When you think about the future of your kids are you relieved or are you anxious? Or are you both at the same time? Relief probably indicates that your child is fairly independent and wise when it matters.
Anxiety, on the other hand, could be due to a string of bad decisions by your child or perhaps just a few bad decisions that worried you? Maybe your child has made no bad decisions but you’re generally anxious about the people you love, does that sound familiar?
If the latter is true you should take a step back and objectively view children as their own person. Give your child a chance, they might just surprise you.
What is helicopter parenting?
Helicopter parents are always hovering over their children protecting and advising even when the situation is something that the child can tackle alone. This limits their independence and stifles their ability to integrate into society with ease since their parent usually steps in to fight their battles.
Helicopter parents usually want to keep their children within eyeshot or want to be informed of exactly where their child is at every moment. While these actions are out of concern, they limit the child’s independence and opportunities.
How can a parent stop hovering over their kids?
There are a few steps any helicopter parent can use to break the cycle:
- Make a list of everything that you do for your children that they could do for themselves.
- Now, look at everything on that list and stop doing those things one by one, starting with things that are easy to let go off. As you watch them complete these tasks with no help, your confidence in their abilities will grow.
- Let them do those things they’ve been asking permission for. Those tasks, which you realize are not really dangerous to them but were only denied due to the anxiety it causes you. Maybe let them take a short bus ride all by themselves or let them go swimming without you swimming right beside them.
- Make them understand that you will not fix everything for them. If somebody called them a name, they should resolve it. If they got a bad grade, you won’t call the teacher and fight for the grade. They will have to learn to be their own person and fix their own problems.
- If they’re extremely used to you doing certain things for them even though they’re capable of doing it themselves and are adamant that you do it for them, remove yourself from the scenario. If they throw a tantrum, let them. Eventually, they’ll do what they must by themselves and they will be all the more independent for it.
Don’t give them too much space
In the end, remember that you’re not removing yourself as their parent or stepping out on them. You’re simply giving them room to grow and be themselves. You must still always be there to listen to your children and give them advice, simply remember not to step in if the task is something they can and should do for themselves.