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Oregon Family Magazine

Are You Hovering Too Close?

02/28/2017 ● By Sandy Kauten

“Helicopter parenting” has become synonymous with “bad parenting” in our society. But truth be told, most parents have tendencies to stick close in one area of life or another with their kids. If you want to know where you may be hovering, consider the fears you have for your child - that they won’t be “successful” in adulthood, that they won’t develop close friendships, or that they will encounter physical dangers. Hovering tendencies follow our fears.

Check out the list below for other warning signs of helicopter parenting.

You knowing you’re coming too close to the no-fly zone with your kids if:

- You find yourself checking their grades online every day.  Over-attentiveness to your child’s academic life may make them feel you don’t believe they can handle it themselves. This sense of inadequacy combined with high parental expectations can lead to increased stress (and potentially decreased performance) for your child.

 - You have a habit of intervening in social settings. You want the best for them, but your presence may be pushing others away from your child. Unless your child’s safety is an issue, follow your child’s lead when it comes to their social life. Encourage them to invite other children over. And model proper social behavior. Then let go.

 - You regularly “rescue” your child. Taking forgotten lunches or homework time and again circumvents your child’s learning process. When you allow your child to experience a natural consequence like being hungry for an afternoon or taking a late grade, it acts as a deterrent in the future. But if your child comes to expect you will be there to “fix it” for them, they will not learn responsibility. The pains of childhood mistakes serve to prepare them for the inevitable pains of adult life. Be there to console and commiserate, not to bail out.

 We can’t protect our kids from everything. But we can offer to be available should our kids need us and let them decide when they want us to step in. Which turns out to be a more effective model for helping those we love succeed.