Remember our childhood where we use to just rush out of the house and play with your friends in the neighborhood and come back home just for your meals and not once would our parents come to check on us. We were carefree and so were our parents who allowed us to be kids and enjoy our time.
However, we now live in times when we ourselves don’t feel safe and are always on an alert mode. The competition is cut throat and everyday is a new struggle. But what about our behavior when it comes to our children? Are we gradually becoming a helicopter, always hovering over our kids? Yes a Helicopter. Doesn’t that sound weird? Child Researchers Foster Cline and Jim Fay first coined the term “Helicopter Parenting” in 1990’s for parents who were always hovering over their kids.
Are you a Helicopter Parent? Why it could be harmful
Our heart races fast or we get double thoughts when our child wants to go for a camp or picnic with their friends. Our child doesn’t perform well and we immediately run to their teacher to put a word in for them or have a go at the teacher for not being so attentive with our child. We dare not leave them out of our sight be it in a mall, park or in the neighborhood. Our eyes are always following them, trying to protect them and keep them safe. We feel our kid may not be able to deal with an issue and our helicopter tendencies jump into the most basic and mundane aspects of their daily life.
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I think somewhere we all young parents are someway or the other, guilty about it. Kids nowadays have a phone so we can reach them all the time. We are running behind them in the park and following them in each and every ride to make sure you are there to hold them in case they fall.
But aren’t we dampening the child’s growth by doing this? Being a helicopter parent, we may fail to develop independence and self-advocacy in them. We don’t allow them act for themselves or manage a situation on their own making them feel that they always need their parents to protect them and fight for them, taking away their individuality and independent personality.
How to handle this issue?
But how do we stop ourselves from being that Helicopter parent? How do we know how much parenting is too much parenting?
- Firstly concentrate on the quality of your engagement with your child than the quantity of it. Note how much are you interfering in the things that your child can actually deal with individually.
- Look for your child’s area of interest and guide them. Don’t force a hobby or classes on your child and allow them to take up what interests them and make them stick to it.
- Be able to accept their imperfection and inabilities to do certain things. If your child is scared of height, help them fight the fear but don’t try to push them down the hill in order to overcome the fear nor do you jump yourself for your child.
- Allow them to fight their own battles and take risk. Don’t be a parent who is ready to protect them from any harm because we may not always be around and our child may be in a difficult situation and they should be able to think on their own feet.
- Accept their failure. Yes, no one is perfect. Nor are we and nor can our kids be. They may not be the best in a certain thing and not be able to perform despite their efforts. Accept it. Not everyone can win the race. Some one will lose and that can be your child and it’s absolutely ok. Be able to lower your expectations.
- Give them advice; guide them in their path and leave. Don’t wait there ready to hold them if they fall. We have to allow them to perform first rather than taking the stage over on their behalf.
- Teach them basic life skills. With small kids to teens, as per their age, try to teach them how to do daily routine work independently. Allow them to shoulder a bit of responsibility from an early age. For a toddler, ask them to take the responsibility of their own bag, look after it and carry it around. And as they grow, make them shoulder more responsibilities under their capacity.
We may sometimes mix helicopter parenting with intensive, permissive or authoritative parenting. An Intensive parent puts in a lot of time, effort and thoughts in raising the child while a permissive parent will completely give into the child’s demands. However, an authoritative parent will lead by command but at the same time will keep in mind the child’s desire and needs and not impose their decisions on them. You can be a hands on parent which is also needed for the emotional and cognitive development of the child. But you cannot be getting them toilet paper even when they are in high school. Like us, even kids need their “my time” and may not like their parents hovering around them. Children who are given their space are able to explore more and also have a better and cordial relation with their parents. No one likes complete interference, not even small kids. So be there for your child but let them take steps to move ahead in life.
About The Author – Hansa Kajaria
Based in Thane, Mumbai, Hansa Kajaria is a mom of two. MBA Finance by qualification, she is currently a stay at home mom and also runs a brand Aayera’s Nest. She loves reading books and that has driven her to start writing blogs and small articles.