Being involved without smothering your kids

In Dr Haim Ginott's book Parents & Teenagers, teenagers used helicopter parenting to describe how their parents hovered over them like helicopters.

Helicopter parenting refers to a type of parents who are overly focused on their children. They usually take excessive responsibility for their children's experiences, specifically their successes or failures.

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What Is Helicopter Parenting?

parents.com

Helicopter parents may be involved in a child's life that is over-managing and overprotecting. 

  • In toddlerhood, a helicopter parent might constantly hover over the child, always directing his play and behaviour. 
  • In elementary school, they may help too much with homework or ensure a child gets a specific teacher or coach. 
  • In high school or college-aged students, helicopter parents help to complete tasks children can manage on their own, such as organising a class schedule or calling a professor.

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  • Fear of consequences. Parents might worry that their child may receive a low grade or get rejected from the sports team. Most of these consequences, such as unhappiness, effort or hard work, are not life-threatening.
  • Feelings of anxiety. Concern about the economy can push parents to take more control, believing they can keep their children from being hurt.
  • Overcompensation. A parent may try to remedy a lack from their own upbringing by overdoing it in their children.
  • Peer pressure from other over-involved parents.

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Many helicopter parents have good intentions, but when parenting is governed by fear, it's hard to see all the things kids can learn without help.

Failure and difficulties teach kids new skills. However, when we overprotect children, 

  • it decreases children's confidence and self-esteem.
  • They don't develop coping skills for loss, disappointment, or failure.
  • Increase their anxiety.
  • They develop a sense of entitlement.
  • They never learn to master certain skills themselves.

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As parents, we have to look at our children now and how they should be as adults. Getting them from children to adulthood involves suffering for both child and parent.

This means allowing children to struggle.

  • Allow them to be disappointed and help them to work through failure.
  • Let your children do the tasks they're physically and mentally capable of, even if they battle at first.

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