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Helicopter Parents and why it's bad

Updated on May 26, 2016

Harms of Overparenting

In today's world many parents are working long hours, sometimes more than one job and usually both parents have to work. Because of this parents feel that they are not spending enough time with their children and they try to over compensate. However, parents also feel that children today need guidance, that their parents always have to be the advocate. What parents are not realizing is that their guilt for needing to work and always advocate for their children is not actually helping.

Children are taught how to deal with problems, whether they be disappointment, or having to share, or wait their turn, or simply owning up to their own mistakes when parents interfere all the time, you're not actually helping your child you are hurting them. As a teacher I have seen children that I can tell right away never hear the word no. I have worked with parents who do not believe in telling their child no. Who never discipline, who do not want to upset their child because they believe the world will do enough of that later in life. Here is the mistake that parents are making, when you do not say no, or discipline, you are not protecting your child you are not helping them. As humans we will hear the word no are entire lives, we will face disappointment and defeat, and if we are not taught as children how to properly handle these life challenges then as adults we will have no skills to deal with them in the real world.

It is a parents job to teach your child how to handle disappointment and defeat. But by feeling guilty and not wanting to upset your child, your not helping their future. Many parents hate hearing their young child tell them that they hate them. Well relax, children mimic what they hear and if your child is saying they hate you, it just means they have heard someone else say it when that person was angry, and your child believes that is what you say. They are not trying to hurt you in fact when they are little they don't even know what hate truly means and so it means nothing. They still love you and will love you once they calm down. If you're not sure what to do when your child says they hate you, I suggest two options:

1. IGNORE them. They are saying this to get a reaction and most likely get out of trouble.

2. Explain why using that word is not appropriate. You can handle this one as you feel is necessary for you and your child.

No matter what you choose to do, if you have disciplined your child follow through, do NOT give up because that is not teaching your child consequences for their actions it is teaching them if they act out they get their way.

Discipline is not the only problem, use the word no. No one has died because they heard the word no. I am not saying every time the child wants something, but when you really can't afford to get the extra toy tell them no, not today. Again you might face tears and a tantrum, that's okay, ignore it the child will stop. When people in the store stare say " what you've never seen a child throw a tantrum?" Having children learn the word no or some variation of being denied will be good because they will learn how to deal with disappointment. After the tantrum you can explain why you said no. This will help them understand, it will also help you in the future have less tantrums because your child will know that when you say no it's no. I can not emphasize enough how explaining things is important. Explain that you understand that they are angry or sad that they can't get the toy but they have lots of toys at home and maybe they can have that toy for Christmas or their birthday. Helping children work through their emotions and understanding them is important so they have those skills for the future, when they get turned down from a job they really wanted or a school they were waited listed for.

I find that in the classroom when a child acts out for attention, that if they are not harming themselves and/or others then ignoring the behavior is best. This way children learn to calm themselves and they realize they are not getting the reaction they want from you. However, if they are hurting themselves or others, remove them from the situation and calm them. Once the child is calm, have a conversation. I can not stress enough how important that is. It takes two minutes and you ask them how do they feel? What did they do wrong? See if they know what they did wrong and maybe how to fix it. If not explain it to them. This works for most behaviors, I find, when a child is not sharing or getting their way, etc.

Beyond this I find many parents are constantly advocating for their child. And by all means advocate because somebody has to, but choose your battles wisely. Not to say don't argue with the school or teacher if you feel your child's needs or best interests are not being met. At the same time you have to hear what is being said back to you. Many parents jump to the conclusion their child does no wrong. This is where problems start. You have to realize your child like all other humans is not perfect and they will make mistakes. However, if you do not have your child own up to those mistakes and take responsibility they will assume mom and dad will always bail them out, until one day you can't.

If for example your child is being bullied. By all means talk to the school, the teacher, because sometimes we don't know this behavior is happening. Inform us of what is going on, but have examples when you come in. Say my child has told me this or shown me that. Whatever it may be so that we know what to look for. However, again you have to teach your child how to properly deal with a bully. Teach them how to ignore someone, and why the bully bullies. Teach them how to stand up to the bully and when the bully doesn't stop and they have handled it appropriately to talk to a teacher, parent, principle and trusted adult. Teach them that it is good to seek help. But if you are always their advocate, children will not learn how to deal with situations like this, which they will face into adulthood as we all know some people are just mean.

There is a flip side to this coin if your child is the bully, do not think they are completely innocent and they do no wrong. If you know your child could be doing this then put an end to the behavior. Discuss why teasing or pushing or name calling is not okay. Have some form of discipline, because if you always bail your child out and they are doing something they know is wrong, you are setting the example that it's okay to be mean, as long as mom or dad is there to take care of the mess and one day you wont be.

Teaching children to stand up for themselves properly or to accept consequences for their actions is important. Always stepping in when their is an argument or someone is not sharing is not always helpful. Sometimes monitoring the situation and knowing that you have supplied the correct tools for your child to handle this, is what's best. Watch and see if they can work it by themselves. You'll be amazed and proud when they can. Also know that if your child is in the wrong, that maybe that is something you need to deal with. However, if they work it out properly and realize their own mistake praise them for making the right choice and giving back the toy that they took. If they don't, intervene and tell them their behavior is wrong. In the future they might think twice about asking for a toy rather than taking it.

Parents today are doing what parents of generations past have done, trying to do best by their children. But think back to the way you were raised, how often did your parents intervene, or hesitate to punish you if you did something wrong or tell you no? Think about how often you do it. Everyone will parent differently. But remember you became the person you did because of your parents and you want your child to be just as successful. Teaching them these life skills is important. Not teaching them because you don't want to be the bad guy or you feel guilty for having to work is not helping your child its hurting their future. Good parents prepare their children to leave them.


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