We all want to be involved in our kids’ lives. We all want the best for our kids. But, there comes a point when parenting becomes excessive. If you’re a little over the top, the other moms on the playground may call you a helicopter parent.
What is a helicopter parent?
The term was actually coined by child psychologist Haim Ginott back in 1969 when he heard teens talk about their parents who watched over them like helicopters. But, it’s now used for parents of kids of all ages. Helicopter parent became more widely used as time went on that it actually got a place in the dictionary in 2011. Basically parents who take on too much when it comes to what their children do, especially whether they succeed or not can fall into this category. How do you know if you belong in this group? Here are five simple ways to help you figure it out.
Helicopter Parent Sign #1: You Break Up Fights
Your two kids are fighting over the same toy for the tenth time. You can’t take it anymore. Instead of letting them work it out, you hover over them like the helicopter parent you are and break up the fight. You may think you’re doing something good, but actually you may be hurting more than helping. Kids need to know how to resolve conflict.
Helicopter Parent Sign #2: Failure is Not an Option
No one likes to see their kid fail. But, losing is a part of life. The sooner they figure this out, the better. While it may mean pealing them off the floor from a tantrum or drying a few tears, it’s normal. You can’t be your child’s parachute 24/7. You need to let them fail. Don’t be a helicopter parent.
Helicopter Parent Sign #3: You Do Their Homework
We all know kids are learning at a faster pace than we did. Fourth grade math can be hard. Guess what? Your child needs to learn it. It’s one thing to help them. It’s another thing to actually do the work for them.
Helicopter Parent Sign #4: Too Much Boasting
It’s okay to be proud of your child and his accomplishments. It’s another to try and “sell” your child’s accomplishments so he looks like the next Albert Einstein. Some parents build up their kids so much that the kid himself can’t even live up to the hype. A helicopter parent often likes to talk up their kid to other people. The parent wants everyone else to know how successful their kid is to sometimes make themselves look good.
Helicopter Parent Sign #5: You Make All Their Decisions
While making all of our children’s decisions may seem like the easiest route for us, it’s not for our kids. Kids need to learn how to make their own choices whether they’re good or bad. What we may think is best may not always be what they choose. As parents, this may drive us nuts. But, we can’t micro-manage every part of our children’s live. We need to let them make age appropriate decisions.
Being a parent is hard enough. Don’t make it any harder by being a helicopter parent. Letting your child fail or make their own decisions doesn’t make you a bad parent. It makes you a better one because you’re letting them grow.