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Avoid Helicopter Parenting

September 14th, 2009

You know that I believe parents should be involved in the lives of their children. But is it possible to be over-involved?

The term helicopter parenting means over-involvement to the point of being controlling and not allowing for age-appropriate independence.

Here’s what I’ve seen parents do that I would describe as a helicopter parent:

– Doing things for their children that they are perfectly capable of doing themselves – tying their shoes, cleaning up after them, spoon feeding them.

– Insisting their children eat everything on their plate.

– Not allowing their children to go anywhere without you, even with trusted friends or relatives.

– Doing their children’s homework for them (Yes, I saw an essay turned in by a student that was obviously written by an adult!)

– Walking their older children to school, carrying their books for them.

Our children have a natural desire for freedom. In fact, we all do. We don’t like to be smothered by our spouse, or be controlled by our boss.  We are not doing our kids any favors if we do not allow them to practice some autonomy. Our good intentions of giving our children attention may end up counter-productive. You may find yourself with a rebellious teen or a dependent adult later on.

Discovering the balance of being an involved parent and being a helicopter parent is not easy. It takes a little bit of listening to help you find that balance:

1. Listen to your child. If your child tells you, “I can do it myself,” you should back off.

2. Listen to yourself. If you hear yourself say to your child, “Here, let me do that for you,” you should back off.

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