Restrictions in childhood – necessary?

Restrictions are always used in upbringing children in their early ages. For sure parents wish all the best in this world for their children, so they try to restrict them from bad things and occupy children with love and care. From my observations, some people use restrictions very often, others do not use them at all. I consider it might be either cultural, ethnical, traditional family peculiarities or personal preference issues which regulate parents’ attitude to restrictions. We can observe several restrictions which parents use in upbringing their children more frequently. Many websites of psychological councils recommend parents to limit, for example, watching TV and Internet, food intake, pocket money issues. However, there are other forms of restrictions which are directed to control children’s behaviour, some sport activities and even creativity.

Why do people use them? I suppose, the first reason is to protect children from immediate danger like falling from a tree or any other physical damages, the second one is to secure them from long-term consequences of the potential psychological danger, the ones they might experience and behave wrongly in their adult life.

However, not every parent thinks about the consequences of many restrictions and precautions in childhood which can reflect to child’s further development at school. Being restricted and limited from expressing himself/herself in childhood, children become shy and unconfident in their actions at school, for instance, while performing in debates and discussions. Of course, there exist natural personality which might be the reason for child’s being shy and introvert. This shyness might disappear if child finds his favorite hobby or activity connected to performing in public. But, if not? If he/she is unable to cope with this problem himself, will parents let him stay silent? I hope they will not.

I suppose if everybody thinks about the level of restrictions which he/she has experienced in childhood, it might be helpful to discover possible answers for performing successfully or unsuccessfully in study.

 

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8 thoughts on “Restrictions in childhood – necessary?

  1. Intriguing post, Assel. (4.5/5) This topic is definitely a cultural difference and one that I have noticed in our dormitory. It seems that many parents don’t tell their young children not to make a mess, or run around yelling, or write on the walls. This hands-off approach has always seemed to me to be a lack of parental involvement and detrimental to the children’s overall development into learning the rules of society. Your post highlights another side that I had never thought about.

    Two suggestions I would add:
    1) Add details, examples and outside sources to add depth to your discussion. If “many websites of psychological councils” exist, make them into links, or add references to give us some examples.
    2) Then, check for proofreading. I see a couple issues with articles, comma splices, and word choice, like in this example:
    I suppose, ___ first reason is to protect children from immediate danger like falling from ___ tree or any other physical damage___ ___ second one is to secure them from long-term consequences of the potential psychological danger, the ones they might face in their ________ and behave wrongly.

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    1. Thank you for your comment, Philip. In fact, I aimed to elicit different opinions about the necessity of restrictions in childhood. Since parents’ upbringing methods are diverse in their nature. Some of them put too many restrictions, others do not prohibit anything at all. There is a popular Kazakh saying for parents originated in ancient times: “You should treat your child as a king until he/she is five, you should treat him as a slave until he/she is fifteen, then you should treat him as a friend”. We can see that Kazakh parents tried to separate child development periods and treat children according to these periods. As I understand they saw a special importance of not prohibiting and restricting much in early childhood in order to encourage child development without fair of expressing himself/herself. However, time and people have changed since then. Some parents might ignore this saying and its upbringing method, others might overuse it and spoil their children.

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      1. That is so interesting, and explains so much! I love the idea of treating children appropriately for their age group, especially as an adult child that has a healthy “friend” relationship with his parents. I do think that the transition from king to slave would be a difficult one for a 5-year-old who thought the world revolved around him/her. Kings can be very self-centered, and slaves can be demoralized. I imagine the parents who are changing this tradition are finding some middle ground between those two extremes.

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      2. Yes. Using words ‘a king’ and ‘a slave’ sound too harsh in parenting. I think our ancestors purposefully exaggerated these two notions to show the importance of the upbringing in a right time of the child development. As I understand, a child is supposed to be a ‘king’ with minor restrictions and a ‘slave’ with learning to help around the house as well as all necessary skills for survival in adult life. As my mother always repeated in my teenage years: “If you help me (around the house, cooking, etc.) it is good for me and learning how to do it all – is useful for you.” I did not feel myself being a ‘slave’, I was glad I was helpful. At the same time I had time to prepare for classes at school and play with my friends. I think it depends on parents’ own understanding and involvement. That is why I see that my parents successfully found ‘the middle ground’ you have mentioned. Thank you for your thoughts. I really appreciate your interest.

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  2. Thank you, Assel, for this thought-provoking post. I think parents and educators have to be very careful about imposing restrictions so as not to hinder a child’s natural course of development. You mention that excessive restrictions might make a child shy and introverted. But what about the children who are by their own nature introvert? It seems to me that our culture prizes extroverts and perceive being introverted as a disadvantage or impediment.

    I have often seen how this belief drives parents and teachers to try to force children into extroversion by making them participate in public events, interact with large groups of people, and constantly express themselves. Most of them see these as efforts to liberate the children, and make them happier and more successful in life, but in fact they only restrict the poor children’s natural development and may even cause trauma.

    Susan Cain claims in her 2012 book that 33-55% of Americans are introverts, and this is in a famously extroverted culture. This number is probably even higher in our country. I believe that we should re-think some of our teaching methodology and give more consideration to the innate personality traits of the children before forcing them to participate in hyper-social activities.

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    1. Thank you for your engaging comments, Chsherbakov. I see your point of discouraging introvert children in families and educational establishments. Unfortunately, it often appears that these houses of upbringing might not seek for the reason of this closeness, but they would rather push child to do the activity he/she hates again and again. Certainly, the methods of treating these children should be improved in our society since it would be a great loss in developing individual psychology with such enormous technologies of XXI century.

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  3. Dear Assel, thank you for sharing your thoughts on the consequences and causes of restrictions in childhood. I completely agree with your point of view and would like to add that being constantly controlled by overprotective or overbearing parents, children cannot learn how to make decisions. This results in the formation of a personality who seeks for help from the others whenever he or she should decide something, even with trivial matters. As a consequence, those children turn into the “adult puppets” without their own will or voice, ready to follow someone else’s opinion. On the other hand, letting children to do whatever they want expecting them to take sold decisions in not an option. So, I think it is of crucial importance to find the middle ground between being too strict and overindulging the child with too much freedom.

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    1. Ariya, thank you for your bright comments. I liked the statement of a neutral position in the restrictions toward child development. Since child behavior is also influenced by the environment around when he/she is out of the home control. Do you think social environment in Kazakhstan somehow control freedom of child expression?

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