Parents with children of all ages have had an eventful year. Breastfeeding, mommy-shaming, and helicopter parenting have been some of the biggest issues with the strongest potential for division. While I advocate breastfeeding and believe bullying in all forms is abhorrent behavior, I want to focus on the dangers of helicopter parenting.
Helicopter Parenting Defined
Dr. Haim Ginott coined the term in his book ‘Parents & Teenagers” in 1969 so it is hardly a new concept. However, today’s helicopter parent is likely not quite what he had in mind. Traditionally the term was used to describe parents who micromanage their teens and young adults. Recently the practice has been extended to children of all ages. Perhaps this is because of the explosion of violence in our modern world, but helicopter parenting has become a dangerous and suffocating practice.
Outcomes Of Helicopter Parenting
Giving parents the benefit of the doubt that they really do not intend their children harm, the outcomes of helicopter parenting cannot be ignored. Children who receive this parenting style often suffer with lower self-esteem, a lack of confidence in their own abilities, anxiety, entitlement, poor coping skills, and children who do not know how to do things on their own. The irony is many parents are trying to avoid these very things as they attend to their child’s every need.
How To Avoid The Hover
The number one rule to avoid helicopter parenting is let your kids experience…everything! Pain, stress, disappointment, sadness, worry, and things like washing the dishes or picking their own book from the library all help children grow. If they experience a negative emotion of choose the wrong reading material, then teach them how to process, learn, and grow from the experience. Self-reliance and self-awareness are two of the biggest gifts you can give your child especially in the face of an increasingly unstable world. Adults who thrive are ones who have learned how to experience life in all the ways life can be experienced.
If your child has reached say the fifth grade and you’re still picking out their clothes, friends, and activities you might be hovering dangerously close to helicopter parenting. If you are choosing your teenagers’ school schedules and calling their boss and teachers then it is definitely time for you to land and let them figure these things out on their own. And, if you’re are doing anything but trusting your young adult to make and learn from mistakes by the time they reach college then you definitely need to hang up your pilot’s license.