“Helicopter Parenting” has become such a common phrase in today’s society, but what does it really mean? And how do you know if you’re one of them? A helicopter parent generally hovers over their child at every moment, and swoops in at the first sign of danger. They shelter their children from their own lives to the extent that children grow up without learning to be self-reliant or responsible.
We all want to make sure we’re not that parent. The parent that is still doing their child’s homework when they’re in college, and personally calls the professor if their twenty-year-old receives less than an “A”. But where do you draw the line between being cautiously protective and a hovering maniac? Check out this list of five signs your chopper might be getting out of control.
1.) You require parents to pass background checks before scheduling play dates
While knowing a bit about a family before dropping your child off is a wise idea, credit checks and private investigators are not necessary. You already know they live in your neighborhood, probably attend the same school as your child, and have a similar enough disposition to attract the attention of your kid. Feel free to ask questions regarding who will be supervising and if they have plans to go anywhere, but go any further than that and you are entering “helicopter” territory.
2.) You don’t allow your child to play contact sports for fear of injury
It’s true that football or soccer can lead to bumps and bruises or a few even broken bones. However, the chances of something serious happening to your child are very slim. We take risks everyday when we step into our cars, but the point to consider is that the benefits outweigh the risks. Most children love participating in teams sports and being active. They learn great lessons about teamwork, diligence, and obedience.
3.) You install tracking devices in your child’s clothing
Though it would be nice to keep tabs on our kids every second of the day, without a little bit of separation, neither you nor them will gain any independence. As your children grow up, they need to practice taking little steps further and further from home and practicing self-reliance. You also need to let your child know, from an early age, that you trust them to make smart decisions without supervision.
4.) You do a quick drive by the elementary school to make sure your child is eating the vegetables you packed
At some point you have to trust that your child will make the right decisions without you. Teach him values and lay down your rules, then give him the freedom to exercise choice. Chances are he will follow what he’s been taught, but he will respect that you trusted him enough to leave it in his hands.
5.) You fill out your child’s college application
If you’re still running the show when they’re about to leave the nest – that’s a red flag. Your chopper definitely needs to be brought down. Kick start their new life outside of your home by letting them take the reins. They will have a better understanding of what is required to attend college, and a better grasp of how much dedication it requires.
We tend to overprotect our children out of love, but don’t always realize that at a certain level it can actually harm them. Being wise, mindful and teaching children right from wrong is very important, but it’s also critical they learn to think for themselves. Experiencing a little hurt now may prevent them from experiencing a lot of hurt in their future.
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