Are you a Helicopter Parent?
Are you a Helicopter Parent?
I had a chat with a mom the other day and she confessed that she was a helicopter parent and her goal this summer was to let go a bit more and work on it.
A helicopter parent is one who does everything for their children, can be obsessive and tend to “hover” over their children.
Here is a fun slideshow quiz from Education.com with the top ten tell tale signs you are a helicopter parent
At first there was no way I could be a helicopter parent since I am pretty laid back (sometimes to a fault) in my parenting style, but on closer inspection I realized I was doing things for my almost 4 and 6 year old that they could do themselves. My 3 year old still demands that I carry him down the stairs even though most the time I have the baby in my other arm. I know he can go down the stairs but to avoid a fight I just give in and take him. I realized I was still picking the boys outfits and bringing them to them – all things they are very capable doing. I noticed that I was being a referee to the boys instead of letting them sort things out and I am very guilty of over packing our bag every time we go out.
So I decided for the next week I would stop every time I was about to do something that is considered hovering, take a step back and see how the situation would unfold if I didn’t get involved.
Let’s just say it was an interesting experiment. On day 1 the boys had popsicles for breakfast and when my oldest was asked to get dressed for his brother’s soccer game he came downstairs wearing long sleeve Spiderman pajamas. I mentioned to him that he may be too warm, but I did not make him change. He loved being out in his pj’s. When we were at soccer he went to play with his friends (kids who I have never met and who were playing two soccer fields over from where we were.) I kept a distance but still knew where he was and the smile on his face as we were leaving was incredible.
The rest of the week included disappointment when Mommy didn’t pack the normal snacks and the kids were “starving”. There were a lot of dirty plates and bowls left on tables since Mommy didn’t automatically clean everything up. I started to wonder if I had ever asked the boys to do these little tasks or if I just do them because I do.
My three year old has decided that he likes to sleep nude, which has means less laundry for me and when he wasn't nude he was wearing his soccer uniform. The one year old is the one who really tests my hovering as he thinks he can do everything the other two can was eating full grapes, playing in the front yard with the boys, climbing anythin and we have completely removed the baby gate from the stairs.
There was some bruises as mommy wasn’t stopping the arguments, there were some new skills learnt like how to cross the road properly and the boys can now do it alone to see friends if they do it safely every time. The boys learnt how to sort and fold (kind of) their clothes.
It has actually inspired me to see what else these kids can do. Here are some suggestions on how to stop (or at least slow down) the hovering
Wait! They say to count to ten when you are angry, well take a few seconds before you hop in to save the day see how the situation unfolds and if the kids are safe who knows they might learn something.
Try You will never know what you kids can do or handle unless you let them try. It has been wonderful seeing what my kids can do without me doing it all for them.
Choice Giving your children lots of choices builds their independence and their confidence. My two oldest love when they know they get to make the choice and some days that means we wear socks that do not match but they are happy
Safe Of course you want to make sure that your kids safety is still number one and you must be comfortable letting them try and do new things.
Peer Pressure Now this one is for the parents do not feel like you need to parent the same way as someone else. It doesn’t matter if so and so lets their kid do something, you are different and so is your kid. Just know you are doing the best you can and you are the best parent for your child!