Back Off, Helicopter Parents!
January 27, 2012
Filed under Opinions
Dear helicopter parents, it might be time to loosen the reigns on the sore throat of your suffocating child.
Helicopter parents, for those unaware of the term, are adults who continuously indulge in overly strict parenting methods, and who constantly keep close tabs on their teen’s every move.
As teenagers age, they come to desire more freedom and independence; it’s only natural.
There is some driving force within us to act like adults but with less responsibilities at the moment.
We haven’t left our training wheels but we still want to cycle up that big hill without Mom or Dad pushing us up every time.
It’s time we learn to elongate our new wings and prepare for flight before eventual departure from the nest.
Sometimes we will do silly things, say something we don’t mean, or just sit down and cry out of frustration at harsh circumstances.
The beauty of humanity is the absence of perfection but the infinite room for opportunity.
There must be a balance in parenting between freedom and discipline so that it doesn’t produce the opposite effect of its original intention.
That means that if parents constantly suppress their teenagers, soon they will start to rebel to compensate for the lack of independence.
If you don’t let your kids have sleepovers, wear the clothes that they like, read the books they want to read without them reading them first; paint their nails or shave their legs; spend time with friends without close supervison; walk outside the house after 4pm, have a cell phone, or if they do, you constantly are calling and texting to know of their whereabouts, it gets tiresome and is a little too extreme.
This just encourages your kids to compensate and find quiet ways to live under the radar of their helicopter parents.
Sometimes parents participate a little too much in their kids’ lives.
That is not to say that it is not out of love, but out of respect these parents should give a little breathing room.
While bad behavior should result in proper discipline in order to establish social ethics, it can be easy to quickly push over that edge to extremities.
Especially at the high school age, it is crucial for your teenager to learn to think and act for themselves.
They are leaning towards adulthood now, it’s time to be a little more lenient.
Maybe that means you should put your poor child’s phone down, stop reading their text messages, and go watch that recorded episode of “The Bachelor” you missed last night.
There isn’t a kinder way of saying, “give them some space and get back to your own life; quit living vicariously through your child by trying to influence every decision that they make.”
If a helicopter parent engages in such ridiculous behavior, how is their kid going to learn how to live on their own?
What about if they go to college?
Are you going to move into their apartment when they’re 25 years old and still call every hour and regulate any communication?
For those in the extreme cases, it is time to back off.
Of course, this doesn’t mean let your kids run wild.
Everything in moderation.