Like most of us, you’ve probably heard the term helicopter parent, and had a bit of a laugh at the visual of a mum or dad hovering protectively over a child at all times. While as a parent it can be all too easy to have a tendency towards overprotectiveness, it’s important to remember that children need to be able to have fun, explore, be challenged and make mistakes on their own.
Resilience in children is a learned attribute, they learn from trying, failing and achieving. If they are constantly told what to do, where to go and how to do it when they get there; will they be armed with the thought processes required for future decision-making? Always stepping in to aid your children can prevent them learning, and set them up for believing they may not be able to achieve on their own, eroding their sense of confidence.
In an article published by NBC News, US behavioural scientist professor Chris Segrin said over-parenting can keep children from developing their own strengths and skills. “When we do not give the child the freedom to try on his or her own and maybe fail on his own, he doesn’t develop the competency that children who fail learn,” he told NBC.
It can be hard to not hover over your children. But give your kids credit for being able to tackle decision-making processes regarding things being “too hard” or “too risky” themselves, rather than stepping in. It may be the best gift you can give your children, and can help them become more assured, more willing to stand out from the crowd without feeling self-doubt if they face failure, and give them joy from achieving success on their own terms.
Helping your children develop and grow, and giving them the life skills they need, may mean you have to step back a little and allow your kids to stand or fall on their own.