Helicopter parent –
a parent who takes an overprotective or excessive interest in the life of their child or children.
Constantly hovering over children while they study, work, and do sports, etc. has been shown to “increase anxiety, depression and can lead to academic difficulties” (Psychology Today).
Effective parenting, is, in fact, nurturing your child to become independent!
Psychology Today offers these guidelines (abbreviated):
-Listen to your child, rather than imposing your goals and wishes on him or her. Listening to your child encourages independent thought and critical thinking. It helps you avoid a common downfall of helicopter parents: imposing your values on your child.
-Don’t manage your child’s relationships or communications for him or her.
-Don’t try to help your child escape consequences for his or her actions, unless you believe those consequences are unfair or life-altering. It’s fine to hire your child a lawyer if he or she is in legal trouble, or to intervene with a bullying teacher. But don’t try to get your kid out of detention or berate another parent who talks to your child about problematic behavior.
-Don’t raise your child to expect treatment that is different from, or better than, the treatment other children receive. Your child shouldn’t expect to get something they don’t deserve or didn’t earn.
-Encourage your children to solve their own problems by asking them to contemplate potential solutions.
-Don’t do your child’s work for them, or keep track of deadlines for them. Even school-aged children can learn to remember test dates and classroom projects. By middle school, your child should be managing their schoolwork largely on their own, with only as-needed help.
-Support your child’s teacher, and encourage your child to respect the teacher’s opinions.
-Allow your child to face natural consequences for their actions. Don’t allow a child to stay home sick just because she or he didn’t timely complete a school project.
*Eric Hoffer was a great American thinker and he never actually said anything about helicoptering parenting. It just rhymes nicely.
No longer mine – can’t carry you anymore,
you’ll stumble, fall and eventually – soar,
As your path widens and grows long,
I realize how I was so very wrong
You take your steps while I watch
Your self-determination can be dreadful
yet entirely convincing
It’s fast becoming apparent
that your flubs and whims aren’t errant
You don’t own reasons for my heart breakin’
for I never “owned” you, in that, I was mistaken
Animals and Zen masters are the most peaceful living creatures. They don’t judge.
I’ve noticed that I’m a lot more judgmental than I’d like to be. And this tendency is a formidable block to inner peace.
I’m on a self-imposed challenge: stop judging people. First, I must be aware of when I judge. It’s strongest when I’m driving. Wow! Do I have very negative thoughts! The good news is that it’s completely impersonal. I don’t know these people. But still…
Will you join me? Next time you’re in the company of one or more other people, notice your thoughts. Are you judging? Be aware. And then let it go. Don’t try to fight it. Just let it go. Just say to yourself, isn’t that interesting? My mind is judging.
As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him.
When you change, your world will change.
One day, a mother took her four year old and five year old daughters to their Montessori preschool. She apologized to the teacher for being late, and explained that it took some time to get her kids dressed.
“Why don’t you let them dress themselves?” The teacher asked.
“They’d look like disasters! Nothing would match.”
The mother thought about it. She decided to let them dress themselves. Thegirls wore odd things: sweaters with light pants, short-sleeved shirts with boots…but eventually, each daughter forged her own style. The girls laughed loudly, and they walked proudly. It was clear that each girl was her own person.
It was challenging for the mom. She wanted to help them so many times. “Relax.They’re doing great!” The father said.
As the girls grew, their mother made mistakes. She got some things right, but she learned that “letting go” was her biggest challenge. She noticed that they learned lessons most effectively through mistakes: forgetting an instrument at home and having points deducted at school taught them to plan the night before. When they didn’t eat well, they felt sick and chose to eat better next time.
Everyone – the father, the mother and the kids – are still learning. And it’s all good.