I believe all of us with children want the very best for them. We nurture them. We want them to grow big and strong. We want to give them things that maybe we didn’t have as children. Perhaps we grew up with lots of advantages and want our children to have as much or more than we had growing up. We also want our children to have terrific experiences – to travel, play sports, have friends and plenty of toys.
Is all this providing for our children backfiring on us?
Are we giving our children so much that we are not enabling them to do for themselves?
When our children move out on their own we DO want them to be able to take care of themselves. Are we giving them, teaching them tools to be able to accomplish that?
Sometimes, I believe, all this helping our children makes them rely on us rather than on themselves. When they are very young, it’s true, they need all the help and guidance they can get.
However, will they learn to pack their backpack with all they need for school the next day if we parents are always doing it for them?
I submit that it’s better beginning when they are 7 or 8 years old to ask them if they have everything they need for school the next day. You can even ask them to double check their room for anything they may have forgotten. In the beginning, make a checklist with your child of the things you know they will need for school every day. Ask them to review their checklist to see if they have everything. This way you, the parent, are not remembering for them. If, when they get to school and find they have left something at home please do NOT get in your car and deliver it to them. Let your child learn to bring everything with them. If you jump to their rescue and deliver the forgotten item to school you are letting them know that it’s not important for them to remember and be responsible for their own things.
Also, isn’t it better that your child learns these small lessons at a young age when the lesson doesn’t have far reaching consequences?
Hovering over your child and doing things, remembering things for them is called helicopter parenting.
Helicopter parents do not let their child do as many things on their own as is possible; even when the children are teenagers and young adults. These parents still make phone calls on behalf of their children.
Some of these children grow up to be young adults without coping skills.
Some of these young adults are not good at doing chores. Why should they be? They’ve rarely had to do any around the home they grew up in. They don’t know where to start when it comes to basic household skills like doing dishes, picking up after one’s self, laundry, dusting, and more.
For all you parents of young children start involving your children in basic chores. Let them help you do dishes, fold laundry, run the vacuum. Ask them to pick up their room!
I co-authored two books for young children (ages 3-5) on this very topic. The books are titled: Suzie’s Messy Room and Benji’s Messy Room. These books are terrific to engage small children in the chore of picking up their room. We (the authors) turned that chore into a game!
I was guilty of being a helicopter parent at times. I remember helping my children pack their backpacks, packing lunches for them – to save time – because it took them FOREVER to get around to doing these things on their own. My children are grown now. One of my sons is really self-sufficient. The other relies heavily on parental help.
What kind of parent are you? Try to avoid being helicopter parents, hovering over your children. Instead be kind, caring, considerate good providers teaching your children basic life skills so as they grow up and out of your homes they can rely on themselves.