4 Signs You Are Helicopter Parenting
The negative effects of helicopter parenting have been well-documented. Ultimately, helicopter parenting effectively disempowers kids.
A helicopter parent is someone who over-parents their kids. Beyond being attentive, helicopter parenting examples include parents hover over their children rather than giving them the space to explore, discover and create things for themselves. The negative effects of helicopter parenting have been well-documented.
What Are Helicopter Parenting Examples?
Researchers have found it can lead to psychological distress, narcissism, poor adjustment, alcohol and drug use, and a host of other behavioural problems in emerging adults ages 18 to 25. Ultimately, helicopter parenting effectively disempowers kids.
Here are four things that helicopter parents do. If you find that you are doing one or more of them, do not judge yourself. You can change it now! You are one choice away from an entirely different possibility with parenting. One where both you and your kids are empowered.
Helicopter Parenting Examples
Doing for your kids what they can do for themselves
Do you let your kids cook? Or clean? Do you allow them to butter their own toast? Pour a glass of juice? Tie their own shoes? Pick out their own clothes? Or do you hover around doing everything for them? People who engage in over-parenting and do for their kids what their kids are capable of doing for themselves, often end up with kids that lack confidence and the necessary skills to navigate through life. Will messes be made? Will mistakes occur? Yes. Sometimes the juice will get spilt or crumbs from the toast will end up all over the floor. So what? Allowing your kids to do things for themselves creates the autonomy that builds confidence and lets them know they’ve got this.
Protecting your kids
Do you try and protect your kids? From harm? From the result of their choices? Sounds good, right? Isn’t that our job as a parent? Likely you have been told that it is. Reflecting on my own parenting, what I discovered with my son, was that self-awareness and self-trust are far more important than protection. In reality, what we call protection is nothing more than trying to control our kids and the outcome of what occurs in their lives. And, if the parent is in control, then the child subsequently isn’t.
When we do the protection thing, we’re actually teaching our kids to not be aware. We teach them to fear things. We teach them to worry about things. We teach them the stress out rather than providing a safe space for curiosity, exploration and awareness. Give your kids the space to take risks and experience independence. This is what empowers them to know that they can create their lives. This is what empowers them to be aware of what each of their choices will create.
Do you have the point of view that you have to be perfect? Do you demand perfection of your kids? If your parents required perfection if your teachers compared you to other students or always pointed out where we were wrong, if your friends made fun of the things you did, you may have bought into the idea that perfection is what is required and you may be demanding it from your kids.
People often think that striving for perfection is beneficial – that it somehow makes you better. It’s actually not true. Perfectionism is very damaging and expecting your kids to be perfect leads them to be in a constant state of judgment; always trying to be good enough while believing that they are not, always trying to feel ok about themselves while believing they are wrong. Let go of the idea of perfectionism. For you and for your kids. A great question you can ask when you find yourself judging you or your kids for not being good enough or doing things right enough is, “What is right about me that I am not getting? What is right about my kids that I am not getting?”
Parenting from right and wrong
Do you find yourself sometimes saying, “This is the right way to do things? This is the wrong way to do things?” Do you tend to point out to your kids where they are not measuring up to your expectations? Parenting our kids on the basis of right and wrong puts us and in a constant state of judgement – judgement of ourselves, judgement of our children, judgement of other parents and other children. Judgement is the number one relationship killer. Rather than judging, ask questions. “OK, if I wasn’t judging, what would I know? What did this choice actually create for me or my child? How can we work with that? How can we learn from that? What could we create together?”
When kids are allowed to do for themselves the things they are capable of, when they are taught to be self-aware and trust themselves, when they are given the space to mess up and not do it perfectly and when they are not judged no matter what they are choosing, they are empowered to have, do and be anything they desire. You as the parent can have this to. Regardless of how you were parented, what if you started to be all of these things for you now? What greater possibility would that create for you and for your kids? It is never too late to start. Remember, you are one choice from change.
Drawing upon his transformation from a struggling tradesman and single dad to global speaker, Brendon Watt facilitates classes and workshops all over the world empowering others to know they are not wrong, that anything is possible and that they are only one choice away from change. As well as being a speaker, entrepreneur, and business and life mentor, Brendon is the facilitator of several special Access Consciousness advanced programs including Choice of Possibilities, Conscious Parenting Conscious Kids, and Joy of Business. Relationship: Do you really want one? is Brendon’s first book.
This article was first published in KidSpot and republished on theAsianparent with permission.