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Are you a helicopter parent? The parenting method taking the first world countries by storm.

Welcome to my second blog in the series “How to create a successful home environment for the new school year” In this blog I focus on the negative effects of the well publicised form of parenting: Helicopter Parenting.

Helicopter parenting is a term used to describe a method of parenting that involves constant monitoring of a child’s experiences. The use of the word “helicopter” describes the parent’s behaviour of hovering above their child through their play, behaviour, sport and educational experiences.

A ‘helicopter parent” of a toddler may always direct what their child plays with, gives them limited alone time and constantly ensures that all activities that the toddler engages in are educational. In primary school they may constantly be up at the school speaking to the class teacher, ensures that their child gets a particular teacher or coach, selects the child’s friends and is extremely involved in homework and school projects.

There are several problems with this style of parenting:

1. The child develops low self esteem and confidence

The child will believe that they are unable to complete tasks without parent assistance. They do not believe in their own ability as they have never been given the opportunity to problem solve.

2. Low coping skills

The child will not develop their own coping skills to be able to cope with loss, disappointment, or failure. Parents who are always fixing their child’s messes or removing obstacles that might cause any discomfort for their child inhibits them from learning this vital skill.

3. High anxiety

The child will become very anxious when they are presented with a situation which they are not familiar with and that would require them to work out problems on their own. They will not like to be in a new environment where there are lots of unknowns.

4. Undeveloped life skills.

A ‘helicopter parent’ who is always assisting their child in everyday skills will inhibit that child in developing their independence. They will not develop life skills at the same rate as their peers as they are never given the opportunity to practise these skills independently.

So how do we ensure that our children become resourceful, resilient and equipped for our world? We need to land those choppers and follow these 9 simple ideas to combat helicopter parenting.

1. Take 17 seconds

When your child is frustrated or finding it difficult to solve a problem, wait 17 seconds before interfering. Children need to experience frustration in order to think of a solution. By interrupting prematurity you do not allow your child to have the opportunity of developing their problem solving skills.

2. Chores

choresAll children from 2 years of age need to contribute to the household. There are a variety of chores that children can do depending on their age. A child needs to learn the importance of hard work and working cooperatively with others.

3. Failing

Children need to experience the feeling of failure. Whether it is a bad result from an assignment, getting in trouble for not bring their instrument to class or coming last in a running race. It is up to the parents to explain that this will not be the first time that the child will feel disappointed and upset. They need to work out a way to make them feel better and learn from their mistakes.

4. Getting dressed

clothesA child needs to learn this essential skill from a young age. From the age of 2 years old a child should be able to put on and take off their underwear, pants, loose fitting shirts and shorts. Although it is faster for a parent to assist, a child needs time and praise to master this life skill.

 

5. Sibling arguments

fighting shirtIn every household that has more than one child there is probably not a day that goes past without an argument between the siblings. This is a normal part of development for children however what we do as parents can influence the rate of development. Children need time to work it out themselves. We can not always be the umpire but be there if they want some help. The help is in the form of suggestion so the child still has the control of their own actions. When all else fails you could always try the shirt in the picture to force your children to work it out independently.

6. Putting things away

put away clothesEvery person in a household needs to be responsible for their own things. If you get it out you need to put it away. This is not only for toys but should also apply to clothing. A child as young as 2 years old will be able to put away their own clothing if the drawers are at their height.

 

7. Putting on shoes

ShoesTeaching a child to put on their own shoes will save a lot of time in the future. Use a sticker that is cut in half so children can quickly identify which shoe goes on which foot.

 

8. Pack own bag

A child needs to be responsible for packing their own bag. They need to know what they need for each day. They could have a visual checklist to remind them what they need for each school day.

9. Handing in notes

notesHaving a spot in the home for all school notes will help the home be very organised. It is up to the child to give notes to the parent and give any notes to school. If they forget, it will need to come down to a “life lesson”

I would like to finish this blog with a quote from Ann Landers.

” It is not what you do for your children, but what you have taught them to do themselves, that will make them successful human beings”

Please share this blog to combat the rapidly increasing parenting method of “helicopter parenting”. It is so prevalent in schools today that our children are suffering as a consequence.

Until next time …

Kelly Pisani

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