Sometimes helicopter parents swoop down with a force clearly violating their children’s airspace. At other times, a potential ‘copter action may be difficult to judge because children’s needs vary. My mother, a quiet fount of wisdom who unleashed five children on the world, once shared …
You have to treat children fairly … but each child has different needs.
Treating children fairly may mean treating each child in a different way.
Even within a family, the same act might be hovering with one child, but a critical intervention with another child. Sometimes what appears to me as hovering, might be another parent’s warranted mediation.
Tread lightly with your judgments of other parents, they may be struggling with problems you are free to dismiss. Keep an eye on yourself. Know and understand the needs of your children. Be the arbiter of your own line.
The first step in grounding your ‘copter is recognizing that you need to land. But, since every child is different, for many flights, only you know that your ‘copter has strayed beyond the flight plan.
You might be a helicopter parent, or or you might be responding to your child’s needs, if …
- You call the mother of your daughter’s classmate to find out why your daughter isn’t invited to her daughter’s birthday party. Maybe the invitation got lost in the mail?
- You accompany your children when they attend your grandchildren’s parent teacher conferences. Sometimes you need to help your grandchild do homework, too.
- You refer to your child’s accomplishments as “We” as in “We are ranked third in the class,” “We were elected to student council,” or “We made the select basketball team.” It’s just the way you talk in your family.
- You don’t allow your child to ride the bus to school; instead you drive her to school yourself … every day. It’s sort of a safety thing, and you work until late at night so it gives you a few more minutes to spend together in the morning.
- Your child uses you as a GPS while driving around town and you cheerfully research and recite directions. Driving is hard enough for a newbie, it helps to have a navigator if you get lost.
What is the intent behind your actions. Dig deep if you hover and ask yourself WHY. The first step in safely landing is recognizing that you occasionally violate your child’s airspace.
Do you need to facilitate a gentle landing?
I’m a recovering ‘copter mom and I occasionally agonized over my decision to hover. Sometimes I felt my actions were needed because of extenuating circumstances … really I did … it’s not just an excuse. But sometimes I crossed the line, so I stopped crossing the line.
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