Are You A Helicopter Parent? Land Safely in 4 Easy Steps
by Jamee Tenzer, PCC
As mothers, we receive plenty of input about what we should be doing, should have done or should do NOW.
Frankly, we should have known better, thought of that before AND been one step ahead.
No wonder some of us fall into the dreaded trap of HELLi-parenting - sticking our nose into our child's business when it would be best to let them make their own choices and fail if need be.
It has gotten to the point where Colleges and Universities have found it necessary to bar parents from inserting themselves into the college application process. (We are invited to the financial process, of course.) Is this because parents are filling out applications, meeting important deadlines, deciding Majors and Minors and making a myriad of decisions that they have no business making? Probably.
Now we are told that children are TOO dependent upon us - after all, more College Freshman are finding it impossible to successfully stay in school, than ever before. Is it because they miss us or they are missing the information they need to survive and thrive on their own?
What Makes Us Want To Take Flight?
The Internet and other technological revolutions have given teenagers more opportunities to make big mistakes but less freedom to make the kind of small mistakes needed to grow up.
Back in my day (just hum-a-dee-hum-hum years ago,) you could behave like an idiot - make a couple of ridiculous mistakes - magically escape without killing yourself - get grounded - learn the lesson - and only a few people found out; your best friend, your mom, your dad and MAYBE the principal.
Now if a kid does something dumb, it's Tweeted, Snap-Chatted and Tumbled for all to see, forever.
Why Are We So Protective of Our Little Whirly-birds?
Because we want our children to be happy and healthy and we are willing to do just about ANYTHING to make that happen! That's nothing new.
It's the same incentive that has gotten parents into action for millennium. And that's not all bad. After all, if that little Cave Kid had asked for a pogo stick instead of a bicycle, we might never have gotten the "wheel." Maybe we can cut the heli-parent a bit of slack?
After all, the kids can't even put a sock on their own foot for the first two years of life - and then moments later they are moving away. Some of us cannot process this transition in real time - let's give ourselves a break while we make a change in our flight pattern.
4 Tips for a Safe Landing:
1. Satisfy your desire to do things for your children by mothering them in small ways; make their favorite dessert, neaten their room as a special surprise or put a note in their lunch. Leave them to take over the tasks that will teach them about life.
2. Make a list of all the things you have done that prove to YOU that you are a good mother. (Everyone else already knows you are a good mother.)
3. Ask your children to let you know if they feel they can take something on if you would allow them to. Children assume that we know what is best - they haven't yet learned that we are making this up as we go along.
4. Appreciate the fact that you love your children as much as you do. It's a great feeling - kind of like flying.
Time To Retire The Chopper - But, How?
Let's just agree that none of us wants to be a heli-parent. And I think we can also agree that we love to take care of our children. Plus, we have information they don't have - and talents and abilities they have yet to develop.
What's the balance? Of course you have to find that for yourself.
But the next time you are doing something for your child that they should be doing themselves, see if you can slow down those propellers and include them in the process. Yes, it takes longer and they don't know what they are doing - just like you and me when we were their age.
Enjoy watching them fly solo and be there for the occasional bumpy landings.
About the Author:
Jamee Tenzer, PCC is a Life and Executive Coach for Women. She specializes in coaching working mothers, women in entertainment and 50-something moms. She is also a Trainer for the International Coach Academy and Mentors new coaches. Click here for mom tips and more free stuff: www.shesarealmother.com. Check out Jamee's book: https://jameetenzer.com/balance.
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