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Avoiding the Helicopter Parenting Trap

by James Tang (906 views)
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How much love and protection for your child is too much? Does brooding over your child’s safety as they grow up, make you too much of an overprotective parent? Today, we’ll take a look at how not to become a ‘helicopter parent’ and ultimately ensure your kids grow up under a healthy amount of supervision. The first thing to know is what defines a helicopter parent. Back in 1969 when Dr. Haim Ginott first coined the term ‘helicopter parent’, he defined it as parents who would hover over their kids like a helicopter, being overly focused on their children and taking far too much responsibility for their experiences, successes, and failures.

This is very different from caring for a child as helicopter parenting involves over controlling and overprotecting a child in such a way it actually impedes their development in their childhood. Although helicopter parenting can be identified much easier when the child is in high school or college, you can identify a helicopter parent from their actions. Most of these include calling up teachers about their child’s poor grades even at a college level, arranging classes for their child and even providing assistance in their child’s homework.

Changing Parenting Style

Everyone who is a parent will understand just how hard it is to release the reigns as your child grows up but the sooner you realize that giving up control over your kids will help them to grow and mature, the easier it will be for both you and your kids. The first thing you can change is by changing your parenting style. Instead of constantly hovering around your child, opt instead to stay close to them and out of sight, offering them assistance only when they are in serious danger. Now the term “serious danger” can be a little bit of a gray area but having trouble with their homework or running out of pocket money doesn’t qualify as “serious danger”. Allow them to solve their problems independently instead of running to you at the slightest sign of trouble.

Give Them Independence

Following that, you want to start tasking them with things to do on their own. This ranges from allowing them to walk to and fro from school to back home, letting them explore the neighborhood and playing at the playground and helping out with housework. Even the little things like letting them pick out what to wear can be a form of independence and they will have to learn that sooner or later, they will have to start doing these things on their own.

Let Them Voice Their Opinions

The thing about being a helicopter parent is that most of the times, you get to control what your child thinks and opines. But that’s not always the case and you’ll have to realize that your child has his or her own thinking, no matter how flawed their views are. Instead of telling them straight up that they are wrong, let them voice out their own opinions and experience the consequences of their actions. Not only will they learn better, but they will remember it for life since the mistake was their own.