Way too overprotective
> Parents who keep a tight rein on their children need to take a step back and give them some breathing space
HOW does an overprotective parent behave? Here are three kinds of parents who tend to put a lot of restrictions on their children. Are you one of them?
The diet Nazi The birthday boy says to his friend: “Here, Angel, have some cake.”
“I can’t. I’m allergic to eggs,” Angel says.
“How about some peanut candy?” “I’m allergic to peanuts.” “What about nuggets and sausages?”
“I’m not allowed to eat processed food, only natural and organic food.”
If you are like Angel’s mum who control her child’s diet strictly and not even allowing her the occasional treats at parties, then you are a diet Nazi.
Perhaps you carry a hand sanitiser and make your children sanitise their hands after touching any public surface. If your precious darlings take a tumble, you fuss over their bruises.
Allow me to direct you to the guidelines from the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.
It says that high-risk allergens like peanuts, eggs, and fish can be safely added to your baby’s diet between the ages of four and six months as ‘complementary foods’.
Not only is this exposure safe for children, the Academy says it may even help prevent dangerous food allergies from developing.
So let your child have a taste of such foods at home. If there is an allergy, the reaction will be immediate and you can promptly seek medical attention.
The germophobe You declare war on germs. They are Public Enemy No.1. You must wipe everything before it is handled by your children.
Relax. A little dirt won’t kill your children. If they pick up some pebbles in the playground or get down on their knees at the park, they’re not going to drop dead.
Not convinced? Then listen to these experts.
Thom McDade, an associate professor and director of the Laboratory for Human Biology Research at Northwestern University, says: “Just as a baby’s brain needs stimulation, input, and interaction to develop normally, the young immune system is strengthened by exposure to everyday germs so that it can learn, adapt, and regulate itself.
“I’d like to see a recalibration towards common sense. You don’t have to wash or sanitise everything.”
There you have it! Let common sense guide you. Don’t sanitise your children’s hands as a matter of routine.
Of course, don’t go the other extreme of not practising good hygiene either. Strike a sensible balance.
The mollycoddler Your son hasn’t completed his homework. He doesn’t want to go to school the next day, as he is afraid his teacher will punish him. So, you finish it for him.
Stop doing that. You should allow your children to make their own mistakes and learn from them.
Don’t shield them from the consequences of bad behaviour. If they don’t complete their homework, they have to face the music with their teacher.
Keep your hands off your kid’s homework. You can explain things to him if he’s unclear on some concepts but let him do his own homework.
If you are tempted to interfere, remind yourself that he is the student, not you.
Lydia Teh is a mother of four and author of nine books, including the latest, Cow Sense for Young People. Send comments to lifestyle.lydia@ thesundaily.com.