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I remember a time when hubs and I joked that our son‘s middle name should be changed to “be careful” (as in JakeBeCareful).
I swear that was all we said to that kid when he first started walking.
I was the epitome of a “helicopter mom” because, darn it, no
germs debris harmful stuff was gettin near MY kid, by golly.
To some degree, it’s normal. It’s parenthood.
As a adoring parent, we sometimes can’t help ourselves and spend A LOT of time “running block” on anything that could harm our babies, choke them, soil them, or cause mild discomfort. It’s hard to stop being that Bouncer for our kid’s world.
The first year of preschool we walk them to their class, because let’s face it, it’s the right thing to do.
We then hover around outside the door to make sure there are no tears and drama. Quietly we tip toe away, retreating to our car. Sitting there staring at the digital clock on our dash until the time when our chicks can safely be under our wing again. At this point, you are just a normal, spazy Mom or Dad.
But at what point is it “too much?” At what point do you go from “protective” to “Helicopter Parent?”
The term “helicopter parent” came into vogue a few years ago among college administrators to define the growing trend of parents who seem just a bit too involved in their child’s day-to-day lives at school.
Here’s where it gets sticky. Overprotective? Somewhat normal. Helicoptering? Not-so-much.
If you find yourself exhibiting some of the classic helicopter qualities, it may be time to back off and re-evaluate your actions:
- Micromanaging every single thing your child does.
- Being overly critical of everything your child does.
- Attempt to sweep any all obstacles out of your child’s way to make it “easier for them.”
- Solve their child’s problems for them instead of allowing them to figure it out on their own.
The “experts” all say; in order to encourage your children’s independence, refrain from constantly coming to their rescue. Listen to their problems and support them when necessary, but allow them to come to you for help rather than constantly getting involved on your own.
As much as that sucks-it’s true.
Spend some time being mindful of your actions. We have found a lot of comfort and guidance in the Love and Logic series. At one point Crow Wing County taught Love & Logic Classes (check with Crow Wing County Health Dept). You can check out their website HERE, or the book below is super good as well.
My final note is this: We are all human. We love our kids and that is normal. I don’t know about you, but the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary has sent my inner Bouncer into over-drive. And I suspect I am not alone. Don’t ignore your kids, but don’t smother them either. Know when to be a parent, and know when to back off and let them figure stuff out.