Are You a Helicopter Parent? How to keep children safe.
What is a “helicopter parent?” Does this apply to you? How does it affect your child? What can you do?
The term “helicopter parent” gained frequency in the late 1990’s. It is used to describe parents who are overly protective, hyper-concerned, and excessively engaged in their children’s’ lives, sometimes to the point of being invasive. Parents tend to helicopter girls (approximately 13%) more than boys (approximately 5%), and mothers do most of the hovering.
Are YOU a helicopter parent? Do you find yourself:
1. Taking responsibility for getting your child ready for school, sports, and sleepovers?
2. Maintaining your child’s personal and school calendar?
3. Reminding your child more than once of his/her upcoming events?
4. Getting in the middle of relationships between your child and his/her friends?
5. Completing forms given to your child to do?
6. Working on school projects?
7. Intervening with teachers or coaches?
8. Very concerned about your child becoming injured during sports or playtime?
When a parent assumes control over a child’s personal responsibilities, it can result in the child developing feelings of ineptitude and inadequacy. Competence builds confidence. When children are not encouraged to manage themselves, they often sense that they are not competent.
Studies indicate that children of overprotective parents are reluctant to try new things. Helicopter kids are more anxious, self-conscious, and feel more helpless than children given more responsibility and freedom to make decisions. Helicopter parenting can stunt a child’s emotional growth and impede the development of personal management skills. Hovering parents can impede a child’s healthy movement towards independence. Parents can teach street safety for kidsin order to bring up anindependent child.
Here are some ways to overcome helicopter parenting and help your child develop feelings of self-confidence
1. Teach your child systems that will help with personal organization and foster self-reliance.
2. Discuss ideas on successfully managing school and social event schedules.
3. Hold your child responsible for preparing for activities and for being on time.
4. Allow your child to deal with the repercussions of being ill prepared or tardy, and give praise when missions are successfully accomplished.
5. If your son or daughter talks about their friends, give your full attention. Offer advice by using the “my experience” approach. For example, “when I was in that situation, I found…”
6. For difficult assignments, express confidence that your child will be able to manage the work. When asked for help, point out helpful resources. If an assignment is unclear, suggest that your son or daughter asks the instructor for clarification. Allow the child to do the work.
7. Resist getting involved in disputes with teachers, coaches, camp counselors, etc. Assume that these people are doing their best. Children learn maturity by navigating the tricky waters of all kinds of relationships, standing up for themselves, and realizing that the world is not always fair.
8. Encourage your child to take risks, go on adventures, make decisions, try new things, and learn to be independent. In normal childhood situations, resist the urge to intervene, take charge, or act hyper vigilant. Teach them about Stranger danger for kids.
Changing parenting behavior can be hard, but changing your fears for the safety of your child is harder. While still monitoring for safety, new personal security devices with GPS technologycan give your child a sense of freedom. These phone applications work by tracking your child’s actions.
Two such apps are Life 360 and Safetracer. Life 360 constantly monitors your child. Some children feel it is hovering in the extreme and that such scrutiny is a sign of a lack of confidence in every decision the child makes. Safetracer takes a different approach. By programming your approved route into your child’s phone, this iPhone app will alert you immediately if there is any deviation from that route. Whether the child is simply wandering off track, or there is a more sinister reason for the change, timely notification is crucial. Safetracer gives your child freedom, yet provides real time notification and complete follow up tracking if anything goes amiss. After all our preoccupation as parents is personal safety for children.
Express confidence in your child. You and your child will both benefit! Change your behavior and make “helicoptering” an exciting, aerial adventure – not your style of parenting.
We all know about stories of joggers getting followed, women walking home late experiencing unwanted attention, children getting lost and worse. But when I read about a woman who was abducted near Paris and researching further only to find that it was a rising global problem, we knew we could and should do something. There were heaps of other apps claiming to help but they all fell short. Not only did they track you and allow no privacy but they didn’t automatically alert friends and family and certainly not at the right time-when you were travelling.
We asked around our friends and family and they all said the same thing, they wanted a solution that only advises their loved ones when there was a problem and especially that no action was required by them-after all, who wants that stress when you are in dire trouble?
We have been developing and fine tuning this app ever since to respond to your needs. Not everyone will get abducted, but everyone needs peace of mind.