Hard Lesson: Stop being a helicopter parent


Helicopter Parent
Hard Lesson: Stop being a helicopter parent
You may or may not have heard the term helicopter parent, but you have probably seen one or are one yourself. Helicopter parents are those that are constantly hovering over their children so that they can quickly step in as soon as they see any risks that could elevate. Many first time parents fall into this category as they cannot help but want to protect their children from any harm or risk that comes to them. This is a natural part of being a compassionate parent, but is a trait that you must control to allow your children to begin to learn how to survive in the world. You are probably thinking “why would my two year old need to learn to survive in the world?” It is not that they need to learn to cook their own meals and pay the bills, but allowing them to learn on their own will help learn physical limitations, build emotional intelligence, and most importantly learn how to think for themselves.

So how do you know if you are a helicopter parent?
There is no line in the sand that a parent crosses to become a helicopter parent. It is much more situational, although some parents tend to go into helicopter parent mode in more situations than other parents do. Have you ever heard a parent tell their child to “stop running”? This is a good example of how the situation and the purpose behind this command define whether the parent is being a helicopter parent in that instance or there is a valid reason. If the parent is telling their child to stop running because they do not want them to fall or get hurt this is typical helicopter parenting. On the other hand, a valid reason could be that there is a rules set by the establishment you are at like a public pool.

Be in the situation mentally first
As previously stated, many parents natural tendency is to protect their children which often means that they react quickly to any risks (even minor ones). For these parents it will be extremely difficult to change that natural tendency, but you must for the sake of your child. The first step in changing your behavior is to step back in those situations to ask yourself some simple questions.

  • Could your child become seriously injured? Think broken bones vs. scratches.
  • Why would I stop my child from this activity?
  • Is the situation causing my child emotional distress? Do not confuse this with any personal distress you may feel.
  • Can my child handle the situation?
  • It will only get worse!
    This article was written in terms of helicopter parenting of young children under 5 as learning to park your helicopter while they are still young is much easier than changing your parenting style as they get older. Your children will continue to get into tougher and tougher situations as they move into their teen years and while they may be able to overcome your early failures as a parent in not letting them learn small lessons, it will be you who will have difficulty changing your parenting style as they grow.

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