The world is a scary place now because of the information that we get in an instant. Social media is to thank for the ease of access to information, but thirty years ago it wasn’t so easy. Children played in the streets and went out with their friends from sun up until sun down. They went over to neighbor's homes to play and enjoy sleepovers with friends and this isn’t the world that we live in right now. We are too informed about the dangers in the world and information is scary, which makes almost every mother a helicopter without even meaning to be. The problem is that there are parents that can hover too much. Teachers in schools set homework for the children to do, and the parents end up doing it for them so that their work can be the best. Children don’t get the chance to spread their wings and go for that sleepover, because parents haven’t seen the background check of the neighbors. No matter what children are doing, parents are always ready to catch them.
Here is the thing: children are GOING to fall down. Children are GOING to fail at their homework sometimes. Children are GOING to fall out with their friends. Parents can only do so much to protect them while still trying to prepare them for the big bad world out there. There is not one parent out there that doesn’t mean well; all parents mean well when it comes to their children. We don’t want them to be hurt by anyone or anything. It’s why we invest in the correct car seats, such as the ones mentioned on The Burp Cloth, and we argue with others who aren’t using those car seats. It’s why we invest our time in learning the rules of a safe crib before our babies are born, so that we don’t put them at risk of anything. It’s also why we carry first aid kits in our handbags, so that plasters are at the ready even in the park. Parents should always get involved in their children’s lives as a positive beacon among all the confusion of growing up. They should help their children to understand what is safe around them, instead of hovering over them and snatching anything remotely unsafe away. It means hanging back at the park, so that if they struggle on the climbing frames, they get the chance to learn how to get through it rather than be rescued.
Being a helicopter parent can be damaging. There is a fine line between saving your children from falling down and carrying them on and off the playpark equipment. Hovering around and waiting for your children to fail is going to give them a complex that they shouldn’t have to try, because mom and dad will be there to pick up the pieces. There are so many different reasons that parents are compelled to be overprotective when it comes to their children. Sometimes it’s down to their own anxieties that their children aren’t going to be happy all the time – but what child is happy every day? So, what are the most common reasons that parents are overprotective of their children?
Control. When you’ve spent the first year of your child’s life keeping them fed, warm, clean and happy, it can be hard to let them take those first steps without the million pillows on the floor to catch them when they fall. Parents can’t control terrorists. We can’t control the killers or the pedophiles that we read in the newspaper on an almost daily basis. We can’t control the bullies at school when we are at work. However, we can control where are children play and with whom they play.
Speed. Most parents take over whatever their children are doing because it’s easier than waiting for their child to do something at a snail’s pace. Shoelaces, clothes, eating food; it’s always easier to take over and do it for them. It’s nice, but it’s the best way to hinder your children from learning how to do something themselves.
Failure. Parents may seem like superheroes to their children, but they’re the ones that fear failure the most. We don’t want our children to feel inadequate or wrong for even a moment. The thing is, failures build character. They help our children to learn the right way to do things and they ensure that we are doing everything we can to help them learn. Even if we do have to bite our hands off to stop interfering.
Acceptance. There are a group of helicopter parents out there that want to live vicariously through their kids. They get invested in school projects and they won’t allow their children to get involved, as they want to be accepted by the school community. It’s hard for some parents to realize that they have had their time, and this is their child’s time to be in the spotlight.
Parenthood is hard. You are constantly bombarded by safety regulations and rules and then told to step back and stop being protective. The real difficulty is to find the balance between protectiveness and hovering; once you find it, live it. Your children will thank you for it.