Bad parenting with good intentions?

Dear Coming Through The Rye Staff,

Hello there. I am seeking help. I am a 14 year old teenager, and something quite catastrophic happened recently. Basically, I organized a timetable for my work, and my parents insisted that now is the time for them to check my work and give their opinion before GCSE (General Certificate of Secondary Education). I completely rebelled by arguing that they cannot enforce rules upon me when they know I am always on top of my work all the time and working hard. Furthermore, I feel violated when I hand the work in as if it is somebody else’s work. Hence, it is not a true representation of my ability. My dad says that if I do not accept the advice he will look for a state school for me to go to. Currently, I am fortunate enough to be in a private school. This topic really hurts me. Any and all advice is appreciated.

Sincerely,

Stephen


Dear Stephen,

Thank you for writing to us here at Coming Through The Rye. From what you’ve written us to how you write, I can tell that you’re an intelligent and hardworking student. When I was your age, I was struggling in school due to a severe video game addiction (seriously). Furthermore, I certainly didn’t have a timetable as you do or the writing skills you’ve acquired. And with your self-reflection skills and analytical abilities, you’re clearly wise beyond your years.

I have parents who are just like yours. My parents had me take instrument lessons, language lessons, summer classes, etc. So, when I say, “I know where you’re coming from”… I really do mean it. Now I know you’re intelligent and hardworking (and trust me when I say that you’re on the path to becoming a wonderful young man), but there exist lessons for which no book can teach you.  You’ve probably heard this before, but it deserves repeating. “Parents want nothing but the best for their children.”  This is one lesson that will take many years to learn and then, to internalize. Often, parents do or say something that doesn’t quite make sense… either to their own children or even to other adults. However, what matters and what is important to remember is that these parents, as well as your parents, they have good intentions. Don’t forget that, never forget that. The moment you start to forget is the moment the downward spiral begins – when the resentment forms and builds and second chances and forgiveness fades.

However, helicopter parenting (and threatening one’s child)? Well, that’s just bad parenting. Naturally, this raises the question, “What is good parenting?” Although a very interesting topic, at the moment, it is neither here nor there. There are many negatives or cons to helicopter parenting.  As plenty of research has shown, young adults who were helicopter parented are anxious, insecure, and incapable of coping with the demands of life.  So, despite the good intentions, helicopter parenting backfires and is actually counterproductive.

As for what you should do… well, it’s difficult to say. If your parents are anything like mine, they will always think that they’re right. What I think you should do is start a serious discussion with your parents (depending on the severity of the issue). However, don’t just wing it. Before you do, grab a pen and paper and gather evidence. Write down different examples that showcase how independent you are. For example, if you have a part-job babysitting or if you do chores around the house without being asked, write these down. Also google the research done on helicopter parenting. When you start the discussion, thank them for everything that they’ve done for you and tell them how much you appreciate it. Appeal to their emotions. Then bring these examples of independency up with your parents. They’ll see your reasoning and perhaps, stop helicopter parenting. Maybe after, tell them about the research on helicopter parenting. After that, tell them how you feel when they helicopter parent. And finally, reassure them that you’re not trying to cut them out entirely. Tell them you’ll always welcome their opinions, comments, or concerns. That’s all I can think of right now. Good luck Stephen.

I encourage you to add more to this dialogue.

Catching those before they fall and helping those who have fallen back up,

RedHuntingHats

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