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Why your children shouldn’t be the center of your world.

To hear these words must come as a shocker at first, but hear me out. In a previous article on Modern Parenting we discussed the drawbacks of this style of parenting and how it can have adverse effects on children in the long term. We explored the fact that modern parenting puts too much focus on minute issues. This conditions the children do the same thing when they mature: making mountains out of molehills. What goes hand in hand with this style of parenting is giving the children way too much attention.

We all want the best of best for our children; the best schools, the best education, the best environment and the best of friends. There is nothing wrong with this, until the parents start to go overboard. It is important to invest time in the children, but not too much time. This is a very common scenario in India, many working women take maternity leaves and never really go back to work. There’s no other way out at first, but once the child has started going to school, it isn’t necessary. The mother’s day becomes all about the child; an entire day of feeding, bathing, dressing, homework, entertaining, etc. Naturally, children are dependent in many ways, but if they do not learn how to play on their own, entertain themselves and solve the little problems, it becomes an unhealthy dependency.

The world out there isn’t fun, easy or fair. It is a harsh world out there that won’t treat your children like they are the center of the universe. Imagine a child habituated to getting what they want, and constantly being monitored. This is a child who basically has someone waiting on him all day long, every day. This is a child that does not know how to be alone. When he or she goes out in to the real world, they will be in for a shock, when they are not the star student of their class, or the CEO in their office does not even know their name.

Giving your child that much attention is not good for their ego, and neither for your lifestyle as a person. Before having children, you may have had a career, hobbies you enjoyed, a fit and healthy lifestyle, and time for your partner and friends. Why give up all of this after having children? You will cease to be yourself any more, but only a mother. Don’t forget, before being a mother, you were a daughter, sister, friend, and wife to someone. This is where the “empty nest” thing comes from. After your children become your whole life, when they leave you are left empty and disappointed.

This comes to another point. Turning your children into your new life projects also calls for disappointments. If you are obsessing over everything they do, firstly it is difficult to give them space as they grow up. Second, all this does is increase the parents’ expectations. It is natural to have expectations from anyone or anything you invest this much time and money in, and if they are your entire world, and almost seem like a part of yourself, the greater expectations you have. Another major issue in India as engineering, MBA and doctors are rolling out of colleges like a free vending machine.

Balance is the key to life, and there is nothing selfish in going back to work despite being a mother. Do invest time in your children, after all, you are the one to guide them in life and shape their character. However, teach them how to be independent from a young age. Teach them that the world doesn’t revolve around them, and sometimes they don’t get what they want. Teach them that it’s okay to be alone; this will make them self-sufficient and more confident in the future. They will not turn to others only for the sake of keeping themselves busy, but they will make real friends. Let them grow up, let them become independent, and most importantly, realize that they are individual people too. They will have their own personalities, life plans and choices. Give them sunshine, but give them rain too, that is the only way they will flourish.

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