I recently stumbled upon an article on Ideas.Time.com written by Paul Tough. Here’s the link: http://ideas.time.com/2012/09/05/why-grit-is-more-important-than-grades/
I suggest reading it as it sparks great topics for reflection and discussion- as both a parent and an educator.
I’m struck by the statement that denying kids of character building experiences (situations in which they fail/disagree/forget something, etc.) can “lead to difficulties in adolescence and young adulthood, when overprotected young people finally confront real problems on their own and don’t know how to overcome them (Tough, 9/5/12).”
The article by Tough, really hits on the role of the parent. How our expectations and desires for our kids to succeed doesn’t allow our kids to cope with situations and circumstances- whether positive or negative.
We all know the situations: Forgotten homework, Oversleeping, Disagreements with peers, etc. The SUPER PARENT comes to the rescue, bringing homework or lunch to school, calling in with excuses so your child won’t be tardy, or even lying for your kids, or “fixing” the problem so your child won’t feel disappointed or hurt. It sounds so silly when you look at it from the outside, but it is SO easy to get sucked into HOVER MODE.
My oldest son is 4- in Pre-K, and I have already had that moment of, “Oh Crud, I’m that mom who forgot it was picture day!” While my son walked into school with sweats, Crocs, and a Tee with a massive dinosaur on the front, the other kids walked in dressed to impress in their cutest outfits.
I (embarrassingly) asked him if he wanted me to go bring him other clothes. Obviously more worried about how his attire made ME look, rather than thinking about what’s important to TJ. (Is picture day really that important for me to interrupt his school routine with a clean-cut shirt and freshly pressed pants?- NO!) Thankfully, my son saved me from being a helicopter parent that day. HE likes his dino Tee, and HE was fine with wearing it. So I had to suck it up- It’s not about me… It’s not about me… It’s about him! Period.
How, as a parent have you found yourself HOVERING or RESCUING rather than ALLOWING your child to learn consequences and coping strategies that are necessary to grow and succeed?
Or even, how often do we as parents, change or modify our children’s behavior, appearance, or circumstances because we’re afraid of how it will make US look?
What are some resources or tricks you’ve used to save yourself from becoming that Helicopter Parent?
I know, both from working with parents as a teacher, and now being one myself, that we parents are not ill-intentioned. We really do want our kids to succeed, to be happy, and to grow into confident and responsible men and women. It is just important that we remember we are NOT our kids saviors and super heroes. We are their parents, through good and bad, success and failure, late assignment slips and honor rolls. We are parents. Period.
Thanks, Paul Tough for some much needed reflection!
See my reflections from the teacher angle in my next post: https://preachteach.com/2012/11/23/community-bucket/