It is that time of the year again. Manipal is swarmed with a very characteristic species of people – parents. For the thousands of boys and girls getting admitted to various courses in various colleges, counselling followed by commencement of classes sees thousands of parents accompanying their children, spending a day or two, sometimes more, and return back after ‘settling’ their kids. Increasing number of parents during this season is a testimony to the love, care, worry and all those feelings which come in the package of parenting. But another question looms large – is this practice tantamount to ‘spoon feeding’? Is this practice getting perceived increasing dependence?
Certainly admissions are stressful affairs for parents and students alike. Emotional stress regarding leaving home, going to a far off place usually, staying for the first time in a hostel, getting exposed to all good and bad elements present in any educational set up and a host of other factors. There is financial stress, assuming for a considerable chunk, given the exorbitant admission costs, boarding costs, costs of books and notebooks and so on and so forth. Amidst all this stress, ranks highest the concern of parents about how their children will fare, academically, socially and above all as a human being.
Thus the concerned mother wishes to see the hostel room. Thus the concerned father wishes to talk to the teachers. The concerned brother wishes to see the locality and its safety. The concerned uncle wishes to see the quality of food provided. All said and done people most of the times tend to overdo all of these. The protectiveness and possessiveness of parents sometimes spills over. One might argue there is no harm in it or that it is for the good, but what it is leading to is producing cry babies a good number of times.
Letting go or giving independence are very profound concepts. And it does not come easily. But once the occasion for it arrives it has to be done and it should be done amicably. It can be safely assumed that boys and girls who come to Manipal are all beyond 18 years of age. Hence the question, are parents justified in accompanying young adults in every step of their admission? Should they be staying for a week to help their kid acclimatise? Are parents justified in making sure to provide homely comforts in a hostel or college?
One can observe two sets of parents, ones who accompany yet allow and make sure that their children do all the running around, find things for themselves, fill out forms themselves, buy goods from market themselves and in the process guide themselves to independence. Another large chunk of parents are seen to be filling forms themselves, doing all the shopping themselves and providing say packaged food that will last six months (yes believe me it happens), viewing all hostel rooms just to check if one is little larger than the rest, and in the process sometimes embarrassing their children and fostering their dependence. And then there are parents who owing to work, lack of leaves, financial constraints, cannot accompany their children to Manipal.
There is no perfect parenting technique, but which of the above sounds better?
The article appeared in ManipalBlog.com (http://manipalblog.com/2012/07/should-parents-accompany-their-children/)