Are you a ‘Helicopter Parent’?

Parents always worry about their children. It’s part of the job description. But do we worry more than we need to? Marist College Kogarah Counsellor, Nick Ludgate, considers ‘how much is too much?’

Our biological urge to intervene, interject, hover, over-indulge or over-protect our children can hinder their capacity to develop resilience. It’s a path that many parents tread when they ought to step back and let things run their course.

Over-parenting actually does more harm than good. It can cripple your child’s capacity to develop resilience.

Bad stuff happens. It is an inescapable part of being human. However, it is important to keep in mind that our response to the hurt, sadness and disappointments of life is what develops our character and builds resilience.

The ability to be able to pull oneself up, dust oneself off and keep going in the face of adversity is important. It can be tough to take a step back and let your children fend for themselves. But it is crucial.

‘Helicopter parents’ who hover and do too much for their children are actually doing more harm than good, because they rob them of opportunities to ‘bounce back’ from life’s knocks, resolve problems, and to become independent.

Here are 12 steps to overcome your urge to be a helicopter parent:

  • Don’t mistake a snapshot of your child’s life for an epic movie!
  • Before you nag, criticise, praise or over-explain, remember the slogan W.A.I.T.: “Why am I Talking?”
  • Be alert, but not alarmed.
  • Don’t confuse children’s wants with their needs.
  • Recognise that your child’s grades are not a measure of your worth as a parent.
  • Learn to love the words ‘trial’ and ‘error’ – let your child make mistakes.
  • Grant your children freedom according to their individual responsibility and accountability ¬– not what the other kids are doing.
  • Accept your child’s nature even if he/she is shy, stubborn, moody, or not great at Maths!
  • Resist taking the role of chauffer, butler, concierge, talent agent or prosecute! Your child is hardwired to be competent.
  • When your child doesn’t make the team, get a big part in the school play, or join the ‘in-group’, remind yourself that disappointments are a necessary preparation for adult life.
  • Don’t take it personally if your teenager treats you badly. He/she is getting ready for the journey of life.
  • Don’t fret, and don’t try to fix what is not broken.

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