Do you always want to be there for your kid? Do you dream about your kid and you, happily ever after? Also, do you have nightmares about your kid getting hurt? Do you try to be where ever and whenever your kid is? Do you wish even schools would let parents stay? Do you not have a life apart from those moments with your kid? Congratulations! You are officially a member of the helicopter club.
Liat Hughes Joshi’s book “5 minute parenting fixes” has a lot to offer on everyday parenting. She writes “Essential things needed to help your child become a happy, well-functioning adult includes attention, but not too much! Your child should know they matter enormously to you but equally that the world doesn’t revolve around them all the time. They need attention to learn, to explore ideas, to build self-esteem and benefit from your guidance.”
Parents, sometimes unintentionally are too much in their kid’s life. They are so desperate to give their kids a good life that they never leave them alone. It is so daunting that kids can’t have a life, parents are not a part of. I absolutely call it an invasion of privacy.
“I’ll be watching you” by “The Police” was released in 1983. What they didn’t know was, it would make perfect sense even 35 years later. Just a little tweak to the situation in context and voila! You get the life story of a helicopter parent.
1. Every breath you take, Every move you make
In the very literal sense, a helicopter parent never leaves the child alone. They live in the apprehension that something bad will happen to their children. They carry antibacterial wipes in their pockets. They are the parents who finish their children’s school assignment. Their kids wear kneepads and helmets even to go down a slide.
And, if their children ate something without their knowledge and consent, they could go bonkers.
They are control freaks and they want to make every small decision for their kids, on their own terms. From the food kids eat to the clothes they wear, the toys they pick, the way they play and basically, everything.
Kids need to learn to make their own little decisions from a very small age. It helps them in the long run. Einstein.
2. Every bond you break, Every step you take, I'll be watching you
Quarrels are a part of any human interaction. They begin with siblings, and go on with parents, friends, colleagues, romances and of course, spouses. We all at times, think that the grass is greener on the other side and sometimes even dream of grabbing what the other person has. However we are adults and we know we can't go there.
But kids end up doing exactly what they should not be doing; snatching, grabbing, pushing and crying. And if the kid in question (or the victim according to them) is that of a helicopter parent, the war is on.
They want to do everything in their power to teach a lesson to the other kid (the one at fault) and the parents of that kid. They would even call the cops if it is socially acceptable. And as soon the leave the setting, they start advising their kids how much they don’t appreciate their choice of friends.
Knowing your kid’s bffs and buddies is awesome. With preteens and teens, knowing about their crushes, sweethearts and soul mates is absolutely five-star parenting. But, if only everyone could do that, the world would be a happier place. Isn't it?
3. Every single day, Every word you say, Every game you play, Every night you stay, I'll be watching you
All parents are protective of their children. But not the helicopter parents. They are overprotective. Because of their fear, their children miss out on park outings, messy play times, eating out, parties, play dates, swimming pools, movies, joy of bus and train rides, animal interactions and even miss school during “flu season”, all because of getting hurt or sick because of other kids. And sleepovers just kill them altogether. Even if their kids are allowed to participate in anything, the parents are watching them like a hawk.
All I want to say here is that all activities I mentioned are extremely important for a child. They are crucial for kids of all age for both their physical and emotional well being.
4. Oh can't you see, You belong to me, My poor heart aches, With every step you take, Every move you make
We all tell our children off in our own subtle or not so subtle ways. We all get upset over something or the other with child. But the helicopter parent can show what being upset really means. Since they are such control freaks about their kids, they express their disappointed in a way that leaves an impact, every time.
They are heartbroken when their children disobey them or do something that is absolutely normal for other children, they don’t see it that way. Emotional blackmail is the word I’m looking for.
5. Every vow you break, Every smile you fake, Every claim you stake, I'll be watching you
As children reach preteens and teenagers, they look forward to some time off their families. They want to spend some time with their friends or simply with their phones. They just want to take some time off from their parents. Most of us value that.
However, our helicopter parents don’t like it. It’s like going through withdrawal for them.
They relentlessly force their kids to be with them always. And before you know it, this persistence turns into nagging. “Just please leave me alone for a second mum.”
Kids need their space as much as adults. Hovering over them all the time isn't a great idea. In my opinion, it's intimidating for the children. It could prevent kids from gaining independence and also rather shrink their confidence to face the world alone. Alternatively, it could even make them distant from parents and in general, indifferent towards family because, from what I have observed, children could congregate their feelings and almost always turn into rebels in no time. The result, they don't find it appeasing and hence, don't want to spend any time with the parents.
There are always limits and parents need to be aware and open to self realization and not cross the line. Children, in the ideal world, need to learn to sleep on their own, feed themselves, clean up their own mess and take responsibility. And the training, like everything else about life, begins at the very beginning.
In the words of Mark Twain " The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why." And we need to train our children to find the answer to that why. If I even influenced one person so end their concerned surveillance from their kids lives and let them grow as self sufficient humans, my job here is done.