Stuti: Justified and beneficial
Life360 — it’s an understatement to say I hate this “family networking app.” It allows my parents and brother see where I am at all times; it gives them updates whenever I leave home or school; it shows them how fast I’m driving and the percentage of my phone battery remaining.
I’ve argued with my parents countless times over this app, insisting that there is no need for them to monitor my every movement if they trust me. And each time they say the same thing: “We’re just worried about you.”
As kids, we are constantly living by our parents’ sides, and we lash out at anything that restricts our already limited freedom. But what we don’t understand is that no matter how annoying it may be, strict parenting is not a bad thing. In fact, it can go a long way.
The struggle between parents and kids is a constant conflict with no foreseeable solution. Our parents are always just a little too pushy, a little too opinionated and a little too concerned with what we are doing with our lives.
But the truth is, parents come from a good place. As a kid, I know that no one — not my best friends, not my teachers, not my classmates, no one — cares about me as much as my parents do. Undeniably, there are exceptions regarding how much certain parents care about their children. But living in a sheltered community like Cupertino, most of our parents have not moved to one of the most expensive cities in the United States just tolet us do whatever we want.
Many of our parents, my own being a prime example, have given up a lot to give their kids a better life. My dad grew up in a tiny two bedroom apartment with his family of five. My mom owned just five outfits that she would wear on repeat. Neither of them were downright poor, but they didn’t have even close to what I enjoy today in terms of amenities and daily pleasures, whether it be my own room, a closet full of clothes or even just constant access to snacks. My parents left their family and moved to a foreign country in order to create a better life for their children, and even today, nearly 25 years later, I know they constantly make sacrifices for me.
So when my parents tell me I cannot hang out with my friends because I hung out with them two days ago, or that I cannot go shopping even though I’m done with my work or that I have to do extra studying even though it’s break, I get it.
Our world is dangerous and our community is competitive, so even though it can be frustrating at times, parents are usually strict only because they care and because they worry.
And what’s more, it cannot be ignored that strict parenting can be extremely beneficial. Our parents have decades more experience than us. They have made mistakes and learned from them time and time again. Their restrictions are just ways to help us succeed.
Their pressure about grades pushes us to work a little harder. Their disdain for dating saves us from distractions. Their restrictions on how we spend our free time forces us to focus a little more.
By no means am I saying that overly involved parents are correct in their means, nor am I agreeing with their actions. But what I’m asking everyone to recognize is that parents are humans too. They have an insanely important and stressful job, and they worry and care incessantly.
So when I get the third notification from my mom asking me to “check in” my time of arrival on Life360, I just do it, because I know a little bit of understanding on our part as children can go a very long way.
Ishani: Restrictive and Detrimental
There is no doubt in my mind that the person I am today is a direct reflection of how I’ve been raised. Though throughout my childhood, I’ve baselessly reprimanded my parents for being “helicopter parents,” when in reality they’ve embodied the exact philosophy I advocate so strongly for: freedom. I’m not talking stay out however late you want, eat ice cream for dinner, watch Netflix before homework. I’m talking about giving kids the space to breathe.
I’ve seen so many instances in which parents try to steer the outcome of every aspect of their child’s life: controlling who they are friends with, what classes they take, even what they wear. I know this all comes from a place of concern; it is understandable that parents want the best for their children. But unfortunately, this leads to one of two unfortunate situations. In one scenario, the helicopter parenting works seamlessly and the child acts in complete accordance with what their parents believe is right — and then they graduate.
As they begin building their lives, these children have no idea how to think for themselves without the constant parental advisory they had grown so accustomed to.
The second (more likely) situation is that helicopter parenting plants a seed of defiance in the child. They begin realizing that the only way to get what they want is to either actively condemn their parents or sneak around to get what they want, neither of which leads to a favorable outcome.
Speaking for myself, being given freedom doesn’t make me neglect my responsibilities or act out of line. On the contrary, this very freedom gives me a heavy sense of accountability for my actions. I feel the heavy burden of upholding the trust I have been given by my parents and being someone worthy of said trust.
Though many would disagree, I strongly believe that as we’ve reached the high school age, parents have passed on all the knowledge that they possibly could to their children. It is at this point in our lives that we need to go out and create life experiences, experiences that shape the course of our future. I love to learn from my mistakes, but if I had a parent constantly breathing down my neck, berating my mistakes or actively trying to prevent them, the entire learning experience would be lost.
I’ve seen this occur in the lives of so many of my friends. Friends who refuse to even ask their parents to go to a movie or go out for lunch with friends, afraid of the lecturing and disappointment, anticipating the negative response. Obviously it isn’t my place to influence this person's decisions and turn them against the words of their parents, and I would never cross those boundaries, but it’s definitely a sad thing to witness. Parents who give their children enough space to make mistakes and grow from them are the ones who raise truly successful, self-sufficient members of society.
Above anything, the way parents treat their children can make or break their relationships with them. A parent's reproaching of his or her child may satisfy a short-term need, but in the long-run, all this does is foster a sense of opposition within children and parents. Our parents can make us disciplined machines with such tactics, but to me, nothing compares to the joy of a trusting relationship between parent and child.
I’m definitely not advocating for parents to let their children run rampant, setting fires in streets and staying out all night. I just think helicopter parenting in general is a band-aid solution. Giving our youth a careful degree of freedom is a small remedy with much better long-term results.
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