My kids were on the train platform about to board the train to see their grandparents 3 hours north of where I would be. I looked at them and felt typical mama bear fear that they would get lost, miss the connecting train, lose their phones or something worse. But, right behind that feeling of fear was pride. I was so deeply proud of their willingness to take on this challenge and to test their navigating skills. I admit, I am odd. I get a high when my kids figure out problems on their own and without my help. One of my proudest moments was when my then-9-year-old daughter found a circuitous way to get home when she had lost her metrocard (her journey involved visiting her grandparents, a local pizza shop and asking police for help).
Don’t get my wrong, I am also the mom who brings my kids their backpacks when they forget them and do TOO much for them that they can do themselves.
But, I am most proud when I can see them figure out a situation themselves.
I was recently interviewed for an article in Good Housekeeping on “helicopter parenting,” the shaming label we throw around these days like we used to throw around words that we would no longer dare to utter.
Helicopter parenting doesn’t take into consideration the nuances of parenting. There are times when we need to be on top of our kids and there are times when we need to give them room to make mistakes and learn from them.
As I say in the article, if we are too hovering then “They don’t get to exercise the muscle of trying out problem-solving strategies. They don’t get to figure out the life skills of how to get out of a sticky situation on their own.” But, also “There are times when our kids need us to intervene. Kids need their parents as their primary attachment figures. They need their parents to be keeping a watchful eye, but they also need to know that the eye is from across the room and not over their shoulder.”
I would love to hear your experience with helicopter parenting.
Have people labeled you with that title before? Have you been worried you were too protective? Not protective enough?
Remember, when we share we shed shame, so let’s shed!!!