One look at the things people are posting on kiasuparents.com’s forum, and it’s clear that helicopter parenting is alive and well in Singapore.
It’s gotten so bad that schools are starting to speak up and denounce this overly-involved parenting style, which has parents hovering over their children nonstop, doing everything for them, from showing up at school to bring items they’ve forgotten to hiring tutors to do their homework. Here are three reasons helicopter parenting can have a heavy cost for both parents and their children:
All those classes can get expensive
Many children in Singapore live heavily scheduled lives that leave little room for relaxation or spontaneity. Other than the pressures of school, CCAs, remedial lessons and homework, tuition takes up a huge chunk of time, with 7 in 10 parents sending their kids for tuition according to a 2015 poll. Half of these parents spend over $500 a month on tuition, with 1% spending up to a ridiculous $3,000 month.
But the kiasu-est parents know that tuition isn’t enough. They want their kids to get a head start in life, and so end up enrolling them in all manner of after-school enrichment classes, which can range from the usual piano, violin and ballet, to coding and mixed martial arts. These can cost hundreds of dollars a month.
Children become more dependent and less resilient
Dutiful Singaporean parents often think that their main responsibility in life is to ensure their kid gets a good education, graduates with a useful university degree and goes on to earn a decent amount of money.
To this end, they are willing to do anything to ensure their kid gets good grades at school—even if that means waiting on him hand and foot and bribing him with toys/gadgets in exchange for grades. And these parents will do anything to ensure nothing stands in their kids’ way—like that parent who sued the school for confiscating his kid’s phone for three months, lol.
But raising children in this way makes them grow into spoiled, entitled adults who can’t stand failure and don’t have the resilience to depend on themselves emotionally or otherwise.
Kids need to learn to bounce back after failure, and helicopter parents aren’t letting that happen by wanting to ensure they never get to fail in the first place. And having mum and dad do everything short of sitting for the kid’s exams breeds dependence and weakness of character.
Kids grow up to be less well-rounded and have poorer social skills
In overscheduling their kids and controlling their every move, helicopter parents are ignoring the fact that unstructured play, alone and with other children, is important in promoting child development and helping children build social and psycho-motor skills.
In that sense, helicopter parents could be sabotaging their kids’ future, financial or otherwise. That degree may get the kid an office job, but without social skills, a personality or self-awareness, how far can it take him?
You can’t ban your kid from dating for 25 years and then turn around and ask him why he hasn’t found anyone to marry when he turns 26. That’s not how it works. Nor can you force your kid to spend every waking moment in tuition and enrichment classes, and then turn around and ask him when he’s an adult how come he never built Facebook when he was at university.
Kids need a certain amount of space and independence to figure out how to interact with others, explore what they’re interested in (not what they’ve been forcibly enrolled in) and figure out who they are. Without that space, it’s going to be hard for them to develop into truly exceptional adults.
What do you think of the helicopter parenting approach? Share your views in the comments!