Helicopter Parents: Are they helping or hurting our children? By definition this is a parent who takes an overprotective or excessive interest in the life of their child or children. Having seen it first hand prior to ever having children I hoped and prayed that I would not become one of those parents. I remember vividly watching one mother scoot around her kid as he spun in circles to make sure he would not fall. In my head I remember thinking this is crazy. Now I would in no way want that child, my child, or any child to get hurt, however there is an important lesson that is being skipped over if we never let them fall. We are not teaching our kids how to pick themselves back up. Sure there are tears and moments to comfort but if we never let our kids fall then they never learn how to cope and move on. I feel as kids get older this snowballs into bigger issues then just falling down and getting hurt.
We all want the best for our kids and for them to be happy. No one would ever intentionally put their children in harms way. However, when we remove all conflict from our young children’s lives we are also stripping them from valuable problem solving skills. Kids no longer know how to take responsibility for anything. I remember this becoming a new discussion when I was in college as a professor once retold a story of a parent calling him to excuse their son from the paper that was due because their son was not feeling well. It seems ridiculous but it happens all the time. When our children are not given the chance to be held to a certain standard they do not know how to stand on their own two feet. This is quite concerning to me. As a society we are grooming children who someday will become adults and who have no accountability. How are these children every going to become successful? I believe it’s quite true that failure spurs success. Without ever failing there is nothing to motivate you to move forward. There needs to be conflict at times in our lives so that we can strive for something better.
I also think that when we are too overprotective of our children we are taking away a small part of pride for them. Deep down we all want to do well. When we become so involved with our children’s life that they are never given the chance to struggle with something, they can never feel pride in accomplishing anything. Liam loves to do puzzles and at times he gets very frustrated. When he has a hard time putting it together, I simply offer some encouragement for him to continue trying and he finishes it on his own. The smile of success on his face says it all. This might seem small but it all builds up. Small problems as children will translate to big problems as adults. Small accomplishments as kids equal big payouts as adults. Allowing our kids to work it out not only helps them internally but also someday working it out with people. I am not suggesting never lending a hand or letting our children get into danger but the next time your son or daughter is struggling. Take a step back and let them work at it. Your not only helping them now but also for their future.