Are you a helicopter parent too?

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Photo 92872291 © Leo Lintang | Dreamstime.com

When looking after our children and trying to ensure that we do what is best for them, we should also try to avoid becoming a ‘helicopter’ parent that tries to take an unreasonable extent of control over our children’s lives. Not only can this be limiting how much our children learn on their own, but it can also cause our children to develop the misconception that we are there to do everything for them. This will in turn slow down the establishment of responsibility and accountability. The more we involve our children and allow them to learn, the more beneficial this will be for them as they grow up.

For example, there may be a time when we discover that our child has had a misunderstanding with one of their friends. Instead of trying to take control of the situation ourselves, we could allow them to make their own choices. Of course we have a responsibility to look after them, so we could let them know that they can speak to us and we can give them advice, but we should also make it clear that they have to take accountability. This method will teach them that they are responsible for their choices but we are there to guide and help them. We can prompt them to think about the different choices they could make in a situation and what the possible consequences could be of those choices.

Similarly, when children are struggling with their homework, we can try to help them by gradually giving them cues so that they are still learning without being handed the answer. For example, we could encourage them to read the question or task carefully, or give them some clues to guide them on the right track. Through supporting our children in this way, they will still be learning. When we try to give them the answers without explanation, we could be creating more hurdles for them later on as they will not have actually understood the topic.

Our management of house chores can also have an impact on our children, as it can either be helping them to develop responsibility or, oppositely, cause them to become dependent on us. By involving our children in tidying up and other tasks, they will learn that they must also take responsibility because they live in the same house. This will also help them to learn how to be independent and proactive, and not to just leave tasks for us or others to do. The development of these positive traits will help them as they go on in life.