Helicopter Parenting – Why You NEED To Let Your Children Be Free
By Lindsay Sibson
Are you a parent?
Let me just start by saying that you deserve the BIGGEST, shiniest (insert here – gold star, pat on the back, glass of wine…) this universe has to offer! Being a parent is one of the toughest, craziest, most rewarding, demanding, NONSTOP jobs out there.
But sometimes, parenting can become a little TOO nonstop.
Cue in the helicopter parent!
What is a helicopter parent? It’s a parent who always keeps his/her children within arm’s reach and consists of:
- Doing for children what they can do for themselves.
- Doing for children what they can almost do for themselves.
- Making parental decisions based on their own (the parents) ego.
The term was introduced in the late 1960’s, but didn’t gain popularity until the 2000’s. As the popularity of cellphones increased, so did the need for parents to be constantly checking in on their spawn. Some even refer to cellphones as “the world’s longest umbilical cord.”
Signs Of Helicopter Parenting:
1. Spoiling Children – Always giving your child what he/she wants.
2. Inability To Let Go – Unable to focus when your child is at school or participating in other activities.
3. Lobbying – Defending your child instead of allowing him/her to make mistakes and learn.
4. Watchdogging – Keeping “an eye” on your child at ALL times.
5. Helping Too Much With Homework – Offering too much assistance and doing homework for him/her.
6. Too Much Praise – Not allowing your child to experience failure, which can lead to narcissism.
I’ve seen it many times throughout my career as a Director of an Early Learning Center. Part of me totally empathizes with the care and concern parents put into leaving their child at a school (it’s your baby, afterall!). However, sometimes a kid just needs to “be a kid” and explore without the parent hovering around and directing EVERY single little move. It’s nearly impossible for a child to become independent, confident and responsible in that type of environment.
A study conducted by Yellowbrick, a psychology treatment program, found that helicopter parenting has the following effects on children as they enter their teenage years. The survey consisted of 100,000 college students and, based on the results, concluded that:
- 84% felt overwhelmed by responsibilities
- 60.5% felt sad
- 57% felt lonely
- 51% felt anxious
It’s no secret that your experience growing up in your childhood years has a profound impact on your adult life. Helicopter parenting can have some lasting negative affects such as:
- Higher levels of depression and feeling less satisfied with life.
- Helicopter parenting is associated with low self-worth.
- Less self-reliance.
- Increased tendency to engage in risky behaviors (smoking/ binge drinking).
If you are worried that you are helicoptering your children, what should you do as a parent? How should you be parenting?
EXACTLY how you want to. THAT’S HOW.
These are all just opinions and research conducted by people you don’t know. It’s important to learn and educate yourself on the variety of parenting methods and techniques “out there,” but ultimately, YOU are the parent and you are the one who decides what is best for you and your child.
We aren’t here to tell you how to parent. We only ask that you keep in mind that your children are individuals in a world where unique originality is a profound highlight of what living means. Let your children explore, let them learn, let them make mistakes. All of these things will help them blossom into the beautiful individuals you have so lovingly nurtured and raised.
Lindsay Sibson turned her lifelong dream of traveling the world into a reality when she first stepped on a plan in April of 2014. With the simple intention of learning more about this beautiful world, she stepped away from corporate America to explore an alternative lifestyle of long term international travel, volunteering, blogging and pursuing a blissfully happy and fulfilling way of life.
Lindsay documents her journey in hopes of empowering others to find their passion, reignite their spark and freshen their outlook on life. Connect with her on her website and follow her travels on Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/_traveloholic_).
Through her blog, Lindsay documents her journey in hopes of empowering others to find their passion, reignite their spark and freshen their outlook on life.
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