It’s natural for parents to want to protect their child. But helicopter parents might actually be doing more harm than good.
What are helicopter parents? They are the ‘supportive’, overprotective parents that hover over their children, ready to swoop in at the first sign of trouble. Typically known for ‘wrapping their child in cotton wool’.
See also: Lawnmower parents.
Lawnmower parents are known for following the traits of the commonly used garden tool. These parents will cut down any obstacle in their child’s way to prevent them from struggle, failure or having to deal with hardship.
What’s wrong with helping your child?
Obviously, there is nothing wrong with helping your child. But could protecting your child from all risk, challenges and failures result in a generation of children that lack resilience and the skills required to overcome disappointment and adversity?
The answer… absolutely. Now, this does not mean that every child with helicopter parents will grow up to be entitled and precocious. However, it CAN play a large part in how they develop these skills that they will need when they are in school, get a job and as an adult in general.
How you can avoid being lawnmower and helicopter parents
Firstly, this article is in no way saying to stop protecting your child from dangers. It is about finding that balance that allows your child to grow, discover and learn things without parental interference WHILE still protecting them.
· Let them try – whether it’s a tree they want to climb or a skateboard they want to ride… LET THEM TRY. Of course, you can tell them to be careful but learning from experience is a huge part of growing up.
· Let them make mistakes – you might have the urge to stop your child from making mistakes but it is essential that they understand that making mistakes isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Whether it is homework or something else entirely, mistakes will be made and they will help your child in the long term.
· Don’t let them always win – don’t be cruel and never let them enjoy a win, but don’t let them win just so they don’t feel disappointment. Not only will this teach coping skills for disappointment, it will also help them learn how to be a good sport and enjoy healthy competition.
· Don’t put your fears onto them – express your concerns, sure. But don’t put your fears onto them. This will only cause your child to become anxious and scared to try new things.
You can be a caring parent that wants to protect your child without taking away opportunities for them to grow and learn. But most importantly, let your child know you are there if they need you.