"Careful" is a helicopter parent's mantra. These kids have grown up in the shadows of fear, always too afraid to take risks, too cautious to make sound decisions alone and too callous to stand up for themselves as they have never had to. In their childhood their parents made all their decisions and as young adults they have no clue how to fend for themselves.
What normal parent would be insanely jealous of their own child?! I never expected it and I certainly didn't want it. But there it was: jealousy. As plain as the nose on my face. It all started just after puberty. I was fourteen when Mom first accused me of trying to "be cute" for my own father. Need I add that it wasn't true? But your Mommy is always right, isn't she?
I have had a few daycare kids whose parents did not teach them how to climb stairs. Ever. The thinking was that stairs were dangerous. Of course they are dangerous. That's why, if my daycare kids have the use of their legs, they need to learn to climb them. As soon as a kid learns to walk, we head straight to the stairs.
Who hasn't gone through playground drama, right? What I didn't realize is how this situation was making daughter feel low about herself and her ability to handle her emotions on the playground. I think like most parents I wasn't sure how much to ask her about stress. Culturally, many of us grew up with more conversations about academics and marks than conversations about feelings and stress.
Whether you're more of a bench-warmer, or a helicopter, or a free-ranger, or an anything else, how about we let the labels go and appreciate our complementary styles? Instead of getting annoyed when I see you actively play at the park, with your kids or mine, I'll think how great it is that you're enjoying your day with your lucky child.
Developing independence is part of growing up, and it's something that young people should be encouraged to develop at every age. Safety should always be a priority for parents, but kids' maturity should also be taken into consideration as well. When you show young people that you trust them, it helps kids to trust themselves.
After six years of writing about hot topics in parenting, I have read many studies, talked to countless experts and quoted hundreds of news stories. During that time, my family has grown a collective six feet, and aged from preschoolers and kids to teens and tweens. And I want to be honest when I tell you that despite the thousands of hours I have spent reading and researching parenting, I still have no idea what the hell I am doing.
As a mother, I have struggled with being labelled at times. Even so recently as last week, I denounced myself in conversation with my husband as being a helicopter parent, feeling defensive about my level of involvement in our children's lives. As a mom, I find myself consistently teaching, mentoring, coaching and loving our four.
While watching a news segment on Helicopter Parents, my daughter turned to me and said "You're not a Helicopter Parent", which was not news to me. She continued "You're more like a Skydive Plane Parent. You push us out and don't look back." She paused and then added "You sometimes give us a parachute."
When young mother Stephanie Metz (she's 29) says "My kids are not the centre of my world, and that's quite simply because they are not the centre of any world, anywhere," my old, wizened ass (I'm 31, and most decidedly not a young mother) would like to point out that this sentence actually doesn't make any sense.
When my arms were elbow-deep in the toilet this morning, I realized something. The kids called: "Momma, can you please get me a snack?" "Mommy, find my soother!" I kept saying, "You can do it! I'll help you in a second!" After a few minutes of this, they stopped asking. It got very, very quiet. I peeked out of the bathroom.
You cannot flip open a newspaper, a magazine or scan Facebook without noticing the rise in anxiety and depression amongst young teens and adults. Many articles call it an epidemic, documented by a severe spike in suicides, prescriptions and counselling appointments on university campuses. I'm seeing that the new literature is calling for a change in how we parent and coach our kids in the early years. We cannot start the inoculation in their teens; the time is now.