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Helicopter Parenting: How Not to Hover while Letting Your Kids Soar!

January 21st, 2015     By Boys Town ContributorMother of eight-year-old son and six and one-year-old daughters

Discipline, Family, Respect

Teachable moments can come from a wide variety of sources, including other parents. From time to time parents write blogs for us that we think you will find interesting, useful, or entertaining. Please enjoy this post from a fellow parent. 

I will admit I’ve been called a helicopter parent before. It was in a joking manner, so I’ll assume it was unfounded. But I have read quite a bit on the subject matter and I think there are a few guidelines we can all follow to make sure we don’t become the overbearing, overprotective parent that we secretly (or not so secretly) want to be.

Let Them Speak for Themselves.

How many of us go out to dinner with our kids and order for them? Why? Once they’re past the age of 2, they are perfectly capable of telling someone what they want to eat. This is just one of the many ways you can help your child become more outspoken, confident and independent. Kids need to learn to make decisions on their own because you won’t always be there to do it for them.

Give Them the Power to Think for Themselves.

Have discussions with your kids. We try really hard to make decisions as a family. When discussing what to do or where to go, we always try to involve our kids — even when it comes to discipline. If they do something wrong, we discuss the appropriate discipline. This helps them learn the consequences of their decisions, teaches accountability and gives them confidence. Keep in mind, you might spend some evenings at Chuck E. Cheese and your 6-year-old may make a mess giving the dishes a “bubble bath,” but it is worth it.

Let Them Fight Their Own Battles.

This is so important! Our kids have been in their fair share of neighborhood arguments. I have always handled them in the following manner: If I hear a commotion that is getting out of hand, I will intervene. GASP!  But only to say the following to every child: “Keep in mind that when we all get along, we have a lot more fun. I would recommend that you try to solve the problem and move on so you can get back to having fun!” Then I walk away. I don’t care who did what or who yelled at whom; I care that the kids are able to resolve the issue, make up and get along. It is a friendly reminder that helps them put things into perspective.

Don’t Judge Them.

I think this is one of the more overlooked aspects of what we deem “helicopter parenting.” Don’t try to make your children into a version of yourself. I’m sure you are great a person; I think I’m pretty great, too. But there is already one of me and we don’t need any more. Let them pick out their own clothes. Let them say weird things. Let them like their own sports teams. Don’t belittle them for doing things differently from how you do them. Instead, enjoy your individuality. Your kids will be just fine, even if they are different from you.

There you have it. A few simple suggestions for more effective parenting. So bring that helicopter in for a landing and parent on!

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