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What is Sherpa parenting and how can it affect your child?

sherpa parenting style Representative image (Source: Getty Images)

Developmental psychologist Diana Baumrind identified three distinct parenting styles, namely authoritative, authoritarian and permissive, in the 1960s.

Over the years, a lot of parenting styles have emerged. Some parents have relied on taking control through snowplow or helicopter parenting. Some of the others have tried their hands at sharing responsibilities with their partner to look after the child or what is known as tag-team parenting.

The latest parenting trend to have caught the attention of people is called Sherpa parenting, which takes its name from the Himalayan sherpas, people from Nepal and Tibet, who are guiding climbers and ferry loads up the mountains.

Sherpa parenting style is used to define a parent doing more for kids, things that they can do themselves.

According to Dr Justin Coulson, Australian parenting expert, while some Sherpa parents may feel they are helping kids, it actually affects the child’s development.Also Read: Are you an authoritative parent? Here’s why it is good for your child

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“Children have an innate desire to succeed and to be ‘masters of their universe’ and they have an innate desire to speak and act for themselves. Parents who won’t allow their kids those opportunities are getting in the way of their kids’ growth,” Dr Coulson was quoted by Daily Mail.

Children, on the other hand, need to be taught to be resilient and cultivate the ability to meet challenges, said the parenting expert. “Science tells us when we do things for our children that they can do for themselves in a developmentally appropriate way, we weaken their capacity and we teach them to look elsewhere. The uglier side of this is we can breed a sense of entitlement and a belief that the world owes them an easy pathway forward,” he added.

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Again, in case of Sherpa parenting, if a child is unable to do something, they tend to blame the parent, which means they are not taught to be responsible for their own actions. “We should aim to walk beside them, and if they fall, we will be there to help and support them and to say to them ‘Lean on me for a moment, I’ve got you’,” Dr Coulson said.

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