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How much it too much?


I’ve always wanted to be the ideal mum (who doesn’t!), juggling a million tasks and duties and yet able to spend time with her child – both in terms of quality and quantity. I strongly believe that education cannot be left to schools alone and so take an active interest in stimulating my child’s intellect and exciting her curiosity in the manner I know best. I also prefer to Children and Independencehandle small parts of her daily routine instead of leaving it to the maid (oh, the omni-present maids of South Mumbai), and most of all, I strongly believe in dropping her to school and picking her up so I can discuss how her day was, what she did, etc. So all in all – you can say that I like to spend as much time with her as possible; and until recently I believed that it was the right thing to do.

But recently I have begun to have my doubts. My daughter has started her new school and while she has settled in well, I am sorry to say that she has not taken to travelling by the school bus as well! She wants mama to drop her off instead. Each day is a struggle as she cries and refuses to climb in. And increasingly, I notice a tendency in her to cling to me when we go out, preferring to stay at my side rather than mingle with other new childern in a new place. By contrast, some of her friends are more independent and settle into new situations quite happily. And I notice that these tend to generally be children whose mothers are not as ‘around’ their children as I am.

Am I generalising or over-analysing here? Or could it really be that children whose parents spend a lot of time with them also lose out on some amount of independence somewhere along the way? I have only ever heard positive things being said about parents who are around their kids a lot, but maybe we need to learn to let go more, be a little less protective, allow them to make their mistakes (yes, even at this early age!)… Finally, how do you strike the right balance between allowing them to develop their own identities and being around to catch them when they fall?

Also Read : My Daughter’s Independence Movement

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Kritika Srinivasan is an Editor at ParentEdge. She has her hands full with an active young child and her writing. She is keenly interested in ways to engage and stimulate children to keep their lively and intelligent minds busy.


4 thoughts on “How much it too much?

  1. Aparna

    Hi Kritika,
    I don’t think once can derive any kind of general conclusions from such incidents. In fact I’ve seen so many cases where kids of mums who are NOT around them a lot, tend to become super-clingy when the moms are around…so I think it varies depending on a lot of factors not the least your child’s unique temperament and personality.
    I don’t think any of us need to feel bad about spending TOO much time with our kids :) having said that, probably it’s just a phase your daughter’s going through where she wants you around all the time. She probably treasures time spent with you as much as you do!
    Finding the right balance is defly tricky! My son used to be very clingy and scared of new situations and people. He still is to some extent; however for the last 2 years I have made concerted efforts to help him adjust to such situations and I see a huge rise in confidence and independence now.

  2. Aparajita Bose

    When I went back to work after a two-year hiatus, my son, somewhere around 2.5 years then, did not take it well. He slowly turned more and more hyperactive and later his academics (yes, even in the kindergarten!) too suffered in some areas because I just didn’t have enough time to even look at his writing etc, leaving it for his school to take care of it entirely! But yes, there was something good too that came out of it. Bold that he always was, he grew even more independent, sometimes too much though for his age.
    Three years later, when I quit my job, and worked on his behavioural issues, he mellowed down slowly earning the appreciation of our neighbours and I wouldn’t have to cringe so often at what he said and did outside home. There was one thing that he lost out on parallely. His sense of insecurity (Mom not being around when he needed her badly at certain moments to share certain thoughts and concerns and anxieties) thankfully reduced, BUT at the expense of the independent spirit and confidence and maturity that he had gained (much beyond his years! – he was growing up too fast) when I was away at work. Of course, it didn’t take a too large dip, for his confidence level came down to only what one expects at his age. He began acting and thinking his age!
    So Kritika, you see, Mom being around till a certain age of the young child helps in many ways, but also certain other things do not develop as fast as one sees in a child who doesn’t have Mom around all the time. But then, does childhood have to be rushed?
    It happened in my son’s case, so I didn’t want it to happen for my daughter. And yes, with her I do get much more protective than required, at times.
    Within 1-2 or 3 years, it all evens out, I think. That’s what I see happening around!

  3. krishnan

    Stop worrying and over analysing. Perhaps your child is just shy. She will learn over time. You did the right and admirable thing in spending time with your child.

  4. Aparajita Bose

    “Take each day as it comes, and do your best.” As “admin” (?) said it, this does help a lot instead of fretting too much often (like I do off and on when my daughter gets shy with ‘Aunties’ and ‘Uncles’ particularly).
    Living in the present is so applicable here!

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