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DateLine Sunday, 19 August 2007

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Government Gazette

Over protective parents and experience denied children

Parents generally try to control their children's skills and developments according to their taste and goals in life. Especially with the fast moving society parents try to compete with the standards of the circle of life. Without stopping there, using their own flesh and blood they try to fight the battle and consider that as love. Unfortunately, that's where the pathetic story begins.

The parents do not realise how badly it affects the psychological and physical development of a growing child. In return some parents might disagree because their kids would have been able to reach their parents goals.

But the kid's knack to choose the right profession or career has got deceived and the kid who turns in to an adult may have a negative approach towards society. Various people commented and also gave their opinions to Sunday Observer to make the over protective parents understand the gravity of blocking the children's capabilities.

Kaushal Ranabahu Mendis a BIT student at the University of Colombo said, Some parents discerningly shows the children the difference between right and wrong by paving the way to a correct foundation. At the same time some parents do not even provide the necessities that any child would lack such as freedom, mutual understanding, guidance etc. Due to this the children may build up a negative form of attitude and that may lead them to become a threat to society.

Anarkali Akarsha movie actress said that we are living in a world out of control and definitely that adds negative points for all mankind. She also said that having over protective parents is not wrong.

Especially in the present society that we all need someone to watch over us. If the child gets neglected and has no one to turn to, might become blinded in society. And Anarkali said that she personally thinks none other than parents can be counted so trust worthy or caring. On the other hand the actress said parents also should have faith in their children and help them to excel in what ever field they choose to flourish in.

Jagath Bassnayake, father of two kids said considering the present generation of kids the parents should give them liberty. It is necessary for them to experience things in life so they could build up there confidence where the kids will be fearless to face any challenges that they come across. He also said that if not they will be confined only to one aspect.

Adding he said this world has become very competitive so the children should be brought up with appropriate freedom.

Former principal and grandmother, Asoka Ariyapperuma gave her comments to the Sunday Observer. "Parents of today tend to be over protective of their children because Sri Lankan society has taken a turn for the worse. With more and more unfortunate and appalling things recounted in the news every day, it's no wonder parents are reluctant to let their children enjoy the freedom they require."

She further explained that although a certain amount of protection is necessary too much of it could inhibit the child's psychological growth. Parents must not prevent the children from gaining experience.

Senani Kekulandala, mother of new born, is planing to adapt a different method from that of typical over protective parents. She believes that over protection can spoil a child.

Children who are over protected and pampered from a very young age tend to seek similar treatment from the rest of society as well, the child becomes depressed when he or she doesn't get it. "Opportunists may even try to take advantage from this". The best way to come about this, in her view, is to educate the child. Teach the child to discern right from wrong and how to adapt to society.

Senior lecturer of University of Kelaniya U.A. Chandrasena said that the extent of over protection depends on several things, such as attitudes, social status and society.

"Attitudes of people differ according to their social status. People living in rural areas do not bother to protect their children. Besides there is no need for it either". It also depends on society. Children living in rural areas do not face many dangers. families are close knit and every one knows each other. In cities it's different.

Apart from the potential dangers from strangers city dwellers have to worry about an ever changing culture as well. Where there is easy access to media, internet, things that can effect a child's psychology at an early age. He further commented that over protectiveness effects a child's personality. Children tend to be more dependent.

Although he accepted there is a little bit of controlling involved, he did not believe that it could cause lasting damage to a child.

Physician and author of "Dharuvan lama loveni", Dr. Priyanga De Zoysa said that the popular concept of obedient children is not a reality. However cultivating cooperativeness in children is a definite possibility. He explained that some tribal groups in Latin America allow their children to do what ever they please.

These tribal parents claim that through experience they learn to stay out of trouble and that parents rarely have to intervene. This belief differs much from our approach to parenthood. Sri Lankans believe that children will not learn without being taught. But the truth is that children will develop their own capabilities along the path to adulthood.

Parents are not taught how to be parents, Sri Lankan parents act on instinct, as opposed to other developed countries, where parents have enough guidance, in the form of books and counselling, to improve their parenting.

Parents should always keep in mind that the child world is different from the adult world and that the child is not a 'small adult' A child's perception is different from that of an adult. "For example" explained Dr De Zoysa "if a child breaks something and a parent asks who broke it, it's unlikely that the child would come forward and take the blame, because taking responsibility is not in the child's nature".

In advising a child lengthy lectures won't work, what the child needs is short advice. Dr. De Zoysa explained that punishing, by hitting, is a tool used by parents when they can't get things done, none of them like. By learning the right kind of skills they would be able to produce cooperative children, consequently punishments will not be necessary. But parents have to keep in mind that coperative being is different from obedience.

More over, in his book Dr. De Zoysa explains how learning parental skills help parents to foster cooperative children. A parent should always allow questions. They should know how to arrive at a mutually satisfying solution. Parents should never discourage such attempts due to impatience.

They should also help children to manage their feelings. Children suffer from conflicts of emotions, it's the parents job to understand, acknowledge and verify them in order to help the children cope with their problems.

More over every parent should learn to accept their child as he or she is. Every child has a specific set of talents and abilities. Too many expectations can be just as harmful as underestimation.

Parents should never be reluctant to appreciate their children. Children make mistakes. Expecting a child not to make mistakes raises unrealistic expectations Parents should be forgiving and attempt to correct them.

But above all parents must enforce authority and provide leadership. Parents are a whole generation ahead, children's attempts to question parental authority should always be discouraged.

When there is cooperation the child world and adult world can co-exist in harmony. The need to over protect arises out of fear, and if the children are cooperative there is no cause for fear.

Parents can either let their children stand on their own feet and hope for the best or they can try to learn new skills of better parenting and foster cooperative, happy and clever children.

 

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