Monday, 21 August 2017

Helicopter Parenting

Confused about how to be an involved parent without smothering your kids? 
If you're a helicopter parent, an advice to curb the hovering.
  • Taking too much responsibility for their children's experiences, their successes or failures. It is also called "overparenting."  It means being involved in a child's life in a way that is overcontrolling, overprotecting, and overperfecting, in a way that is in excess of responsible parenting.
  • A low grade, not making the team, or not getting a certain job can appear disastrous to a parent. Many of the consequences, parents are trying to prevent - unhappiness, struggle, not excelling, working hard, no guaranteed results - are great teachers for kids and not actually life-threatening. It just feels that way.
  • Worries about the economy, the job market, and the world in general can push parents towards taking more control over their child's life in an attempt to protect them. Worry can drive parents to take control in the belief that they can keep their child from ever being hurt or disappointed.
  • Adults who felt unloved, neglected, or ignored as children can overcompensate with their own children. Excessive attention and monitoring are attempts to remedy a deficiency the parents felt in their own upbringing.
  • When parents see other overinvolved parents, it can trigger a similar response. Sometimes when we observe other parents overparenting or being helicopter parents, it will pressure us to do the same. We can easily feel that if we don't immerse ourselves in our children's lives, we are bad parents. Guilt is a large component in this dynamic.
  • Many helicopter parents start off with good intentions. It is a tricky line to find, to be engaged with our children and their lives, but not so enmeshed that we lose perspective on what they need. Engaged parenting has many benefits for a child, such as increasing feelings of love and acceptance, building self-confidence, and providing guidance and opportunities to grow. Once parenting becomes governed by fear and decisions based on what might happen, it is hard to keep in mind all the things kids learn when we are not right next to them or guiding each step. Failure and challenges teach kids new skills, and, most important, teach kids that they can handle failure and challenges.
  • The main problem with helicopter parenting is that it backfires. The underlying message of the parent's overinvolvement sends to kids is 'my parent doesn't trust me to do this on my own,' and this leads to a lack of confidence.
  • If the parent is always there to clean up a child's mess or prevent the problem in the first place - how does the child ever learn to cope with loss, disappointment, or failure? Helicopter parenting can make children feel less competent in dealing with the stresses of life on their own.
  • Overparenting is associated with higher levels of child anxiety and depression.
  • Children who have always had their social, academic, and athletic lives adjusted by their parents to best fit their needs can become accustomed to always having their way and thus they develop a sense of entitlement.
  • Parents who always tie shoes, clear plates, pack lunches, launder clothes, and monitor school progress, even after children are mentally and physically capable of doing the task, prevent their children from mastering these skill themselves.
  • Parents need to keep one eye on our children now - their stressors, strengths, emotions - and one eye on the adults we are trying to raise. Getting them from here to there involves some suffering, for our kids as well as for us. In practical terms, this means letting children struggle, allowing them to be disappointed, and when failure occurs, helping them to work through it. It means letting your children do tasks that they are physically and mentally capable of doing. Remembering to look for opportunities to take one step back from solving our child's problems will help us build the reliant, self-confident kids we need.

A smooth sea never made a skillful mariner

The greatest thing that a parent can give to his children are roots. As parents we tend to hurt the ones we love most because we don't allow them to struggle to gain strength. Nothing worthwhile in life comes without a struggle. People who have overcome obstacles are more secure than those who have never faced them. Everything is difficult before it becomes easy. 

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