A new pandemic: over-anxious, over-protective, compassionate parenting

compassionate parenting

Post covid parenting trends.

Is this real?  Undoubtedly parenting styles, norms and even beliefs have shifted after the world pandemic. Some call it the new age of compassionate parenting where parents are encouraged to:

  • over-protective,
  • over-indulge,
  • over-control and
  • molly-coddle their child

Consequences are that they are not equipping the child with the skills needed to enable them to grow into:

  • independent,
  • self-motivated,
  • self-assured,
  • empathic adults.

Worrying trends resulting from compassionate parenting

A number of very worrying trends are taking place amongst a large number of learners mainly as a consequence of compassionate parenting.

These include:

  1. Over dependency on the parent

Reason: it seems that these days parents are being given the message that they must be there for the child in order to ensure that they don’t become too stressed.

  • This approach, in fact, aggravates the situation.
  • There are far too many parents that are still dressing their child, tying shoelaces, and many other activities that the child should be doing for themselves.
  • Without realising it, by doing things that a child should be doing for themselves, a parent is tacitly encouraging the child to opt out of challenges, and not persevere.
  1. Encouraging learned helplessness

Reason: with the advent of Covid and with so many kids learning from home, when it came time to returning to the classroom, many learners did not enjoy returning to school. However, as a result of the parent being encouraged to be there for their child:

  • they give the child a tacit message that they don’t have to listen in class
  • because when they get home there will be somebody to help them, be it a parent, au pair or an extra lesson teacher.
  • Instead of the child becoming self-motivated and independent
  • parents have been unwittingly encouraging learned helplessness where the child has no self-belief and becomes very dependent on their parent.

The consequence of learned helplessness:

  • a growing group of learners in extra lessons,
  • having no grit or determination,
  • avoiding challenges and
  • wanting somebody to help them when the going gets tough.
compassionate parenting can cause harm
  1. Far too many kids lacking Grit and Determination

Reason: Every child is born with potential and passion.

  • However, they need an adult authority figure (usually the parent) to help them fulfil their potential and maintain that passion.
  • It is the parent’s responsibility to instil grit and determination into their child.
  • The manner in which they are parented can either retard or encourage a child to take on life with confidence and motivation.
  • A parent that is too demanding, controlling or over-protective, actually stifles the child’s potential and discourages perseverance.

In my experience pupils in a remedial class show

  • a tendency to rely too much on their teachers or parents for help.
  • they don’t have enough confidence in their own abilities.
  • These children tend to avoid challenges or opt out when things appear too difficult.
  1. A growing number of learners who are extremely impulsive and demanding.

Reason: every child is born self-centred, impulsive and selfish

  • it is the duty of the parent to equip the child with the skills to deal with the challenges that life will be throwing at them.

So how does a parent ensure that their impulsive child becomes less impulsive?

A simple solution is to teach your child manners from an early age. The child of today takes without asking and feels entitled to have whatever they want. A child has to understand that the only thing that belongs to them are their possessions. If they want something they need to ask! e.g. ‘mommy may I please play with your cellphone?’ Mom can then respond by letting her child know that she is busy and that the child must wait until her mom gives her phone.

Compare this to a child going into her mother’s handbag and taking the phone without permission. Totally impulsive, and totally unacceptable. Manners appear to have gone out the window and with it you’re dealing with a consequence of very demanding and impulsive children.

Why not Compassionate Parenting?

In a Nutshell:

A child needs an adult (parent) authority figure – authoritative, not authoritarian,

  • who will equip them with the skills needed
  • to deal with the challenges that life throws at them.

Related articles:

Is there a superior parenting style ? by Mia Von Scha

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Dr Ken Resnick

Dr Ken Resnick

Ken Resnick, parenting expert, psychologist, author, family negotiator, teacher, school counsellor, speaker, career counsellor, passionate about parenting, successfully raised step twin girls who turn 21 in June and ex-Springbok rugby triallist.  Visit his company SmartChoice Parenting on Facebook.

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