15 Ways To Avoid Being A Helicopter Parent Today
The origin of the expression “helicopter parent” is born in a consultation of an American child psychologist back in 1969, when a patient told him that he was tired of his parents “flying over him like a helicopter.” This psychologist was fascinated by the expression and began to coin it.
A helicopter parent is one who raises their children through a set of ultra-controlling behaviors known today as “hyperparents.” They incessantly supervise and overprotect their children, systematically dispelling anything that appears as threats or problems.
Generally, a helicopter parent or hyper parent confuses helping a child get up after tripping with doing everything possible so that their child never stumbles or falls. This leads them to exercise continuous control over their children, through which they continuously indicate how and what they should play.
In addition, a helicopter parent limits their behaviors and emotions, going so far as to prohibit certain relationships or choose their friends. Moreover, they come to condition when they can communicate their opinions. All these attitudes are signs of overprotection. That overprotective and controlling behavior that characterizes a helicopter parent, Although many of them do not accept it, affects their children’s emotional development.
Certainly, guiding children, telling them what is right or wrong, and even helping them make good decisions or rescue them when they have made a mistake are positive actions that strengthen confidence, self-esteem, and security in children.
Children feel watched continuously, something that can negatively affect their development, especially on children’s self-esteem. This emasculates their ability to deal with the challenges that their own growth demands, such as making friends, behaving well in class, or doing well in school.
Do you know? The drawback of not respecting their space, privacy, and time is that you worsen their emotional regulation at two years, which affects their behaviors and social skills at five years with the probability of increasing their emotional problems as they grow older.
This means that he lacks the autonomy to learn by himself to solve problems, as well as the ability to develop the tools to face his fears. They are more likely to be more anxious and insecure in regulating their emotions, as they depend on helicopter parent for everything.
When he reaches maturity and has to face life’s difficulties, he will have many inconveniences because maybe a helicopter parent will not be there to solve them. And its existence is going to make it much more difficult. Here is an interesting article about What’s Wrong With Helicopter Parenting? by Child Mind Institute.
What can we do and encourage us to avoid overprotection? The following describes a series of characteristics to reinforce the autonomy, confidence, and self-esteem of children:
1. Do Not Lebel
In general, many parents offer to label their children with the belief that they are helping them to raise their self-esteem by saying things like “You are going to be a scientist” or “You will be the best soccer player in the world.” These are labels that we must avoid at all times.
These labels will cause pressure in our children that can end up transforming their dreams into nightmares. They can also be victims of bullying at their school or with their friends by not becoming what you expect. Do you really long that for your kids? Why not let it be what he wants and make him happy? Ah! And do not think of labeling him saying negative things such as “you are not good for …” or “you are going to be a failure,” and stuff like that, because there yes that the error is fatal.
2. Successful Repeat Patterns
One thing to keep in mind as you prepare your children to face more freedom is the practice you shared with them when they were young. Re-practice the behaviors that helped your kids get up, walk, and run on their own. Have you forgotten how you did it? You probably encouraged his attempts and motivated him to practice, no matter how many times he fell and got up, fell again, and got back up also.
Eventually, he was successful and managed to stand on his own. Then he took a step and fell again. Throughout this process, you were by his side, supporting, smiling, and congratulating.
3. Grant Freedom in the Areas They Ask for
In the same way that you supported them to get up, as the children grow, it is convenient to grant them more freedom. It is advisable to start with the areas where they ask for it, as long as it is legal and not dangerous, of course. Maybe your son wants you to let him come home from school alone with a friend.
The first thing to establish is whether he is asking for something that he can learn to do; And, if he can, you should allow him to do so. For your safety, verify the possible routes and share them with him, and try to get him to give you feedback on which route he will take, respect his decision. If it doesn’t, it’s just pending.
4. Learn from Mistakes
Our children must learn from their mistakes and failures. Remember when you were a child. The experience you have as a parent came from correcting your errors as a child and all your growth.
Although sometimes, unconsciously, we do not let them make mistakes, and we anticipate their mistakes, please do your best to let them live their experiences. Let’s make experience a source of learning.
5. Children must Suffer Moderately with Their Parents
What better place to learn to regulate anger, sadness, and frustration than when we are young, and we are with our parents? Just fill yourself with courage; the family is the best context to learn to suffer and tolerate the frustrations that your children will have to face when they are older.
6. Beware of Excessively Favoring Autonomy
Autonomy is one of the pillars of secure attachment. Still, if we favor autonomy and exploration excessively and do not take care of privacy and protection, we will be developing an anxious-avoidant attachment style in our children. The objective is not to promote independence in our children but rather their autonomy. Careful with that!
7. If We Want Empathic Children, We Must Show Empathy
We all want our children to grow up happy, sensitive, and empathetic, but if we set these goals with them, we must be models, showing empathy and sensitivity. Our children will not be able to be empathetic if we have not looked at them, supported them, and loved them unconditionally when they were little. We must model what we want to harvest or see in our children!
8. Tolerance to Frustration
In the society in which we live, our children must learn to handle frustration and waiting times. Everyday life has a multitude of circumstances that involve uncertainty and moments of boredom. We must allow our little ones to face these situations and learn to manage them. Remember, the best way to teach is modeling!
9. Self-Fulfilling Prophecy
Our expectations of our children tend to be fulfilled. Magical, right? It is named “Theory of self-fulfilling prophecy or the Pygmalion effect.” The reason is that our children tend to meet those objectives, goals, or expectations that we induce. For this motive, we must be aware of the expectations that we set for them, taking special care that they are achievable.
10. Children Can Cope With Almost All Emotions
Adults suffer a lot when we see our little ones having a hard time. However, empirical evidence shows us that our “little ones” can cope with different emotions. There can only be one logical exception: the only time our children can have a hard time is when the adult is experiencing a regrettable emotion and therefore has no control over the emotion and the situation.
11. If You Want, You Can
It is common to hear phrases and messages of this type. We must be careful with them because we leave all the objectives within reach of our children if they make an effort, which is not always the case. Sometimes it is not that they do not want, but that they cannot achieve something. This for the simple fact that she does not know what her purpose in life is. Help him discover his purpose so that he can then do what he wants to do.
12. Training Them For Success, Eet Clear Limits
Children and adults need a series of limitations in the different contexts in which we move. Train them for success; that doesn’t mean you give them total freedom at once and get permission to do whatever they want to do on their own immediately. Before approving, we should talk with them about the limits necessary for the proposed activity and the safety regulations.
We must work with them to bring them together and reach a mutually satisfactory middle ground. Sometimes it is advisable to say “no” to certain activities that help build character and attitudes towards adversities.
13. Reinforce Your Children’s Attitudes
Reinforce their attitudes, perseverance, and work instead of attributing the positive results to the person’s intelligence. For example, with a good grade in math work, it is better to attribute a good grade to work, effort, and perseverance than the student’s intelligence.
Please do not make the mistake of appropriate their duties; it is unethical, and you complicate the teacher’s life. That makes it complicated to figure out what you really do or don’t know. And the worst of all is that the message you are giving them is “You are not capable, I have to do it for you.”
14. Empower Your Talents
Some people study medicine because it is what their parents expected of them, leaving behind that dream of being a sportsman, even a musician. You can decide what model of parent you want to be and how you are going to help your child be happier. Ask them what they like. Please encourage them to continue down that path.
There are two things you have to stop doing with your child:
First, stop speaking in the plural, in the sense of “we have homework.” The work is theirs, give them the credit they deserve, and let them be the owner of the result of their effort. (Even though you have helped).
Second, stop fighting with the other adults (other parents, teachers, coaches…) in your children’s lives. Teach them to stand up for themselves.
15. “I love You Whatever Happens”
Parents’ job is to be there and be close to respond when necessary, but not interfere in every decision that our “little ones” can make. Try not to take on the task of ensuring: “Make sure they do their homework, make sure they eat well, make sure they are nice to their friends…” and so on an endless list. Let them be!
Don’t make the mistake of getting involved in their homework: “If you’re not doing homework with them, you start to worry that they may not do it or not do it well.” “If you are not there, and it turns out that they don’t do his homework the next day, they will have to face the consequence.”
We tend to want to protect them from the consequences of their actions. If we decide to interfere or help, what we are really doing is robbing them of the opportunity to grow and learn from their actions. Letting them live is the key! Let them experience those consequences so that they learn from them and welcome them with open arms and be empathetic when it happens.
In other words, “Son, you’ve learned your lesson; I’m here for what you need, I love you.”
We know that a helicopter parent desire is to be the best parent possible. All good parents share this idea, but it is also necessary that you learn to set limits towards your parenthood. Don’t forget that your child is an independent being with unique ideas, characteristics, and personality.
If you stay in the role of a helicopter parent, you will only undermine the security that he needs. Stay close to him but don’t impose your wishes, frustrations, or fears. Stop being a helicopter parent for the sake of the family relationship.
We can do many things with our children to promote a close and intimate relationship, and at the same time, promote their growth and autonomy. Giving our children what they need at the right time and in the necessary amount is not so simple, but we must do it as parents. For example, applying the musical teaching method created by the Japanese violinist and pedagogue Shinichi Suzuki in the mid-20th century, whose learning methodology is similar to that of the mother tongue, which we learn by imitation and hearing. That way, it is possible to learn the language of music.
With this method, children start at about three years of age, accompanied by their parents, who participate in and out of the classroom and learn with their children. The work is pure memory, through intensive listening to music. Sheet music reading is postponed (just as we learn to speak long before we learn to write).
Although the method is structured to start at younger age, it is suitable for any age. In fact, it is common to find children of different ages learning together: while the older one sets an example and helps the younger, the younger one is motivated and tries to imitate him.
If your child desires to learn to play the piano, it is an excellent opportunity to improve the parent-child relationship. Well, learning music together helps to strengthen the bond between parents and children, also improving communication. In this action, they are the same, both start from scratch and involve all the practice, both in the classroom and the experience at home. This greatly motivates the child and creates special complicity: the child feels cared for and understood by the adult.
So if your child starts taking piano lessons at young age, the piano learning will be dedicated, above all, to developing the child’s ear and musical sensitivity. You have to make time until the age of 4 or 5 to learn to play the piano itself. At that age, he can already learn music theory and play sheet music. The best thing about all this is that you will be an exemplary father and not a helicopter parent!
Did you know that Willan Academy offers pre-intrumental music classes for young children.