The Helicopter Mom
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Let’s face it, parenting is one of the toughest jobs out there. Always worrying no matter what you do. Am I hovering? Am I encouraging independence? Too much independence? How do you protect them but not shelter them?
SO MANY QUESTIONS.
No matter what anyone will tell you there isn’t a “perfect parent” out there. We are all going through this crazy journey called parenthood (kinda together). Since kids don’t come with a manual we can learn from each other and our different experiences and common parenting pitfalls.
- Are you hovering?
We all want to keep a close eye on our kids. Especially when you are out and about in a store or even at the park, it’s a natural protective instinct. However that being said you don’t want to be that annoying helicopter mom.
SOLUTION: Give your child space
Hovering too closer does not give your child space to grow and learn on their own. Studies show self sufficient kids become self sufficient adults. They have higher confidence, great problem solving skills, and better coping skills. There will come a day when sadly enough they won’t need us anymore and will have to know how to navigate this crazy world. No harm in keeping an eye on them but at a distance.
- Do you look for comfort in your child when you are upset?
I think we are all guilty of taking comfort in our little ones. That emotional bond you have is like no other. Although, as the parent, we can’t be weighing down our kids with adult problems, they will deal with their own fair share of that when they get older. Let them be kids and as hard as it may seem put on the brave face and keep going.
SOLUTION: Don’t rely on your child for emotional support
Sometimes it is really hard to draw the line in the sand of being your child’s friend, and also parent. If you have a more mature child it can be easy to cross the line. Often kids can carry on adult conversations, most of the time though they lack the emotional maturity of fully understanding situations and emotions.
- Do you have any hobbies?
As moms, it’s tempting to share every milestone and exciting activity your child does on social media. While this is great (and you SHOULD certainly feel proud of you kid’s accomplishments!), it’s also important you enjoy your own interests as well. Many of us find profound fulfillment in motherhood, yet, in 18 years, when our kids go to college, we may be left with a sense of loss and loneliness.
SOLUTION: Explore interests outside of being a Mom
It is so important to cultivate our own interests. It’s also important for the wellbeing of our kids, so we don’t live vicariously through them. Kids need their own interests and their own time to be kids. It’s easy to get wrapped up in cheering your kids on at sporting events or urging them to take ballet, swimming and other lessons you missed out on as a kid. We want our kids to achieve and have all we didn’t. We put our biggest hopes and dreams into our child, but it’s important we still focus on activities we enjoy on our own. Not only will it help you become a well-rounded individual, but also it will lessen the pressure on your kids to live up to extreme expectations.
- When you’re in a bad mood does everyone know about it?
when we’re in a bad mood or frustrated, it’s hard not to let our stress spill over into our kids. When this happens we create a “trickle down” effect. Yet, we may wonder why everyone else is crabby and cranky too. Mama ain’t happy nobody is.
SOLUTION: Remind yourself mom sets the tone
When it comes to the mood of the day, mom sets the tone. It’s up to you to create a positive atmosphere! It’s up to us as parents to be examples of a can-do attitude and an ability to deal with whatever life throws our way. Now, it’s not reasonable to expect we’re never going to experience a bad day or feel annoyed. The important part is we don’t pass our irritation on if we can help it. Don’t hesitate to take a break or give yourself a little “timeout” so you can reevaluate and approach the situation with a calm, understanding attitude.
- When your kid has a problem do you jump in to fix it?
To help your kids build coping skills you must let them experience dilemmas and opportunities to make mistakes. It’s hard! We all want to shield our kids from pain, and mistakes are simply that—painful and stressful. It’s hard to resist your mom instinct to sweep in and fix the problems for them.
SOLUTION: Remind yourself problems build character
When we hold back and let kids figure stuff out on their own, they gain confidence. They also build coping skills and the ability to think creatively. Kids who are faced with problems build problem solving skills and become innovators. Before you rush in to help your child, allow them to struggle a little and see what solutions they come up with on their own.
Independent kids learn to become successful adults. They have life skills to carry them through their time at college, in their first apartment, relationships and jobs. These leadership skills are some of the most valuable traits we can help our kids develop. The next time you feel the urge to swoop in and “fix” or “help” your kids in a situation, take a breath and wait it out. You and your child might learn a thing or two in the process!