Raising a child in the 21st Century is scary! There are so many threats to your adolescent that you worry about what they are up to in their bedroom, let alone when they are out with their friends.
The world is so different than when we grew up - young people nowadays have different expectations about life and use so much technology. It’s no wonder we feel overwhelmed at times. Even things that were simple have become more complicated, including issues like gender identity or sex. It’s also hard to know where to start with technology, because every time you feel you have a grip on what your child is into, they talk about something else you’ve never heard of.
Life as a parent can be overwhelming!
The Parent’s Guide to the Modern World gives you answers to the worries you haven’t even realised you have ! It starts with a section on how your child’s brain develops and explains why their personality changes so much during puberty and it even helps you to structure any difficult conversations you need to have with your teen or soon-to-be teen.
The book then goes through over thirty different aspects of the modern world, telling you about the risks associated with each, plus the dos and don’ts for you as parents. Following this, part three focuses on the predictions for the world your child will be an adult in, helping you to understand the things you can do now to give them the best chances in life. Finally, the book contains a handy glossary of terms your young person might be using.
Worried about how to help your child understand these risks? Why not buy them the sister book The Young Person’s Guide to the Modern World ?
Richard Daniel Curtis, The Kid Calmer and author of The Parent’s Guide to the Modern World, is an internationally renowned behaviour expert and futurist, passionate about helping people understand mindset and psychology. A former teacher, and mental health support worker, Richard is known for his impact with turning round some of the most extreme behaviours and is consulted about adults and children around the globe, even having two assessments named after him. He has founded The Root of It -an organisation of qualified professionals available to support schools and individuals with behavioural difficulties- for which he was awarded the Gold Scoot Headline Award in 2015 and Best New Business in 2014. Most recently he launched The Mentoring School to train the psychology related to mentoring people of all ages. For his work and expertise he has been interviewed for the BBC,ITV and Sky News TV and various international print media and radio. His previous titles include: 101 Tips for Parents, 101 More Tips for Parents and 101 Behaviour Tips for Parents (2014) and Gratitude at Home (2016).
To mark the launch of The Parent’s Guide to the Modern World, Richard has provided an exclusive guest post for my blog today, focusing on how to keep your children safe without appearing overprotective.
Helicopter parenting is when a parent or carer ‘hovers’ over a child, so they are within close proximity when something happens. It’s an easy trap to fall into, we want to protect our children and look out for them, we don't want anything to happen to them. However, this can have long term implications for them.
Social development can be affected as if a parent resolves all disputes before a child has had an opportunity to resolve it themselves, that learning process hasn't happened. Over time this can create a reliance on the parent to resolve all of their social problems, or even worse struggle to maintain friendships, as the social learning about falling out and making up doesn’t happen.
Self-esteem and anxiety levels can be affected by helicopter parenting too. If a child is reliant on their parent protecting them all of the time, then as they grow older they realise they don't have the skills themselves, they become insecure in their skills. This lowers their self-esteem as the brain thinks that they must be stupid as they need their parent to do things for them and to keep them safe. This is further backed up by their social failure when their parent isn't around and so it becomes a vicious cycle. Anxiety can then increase as they become more wary of their lack of skills and so they then become more dependent on the parent.
It’s possible to then get so caught up in protecting your child that even your internet settings get affected. There are many parents out there locking down and restricting their child’s internet use. This is great up to a point, but let’s look at what happens long term if it remains that way. Their child is now approaching adulthood and so gets access unrestricted internet. Unfortunately, they now do not have the skills or experience to recognise virus or hack ridden websites or know the places to avoid. It’s far better for them to have experienced some of that along the way than it is to have had tight limitations on their internet.
It’s not even as if it’s that simple, even when parents put a blocker app on a phone or the internet, savvy kids are just Googling the ways to avoid it. One big risk here is that they start to use the Dark Web to get round it. This is the part of the internet where paedophilia, drugs, porn, illegal downloads, weapons are all rife – and it’s very easy to access, you just install a programme on your computer to access it. That programme tells the computer to connect through a daisy chain of other computers around the world (and this daisy chain is different every time, so you can’t just block access).
The reality is that you won’t be able to keep your growing child safe and protected from all of these nasties, so the key piece of advice I give parents is to never close the door on your relationship with your child. Help them to see you as a partner in the big bad scary world, rather than an adversary trying to curtail their fun or restrict their use of technology. Help them to learn the reason for limiting screen time and be a role model yourself.
As we’ve already seen, being the big bad parent controlling every aspect of their life is not going to win you any prizes and also sets them up for failure in the future. In the modern world, it is a lot better to be that non-judgemental ear to turn to (or shoulder to cry on) when it comes to their lives. Explain to them the reasons for things and be transparent in your decision making process – boundaries are important for teenagers going through puberty, but it doesn’t need to be World War 3!
If you as a parent are worried about whether you are helicopter parenting or not, every time you want to intervene stop and ask yourself "what will help my child in the future?”