing few options for them to consider. It is very important to let our kid decide things on their own sometimes, even if you think it is not the best choice for them. Encourage them to success but let them failed too for sometimes. Let them feel in-control and be responsible with the result, that is the way to gain their self-confident.
I’ll always remember the “going-out-shoes incident” that happened recently. M has 3 going-out-shoes. We always let him decide which one to wear whenever we’re going out. Many times we went to the market, the playground, driving out to the mall or school etc. And M always have different decision for every different outing on any other days, we never asked him why, because we thought kids are kids, they are capable of changing their mind within any seconds. We never thought that M was observing his 3 going-out-shoes all along. So one day, we asked him out. We are late for something, and I grabbed one of his going-out-shoes (the green one) from the shoe cabinet without asked him which one he wanted to wear. He was so upset and throwed back the shoes that I picked for him. I was crossed but tried to be as calm. So I asked him why he did that, and he answered:
“Green shoes is going to the playground, Mommy. Blue shoes is going to mamikar (our car)”
I was stoned for a moment (or two’s) and then gave him a hug and say
“I’m so sorry. I’ll get your blue shoes then”
He smiled at me and grabbed his blue shoes while saying
“It’s ok, Mommy. I got it!”
He had showed me that he's capable on deciding what he wants, and be persistence about it. That moment I’ll never forget!
It raise a more vulnerable and anxiety kid who is fear of their social surroundings.
Vulnerable and anxiety kid are the common things in child’s problem. The world is too big for a small creatures, and the wrong leads will turn them wrong. But let them face it, embrace it. Good or bad, easy or hard, low or high, near or far, let them try it all out. You’ll be surprise on how they transform from a vulnerable and anxiety one into a brave and independent one simply by letting them be as they are.
It creates a depressed parent.
Attention please! Life is not about winning or losing. it’s about existence. And every person has their own unique reasons for their existence. We shall not pushed anyone to become someone they are not suppose to be. It’ll be like giving a banana to a lion. The harder you try to control your kid, the further away you are from them. And in the end parent will be the most depressed one. As life is not difficult enough? Just relax and let the kid outta their cocoon.
Yes it it! So contagious to the extent of epidemic-level. in fact that is the main reason why I started to be so worrisome about this pre-school things. Because other parents started to do all the registration to all pre-school that we like even a year before their kid's actually enrolled. It was just pre-school, in which I'm pretty sure the next level will be even tougher competition. And it's a never ending cycle, ladies! I have no idea when it was/how it was started, but to start from yourself is the best way to stop the chain.
I just wish for M to enjoy his childhood, just like how I used to when I was a kid.
Quote: “Raising a kid is like sending a rocket ship to the moon. You spend the early years in constant contact. And then one day, around teenage years, they go around to dark side, and they’re gone. All you can do is wait for that faint signal that saying they’re coming back” -phil dunphy, Modern Family S04E17