Way too over­pro­tec­tive

> Par­ents who keep a tight rein on their chil­dren need to take a step back and give them some breath­ing space

The Sun (Malaysia) - - FAMILY TIES -

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.

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