I admit it I am a Helicopter parent, but the strange thing is I only do this with my first child, my now 13 year old son! I have two daughters, lovely, boisterous and prone to getting into messes, but I do not ‘buzz’ over them. I realised my ‘handicap’ only when my son and I had the following conversation:
Me: So how was school? What did you do?
Me: Ok…I want details, who did you play with, how was lunch, did anyone bother you?
Bilal (yes imagine that look on his 13 year old face): Mom!!!
Me: Well, I just want to know, are there bullies at your school, should I come and talk to your principal?
My daughter: Mama, this kid at school ate my lunch, and..
I interrupt her, I needed to find out what happen at Bilal’s school. He wasn’t talking to me. I am by this time hyperventilating. It must be Bilal’s lucky day as my husband walks in.
Bilal: Baba (dad) please make her stop, she is asking me about school again.
I think, ‘again’ what does that mean?
Yes, the light bulb sparked, I was over parenting, and that too a 13 year old! Me! I couldn’t believe it. So, this is a guide to help you recognise if you are a helicopter parent.
1. Do you do everything for your child?
Do you actually pick up after your child, make your 9 year old her sandwich, tying your 6 year old’s shoes? If your answer is yes, then you are 20% there. Give your child room to learn and make errors. Think about how at age 7 you actually did so much more for yourself.
2. Do you find that you are upset when your child fails?
Your child’s failure seems like it is actually your personal defeat? Step back, breathe and think how you are projecting your ambitions/goals onto your child. Maybe he doesn’t want to be the future Dr. Bla Bla who saves the world, maybe he is happy being 13 and enjoying the summer hanging out with buddies.
3. Is your child anxious in new situations?
Your child wants you along on every outing, to a visit at a friend’s or a birthday party. She doesn’t feel she can ask the waiter for a coke on her own. She waits for you to tell the doctor what is wrong when you visit, even though she is 9 and it is normal that kids talk to the doctor themselves. Develop confidence in your child, this will have to be in small baby steps at first, have her buy ice cream on her own, stand a few feet away. Then get adventurous – the world is your oyster.
4. Every moment of your child’s day has been planned by YOU.
Stop! Just let kids be free and encourage their creativity. Read https://tasuvali.wordpress.com/2013/05/27/is-time-really-money/ it will outline how kids need time to just be. Vegging out is actually good. Enjoy each other’s company, read together, go hiking, play games – monopoly is such a family time joy. I always lose (because I suck at monopoly) and my kids love it, they gang up against me and this makes the sibling bond stronger.
5. You are obsessed that your child be ‘ahead’ for his age:
You enrol him in numerous programs/courses so he can be better at school. Chill, and let your child chill. He is special, and with time he will discover his unique talent and excel at that, all on his own. The best part is that he will enjoy it and thank you for not forcing him.