Are You a Helicopter Parent? Part 2: How to Stop or Avoid Overparenting
Updated: Jul 25, 2018
Monday, July 2, 2018
If you’ve read Part One, you already know what a helicopter parent is, the signs of a helicopter parent and the consequences of helicopter parenting on your child. If not, you can read the previous article here.
So, now that you’re familiar with the definition, the signs and the effects, how do you stop or avoid helicopter parenting? Essentially, it all comes down to letting go of your control and not only giving your child more freedom, but also more responsibility and accountability.
To stop or avoid helicopter parenting, try these 5 things instead:
1. Equip your child with life skills
Let them do house chores, study and do their own homework themselves so they can build character and patience, as well as learn in their own time and their own way. You can even have a rewards system in place so your child can appreciate the value of things like hard work and money. They’ll be able to be more independent, more mature and more accountable for their own actions and decisions.
2. Teach your child to be a critical thinker and problem solver
Some things are out of your control, and instead of protecting your child from consequences, educate them on the risks and precautions, all while giving them the opportunity to self-reflect on their experiences. When you allow space for self-reflection and learning to happen, your child will develop good judgement as well as critical thinking and problem-solving skills. They'll know what to do instead of depending on someone else to solve their issues for them or get them out of certain situations.
3. Learn to trust your child
The more you protect them or confine them to a perfectly crafted bubble, the more they will rebel against you in the future and the more they will take things for granted. They’re also much more likely to make rash decisions as they won't know the consequences of their actions. As long as you educate your child on safety and instil a sense of responsibility, you have to let go of your need to control every outcome, to trust that your child will make the right decisions.
4. Let your child make small decisions on their own
In line with the previous point, give them the opportunity to decide on smaller matters. In turn for more freedom, make sure they understand that this will come with greater responsibilities. Give your child the chance to take small risks and achieve the same milestones you did.
5. Make sure your child can advocate for themselves
Rather than intervening whenever your child comes across a problematic situation, teach them to stand up and speak up for themselves. This way, you don’t need to always be there every time your child encounters a hiccup. They'll develop more grit the more they become their own advocates. Still, there are times when intervening can be absolutely necessary like in potentially more serious cases, but make sure you allow them to try to solve the problems first for the most part.
It can be hard for parents to let go of the anxieties and worries that come with allowing their children to fully participate in the real world, especially without monitoring their kids’ every move. Some parents think they know what’s best for their child and might have a tendency to do things for them, but letting your child figure things out on their own is the best way to teach them valuable life lessons.
At some point, handholding will not let them evolve as much as they should. Giving children the opportunity and space to make mistakes and to learn from them is essential for children’s growth, and they will grow into better adults because of this.