I’m trying to figure this one out, where is the line between being a helicopter parent, and being a concerned and involved parent with our kids? I know that I am naturally going to be more overprotective with my oldest child, and then more lenient with each subsequent child, I’ve already seen that play out with my daughter and my son.
I’m not one to hover around my kids at the playground and make sure they don’t trip or fall at all, of course I do watch out if they are doing something that might be dangerous. And it kind of annoys me when I see other parents that can’t let their kids more than a foot away from them. In fact a new study shows that kids with helicopter parents don’t play or explore as much at the park as other kids do. But, everyone is certainly entitled to parent in the way they believe is best for their child.
So, I’m trying to figure out when I should get involved with things in my kids’ lives and when I should just stand back. There haven’t been too many situations in their young lives, but one I’ve been thinking about recently is the snack that they offer at my daughter’s school. Every day she tells me she eats animal crackers for snack. Now, not that there is anything really wrong with animal crackers (don’t even get me started on them serving fruit loops for breakfast at school! But we figured that one out.), it’s just that I know some of other classes serve more nutritious snacks like carrots and raisins. So am I being over-involved if I were to ask the teacher about providing a healthier snack option?
And then there’s the problem of other helicopter parents. One of my main issues is when my kids might be affected by other kids with helicopter parents. If you’re not out there advocating for your child, and protecting them, then there is a real possibility that they could get overlooked, or even burned, because of kids whose parents are hovering over them, making sure they get the best of the best, and none of the worst, in any situation.
For example, let’s say that in high school my daughter is an average soccer player (like I was), but she really wants to play soccer and she works hard. What if there is only one spot left on the team, and she is up against a player whose mother is constantly in the coach’s ear telling him that her daughter (who is also an average soccer player, and maybe less hard working because her mom does all the hard work for her) needs to be the one that gets that spot. Does my daughter get cut just because the coach doesn’t want to have to answer to that mom? Or because I’m not pushing the coach to put her on the team?
I’m pretty sure I don’t, and probably won’t, fall into the helicopter category. I am purposely trying to avoid being an over-involved parent, but I do wonder if in trying not to be over-involved, I am not even being involved enough? And will my kids have to deal with the consequences if I am not out there advocating (pushing) for every thing for them?
I know as a parents of toddlers we need to be more involved with our kids lives at this stage, but I think the habits that we form now and the ways that we interact with our kids will shape our relationship with them as we move into the future. I’m trying to figure out how to walk that thin line between involved parent and helicopter parent.
What do you think about helicopter parents? Where is the line between being a good, involved parent, and an over-bearing, over-involved helicopter parent?
Photo source: George M. Groutas/flickr