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Not good to cocoon children from real life

Parents want nothing more than the best life for their children.

However, millennial parents are different from parents decades ago, as they are playing more defining roles in their children's lives, with a vested interest in their successes and failures.

We have seen helicopter parenting, where parents swoop down in response to children's needs. This has led to increasing confrontations with teachers, or teachers needing to shut parents out from school compounds (More schools shoot down 'helicopter parenting'; June 26).

Now, we are seeing "drone" parenting, where parents try to control and pre-empt their children's needs. These parents chauffeur their children to and from school and activities, and use technology such as smartphones and social media to monitor them while remaining out of view.

Children do need watchful eyes to keep them safe and on the right path. But there needs to be balance and moderation. Parents should not go overboard and cocoon their children from real life.

Allowing children to be independent, make mistakes and deal with the consequences is important to foster responsibility to help them thrive in the world as adults. Helicopter or drone parenting does not help the child, and addresses only the parents' own goals and fears.

Free-range parenting is probably a useful approach, as this hands-off style gives children freedom and enables them to develop independence, confidence and self-awareness.

However, at the end of the day, there is no right or wrong way of parenting because every child is different and may benefit more from one approach over another or a mix of approaches. The parenting technique used must be the one that suits the family best.

Francis Cheng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 02, 2017, with the headline 'Not good to cocoon children from real life '. Print Edition | Subscribe