We have all learned about the importance of setting limits when raising and educating our children. From the moment our kids turn into toddlers, everyone from the pediatrician to our grandmothers advises us about the limits that should be established at home in order for our kids to grow happy and healthy. Different experts talk about how setting limits contribute to their development as they show how parents are there to guide and protect them. There are limits described according to each develpmental stage in terms of nutrition, use of technology, play time, schedules for eating and sleeping amongst many others.
But how about setting limits for the parents? Why doesn’t anybody talk to us about that?
Nowadays, being a parent means being over involved with our kids. Even before pregnancy, the race and pressure to look for the best opportunities for their future begins. This race starts with early stimulation classes for babies, preschool and sports in infancy, tutoring and extracurricular activities from elementary to high school and a nonstop push to participate in any activity believed to add a competitive edge to their future. At home, help is provided for projects and homework with excessive resources to be prompt for success. Parents direct their own lives to their children’s needs and everything is fixated on achieving success.
This is the culture we live in today. A culture where we left “helicopter parents’ behind to make way to the “snowplow parents”.
Snowplow parents is a term that refers to parents that, in the name of helping their kids, remove all obstacles from their way. Their focus is on the future and in accomplishments and anyone or anything that is in the way of this objective is removed from their course.
Professional prosperity and the image of a happy independent child is the desired outcome. They visualize a future where kids are accepted to top raking universities from which they graduate with honors to be recruited to very important job positions. It is believed, that by removing all obstacles, they are making life easier for their kids.
However, this practice commonly produces the opposite result;
Confused and unmotivated adolescents that can’t find their way on their own.
Totally dependent young adults.
Young people disconnected from purpose and unsatisfied with their lives.
Complete generations of adults accustomed to having parents solve their problems and incapable of making their own decisions.
Sons and daughters with little resources to make their own way in life.
This is why it is so important to talk about setting limits for parents. It is important we realize that the more we do for our children, the more we are interfering with the development of important life skills like resilience and drive. Independence in our kids begins from a very young age. It is crucial that parents foster this independence by relinquishing control over how things should be done.
Setting limits for parents involves less intervening in their problems and guidance that allows them to find their own solution. It means letting them fall and fail so that they can learn from their mistakes. It requires letting them have control of their lives to explore and to find their own way.
Setting limits for parents means trusting that our kids will find their own path and that we are only here to guide them along along the way.