How often have you felt bad about letting your children down? How many football matches or dance rehearsals or races have you missed and subsequently felt terrible about missing? How many occasions have there been when they’ve asked for money and you’ve had to say no?
Feeling like you’ve disappointed your children, or that you haven’t “been there” enough for them, can be devastating. They’re the people who you love most and you want them to be happy, but this is no guarantee of satisfaction. Well, at LB Business we have a little piece of advice that might just make you feel better.
Spending too much time with your kids is not doing them any favours.
The same goes for giving them exactly what they want. In the short-term the situation is resolved, but life is very much a long-term game.
Before we continue, it’s important to note that yes, there has always been a significant disconnect between parents and their kids; between adults and children. This is logical. Just as important to note, however, is that in 2016 this disconnect has been exaggerated by the emergence and influence of the internet.
Technology has fundamentally altered the playing field. Even the most well-intentioned parent cannot possibly fully relate to their children’s experience, because they cannot wholly comprehend the world in which they live. Social media has changed the game.
Where this can lead to issues is when you consider that, at a time when this disconnect has never been larger, parents have never spent so much time obsessing over the well-being of their kids.
A major study from the University of California has found that mothers today spent over twice as much time with their children, whilst with fathers that statistic rises to up to four times.
This may seem like a sweet, fairly comforting statistic. And perhaps on the surface it is.
But the fact is that ‘helicopter’ parenting, as it’s now known, has been identified as one of the most consistent factors in the backgrounds of those who suffer from acute anxiety and abuse drugs, specifically prescription medication.
Helicopter parenting often results in the parent playing the role of ‘supervisor’, as opposed to loving parent. In this matter, it’s very much a case of quality over quantity.
The result is that not only are many children growing up ultimately resenting their parents, but they also end up being coddled and are radically unprepared to face the harsh pressures of reality.
Being sheltered by their parents results in unrealistic expectations regarding growing up, and can lead to crippling feelings of anxiety and deep-seated depression.
Ultimately the goal is to nurture your children to the point where they are able to become competent, functioning members of society. This means finding the right balance in how much you help them and how much you see them.
But even better for you, the parents. Quit your worrying and go for those after work drinks. Tell your kids that no, you won’t be able to make it to their game this week. Understand that life is cruel, and that not giving into your child’s every whim is genuinely doing what’s best for them in the long run. Hopefully at some point they’ll thank you.