As a mother of three sons with strong views on parenting, I decided to tackle a subject which has been in the news lately, “helicopter parenting.”
The reason I want to talk about it is because, not only does it affect how we raise our kids today, but also how they turn out in college and in the work world.
First of all, what is a “helicopter parent?”
According to Dr. Robyn Silverman, a specialist in adolescent and child behavior, “a parent who hovers around her child and swoops in at a moments notice whenever she sees her child in any distress or discomfort, even when having a little bit of a challenge.”
Of course our job is to protect our children, but some parents may have gone one step too far. They constantly check-in on or up on their child, because of their own anxiety. They call and text, even during school hours, which is a real problem for teachers. As Dr. Silverman points out, “it’s the who, what, where, when and why of over protection.”
Helicopter parenting becomes a real problem when it continues into college and then their adult child’s job. Some parents can’t let go and start calling their child’s boss when they’re sick, or checking in on their child’s job interview.
This has become a major problem today for companies hiring young people brought up by “helicopter parents.” The kids never learn problem solving and often depend on their parents to take care of them, even when they’re adults.
So what can parents do?
- Coach your child rather than solve their problems for them
- Ask your kid to come up with solutions
- Teach your kids to brainstorm
- Teach your kids to think on their own
I don’t know about you, but did your parents hover around you? Mine didn’t. They actually allowed me to leave home at fourteen and attend boarding school in England. That was my wish, and they stood by me. I now realize how difficult this must have been for my mom who only had me. In those days, we had no e-mails, no texting and I think I learned some valuable lessons on being independent which I’ve passed on to my own three sons.
My youngest, sixteen, wanted to leave home and attend NMMI, a military boarding school in New Mexico, and the only contact I’m allowed with him for twenty-one days, is letter-writing. This is difficult for me as an empty nester, but I realize this is important for him.
Here is an interesting article on Helicopter parenting, if you want to read more.
Let’s get a discussion going. Your thoughts are always welcome.