10 tips for helicopter parents
Parents need to remember that it’s their responsibility to teach their child the skills necessary to become an independent adult. Growing from child to independent adult is a developmental process, and it’s a parent’s role to support this process throughout a child’s life.
It’s never too late to foster independence. Pulling back and allowing a child to make developmentally appropriate decisions, problem-solve and even make mistakes are important milestones. Pull back and allow things to unfold, such as not interfering with sibling and friend disputes; that’s how children learn to negotiate, share and compromise.
Allow a child to be disappointed. For example, if a child isn’t fully engaged in a sport, he cannot expect to start at the games, or perhaps even play or make the team. And, yes, it’s difficult to watch a child who doesn’t make the team or doesn’t get played, but it’s also an opportunity for a child to learn what’s important and decide how much effort he wants to expend on his interests. Attempting to influence a coach’s decisions when a child isn’t motivated to improve does not help a child; it only reinforces the belief that “I don’t have to practice; my mom will take care of it.”
Give reminders once. When children are a certain age, approximately 7 and older, parents can begin to remind them only once regarding rote routines. If the child ignores the reminder, then he has to suffer the consequences of not having his art smock or sneakers on gym day.
Accept that it’s not yours to fix. Parents cannot fix a child’s daily life struggles. Instead, parents can coach him on the best way to handle a difficult situation and allow him to make the final decision.