We have recently been reading article after article on the trials and tribulations of ‘helicopter parents’- how we as parents don’t even know we are doing it and how it is NOT serving our kids well.
Here are but a few of such articles:
Have American Parents Got It All Backwards?
Hover No More: Helicopter Parents May Breed Depression and Incompetence in Their Children
A Loss Of Perspective: The Perils Of Parenting
How Helicopter Parents Can Ruin Kids’ Job Prospects
‘Helicopter Parents’ Cause Long Term Issues
You get the gist..
As parents we all want what is best for our kids. We want to give them everything and of course we approach it with best intentions – yet at what cost? We are learning it is our children who end up suffering, both as young adults and as leaders, as parents fulfill their own needs rather than meeting the needs of their kids.
So how do you know if you are a helicopter parent?
You can check out the 4 Signs You Might Be a ‘Helicopter Parent’ — And How You Can Stop here
(Notice how the solutions offered are focused around communication and relationship building)
One thing that comes through loud and clear in all these articles is the importance of supporting struggle, frustration and failure in our kids at any age. It builds resilience. When we protect our kids from failure they don’t learn. When we constantly “fix” and “solve” our kids problems they don’t experience struggle, frustration or failure – a.k.a they don’t learn how to fix their own problems and they don’t have the opportunity to develop confidence in problem solving.
When we constantly tell our kids what to do and how to do it, how are we supporting or nourishing their ability to problem solve, make choices, be independent, rise to and experience challenges, learn, think independently, understand their needs, or connect with the others? How can we expect them to find jobs, lead teams, accomplish goals, or have ambition?
Then when they don’t match or exceed our expectation we blame them, shame them and even judge them for it. As parents we need to change how we show up for our kids.
Being involved in our kids’ lives is important. However, what we do is no longer as important as HOW we do it.
What would it be like for parents to take a step back and support our children to be independent, competent and connected?
What would it be like to trust our children and their ability to make decisions that will work for them?
What would it be like to be curious about your child, inviting them to be apart of the decision-making process, or have them lead the problem solving process, making them accountable for its success?
What would it be like to be open to doing something differently? Perhaps you could approach something from your child’s perspective and see what you can all learn from their perspective.
What would it be like to connect with your child? To truly see, hear and understand who they are and where they are at. And what would that be like for them?
We invite parents to stop, take a breath, and take a step back – even those parents who believe they are not ‘helicopter parents’. So many of us have helicopter tendencies wanting to keep our kids hurt free, tantrum free, happy and successful. Parents, it is time to get real. In the next week we challenge you to bring your awareness to your parenting style. Be a curious observer of yourself and keep track of:
- How often do you let your kids struggle, feel frustrated or fail? What is that like for you?
- How often do you find yourself fixing, solving and telling your kids what to do? How come?
- Finally, when using the strategies above what do you notice about your relationship? How does it make you feel? What about your kid?
Curious to know more? Check out our Parenting Challenge and how to support your child
Share with us your craziest ‘helicopter parent’ experience.. You know we have all had at least one!