BY DELILAH RODRIGUES
Do you hear your child crib about how overprotective you are? Or have your friends used phrases like “stop being over-controlling of your child’s eating habits” or “don’t smother that little thing”? If you have, then that my friend is a red flag. This means that you do in fact showcase tendencies of being a helicopter parent. This also means that you are taking excessive interest in the life of your child or children. It’s okay for a parent to take an interest and be involved in their child as a little baby who doesn’t differentiate between bad food and healthy food.
Also, I’m not doubting your parenting. But there is a fine line between protecting and supporting your child and hovering around them round the clock.
If you see yourself being the overbearing parent, it’s time to stop because helicopter parenting is known to do more harm than good. Researchers have found that children with overprotective parents have higher levels of anxiety, are underconfident and narcissistic. Here are a few things that helicopter parents do knowingly or unknowingly. These signs will help you determine if you are indeed a helicopter parent.
10 Signs that might tell you if you’re a helicopter parent:
1. You play the superhero card all the time
Your baby girl or boy is in a sticky situation. He/ she is finding it difficult to tie their shoelaces, open a jar or even find their school project that is due the following day. There you come, with your invisible cape, scrambling in to save the day for your little one.
2. You’re afraid of seeing them struggle or fail
There is no harm in offering to help with little things. But if you’re looking to raise a confident, independent human, you must let them experience the downfalls. We bet they will rise like phoenixes and learn tomes of lessons from their failings.
3. You want them to play it by the rule book
You may not be much of a risk-taker, but don’t expect your child to follow the same route. Teach them the importance of taking risks and moving away from their comfort zone.
4. You want to earn the ‘perfect parent’ badge
We all want to the best version of ourselves, especially when it comes to being parents. There is no denying that the pressure is real. But isn’t life about imperfections? Also, you aren’t going to be around every time your child is in a tough situation. So, let go sometimes and let them figure things out by themselves.
5. You have unrealistic expectations from your children
“I need nothing less than an A+”. “The sun in your art class assignment isn’t a perfect circle”. “You didn’t win the elocution competition!” Sounds familiar? Yes, we understand that you want your children to be all-rounders, so they can survive in the competitive world we live in, but have you ever asked them what they find joy in doing? Be considerate. Let them speak and ensure that you listen to them, even if you disagree.
6. You do the job for them, always
Whether it is arranging the study, stacking their toys, or even completing a school assignment or their homework. You are always available. Here’s the problem with this approach. While they are with you, you can do everything possible to make their life comfortable. What happens when they leave your nest and move on to being independent adults? Here’s the bad news: Your children will then find it extremely challenging to deal with day-to-day chores, let alone other tasks.
7. You are constantly watching them
On the playground, your right by the swing. Waiting to get a grip in case your child has a fall. On the football field, you’re waiting on the sidelines with a towel, a bottle of water, snacks, a change of clothes and whatnot. You’ve spent hours sitting outside art class. You are a doting parent, but there could be a high chance that your child may find this behavior a tad bit intrusive. After all, the friend doesn’t have his parents hovering around him/ her all day.
8. You don’t let them take responsibility
You need to understand that your children are capable of handling things by themselves. Let them take responsibility. Involve them in tasks around the house – feeding the dog, tidying up, watering the plants. Apart from learning life skills, this will give them a confidence boost and make them feel competent and responsible.
9. You don’t let them make decisions
No, we are not talking about life-altering decisions. Start with small things like picking clothes for the day, making a choice between a pizza and a plate of veggies. This will also help you assess if your child understands the difference between what’s good and bad. Thus, allowing you to train them to make the right choices from a young age.
10. You’re the ‘Alexa’ in their lives
When it comes to your children, you swear by the phrase “your wish is my command”. If you relate to this, then you definitely have traits of a helicopter parent. Of course, you want your children to have a wholesome childhood, but is it okay to say yes to everything? Learn to play the bad cop sometimes. Don’t give in to unreasonable requests.