One of the most common parenting buzz words in recent years is the term helicopter parenting. This refers to parents who hover over their children, micromanaging every single action they take. Instead of teaching their children how to be responsible, they make every decision for them. They challenge teachers and authority figures that come into their lives, questioning why their precious child received a 93 percent when he or she obviously deserved a 100 percent. Children need to learn how to fail so that they can get back up and start over again. Parents need to learn how to walk that tightrope between parenting and smothering their child.
Teacher Perspectives of Helicopter Parenting
Teachers commonly see helicopter parenting in action from parents of their students. The following examples give you an idea of extreme cases of smothering.
- Stifles child’s independence
- Send daily texts and emails
- Make excuses for child’s failure to do homework
- Complains to administration before trying to resolve an issue with the teacher
- Yell at the teacher
- Talk for the child instead allowing the child to speak
- Tell the teacher how to run the classroom
- Constantly on the school campus and similar behaviors.
Teacher Perspectives of Engaged Parenting
On the other hand, here are some examples of engaged parenting:
- Attends conferences, meetings, and scheduled school events
- Reports concerns about students, such as a change in the family situation
- Keeps track of what is happening in the child’s life
- Helps with homework without doing homework for the child
- Gives their children grounding but help them explore so that they are ready to be on their own
How Parents Can Support Children without Smothering Them
Helicopter parenting stunts a child’s personal and emotional growth. One study found that it can even cause them increased anxiety. College students with overly involved parents seem to experience greater anxiety as well along with possible academic challenges.
- Let your child manage his or her communication and relationships
- Teach your child that he or she will be treated the same as others. For example, they will not be shown favoritism in team sports or when it comes to a scholarship opportunity.
- Provide guidance when it comes to schoolwork, but let him or her handle deadlines. Don’t try to help your child escape responsibilities, such as homework deadlines and projects.
- Let your child suffer natural consequences for their choices instead of bailing him or her out of their trouble.
- Keep lines of communication open between you and your child. Listen to their hopes and dreams to encourage them to move forward into their destiny.
- Support your child even when he or she is in trouble. He or she should attend detention and face the music if another adult addresses problematic behavior with him or her. You might need to hire an attorney if your child is in legal trouble. However, your child will likely not escape a legal incident completely unscathed even if they do not face criminal penalties.
- Help your child find solutions to their own problems.
- Encourage respect for teachers and other authority figures and support school staff.
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