More thoughts on sensible parenting and the trouble with hovering parents

The trouble with hovering parenting

The trouble with hovering parenting

A week ago, I shared my thoughts on what makes a resilient and perseverent kid, who can grow up to become a person armed with a no-can’t-do attitude. I would like to thank everyone who provided feedback and shared their own experience as a parent. In particular I’d like to say thanks to Kristen at Motherese for sharing a wonderful article from The Atlantic Monthly on this very topic.

I found this article quite insightful and the people I shared it with enjoyed reading it too, so I thought I may as well share the link to this article titled “How to land your kid in therapy” right here and see what you think. The main point of this article is, if you do everything to make your child’s childhood happy and as painless as possible, you may end up with an adult who can’t face challenges and failures. Go figure! As parents we all want our kids to be happy and enjoy life, but by doing that, they may not be happy and enjoy life as adults.  I especially like the part about organized sports, where coaches are starting to find ways to reward ALL of the kids on the team. Yes, it is getting that ridiculous.

Enjoy this very complete article and share it with other parents who want to do the best for their kids. Life is full of surprises, many of which can be unpleasant, so the biggest favor we can do our kids as parents  is to teach them how to best face the bumps on the road.

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6 responses to “More thoughts on sensible parenting and the trouble with hovering parents

  1. Wow a brilliant article. I’ve always been a believer in – how can you know what happiness is, when you’ve never experienced unhappiness?

    Those helicopter parents really freak me out. I, like you, put a lot of thought and effort into how I bring up my children.

    I compliment them a lot. I’m very affectionate. I discuss with them. And I do give them (some) choices. On the other hand when I say no, I mean no and they get it. I raise my voice when I need to. I demand respect but I also give it. I actively encourage competition between them. I listen to their feelings and then make my decision. I actively insist on free play (so many kids have no imagination and can’t appreciate the little things because their lives are completely organized for them – I see it a lot with my teenagers friends). I expect help in the house.

    On the other hand I do at times think I’m over-protective. Not when they fall and scrape their knee, but I do have issues with them experiencing even mildly dangerous situations. I have the feeling they need to do this more in order to learn how to survive. But I’m quite controlling there. That comes from my own issues – I’ve experienced a lot of death especially when I was younger and so it all feels very real for me that something can happen. I also taxi too much, especially things like a particular daughter calls me and has forgotten something and I then drive to school with it!! (Then I curse myself a lot). Despite that I think they can do a reasonable amount for themselves. Less than some but more than others.

    Thanks for the article – refreshingly full of common sense!!

    • I think being protective for safety purposes is OK, unless you still have to hold your children’s hands to cross the street when they turn 18!

      I had an ex co-worker who did everything for her kids all the time. One of them would forget his lunch money at least once a week and she’d run to the school (wasting 45 minutes of work) to get it to him. The other sometimes forgot his sports equipment for afternoon. I once suggested she does nothing and let them deal with the consequences, guessing they’d never forget that stuff again. You should have seen the shock on her face when I said that!

      And I hear you about free play, it really is the best promoter of imagination. So many kids can’t entertain themselves today, it’s very sad. I’ve never heard my kids say they were bored and I hope I never do.

      • I think I have fallen a bit into a hole in the sense that I’m at home (I would NEVER leave work/an appointment etc in order to take stuff to school). My daughter who has always forgotten her mobile phone goes to the SECRETARY and asks politely if she can use her telephone. They say yes and then I get the call. The school is like 3 minutes away in the car and although it takes me more time to get ready and get there, I feel mean saying no.

        I hear you on the saying no and the consequences – several times she’s called and I’ve not been in or I’ve had to say no because my husband had the car or I had to do something else or a friend was here. Then I could also say no without have a bad conscience and I thought the consequence of not having her stuff would ‘fix it’. It didn’t help at all.

        We had a talk about it and she does call less now than she used to. But I think it works a bit like when I ask her to make me a coffee, she does so without another thought. All of my kids are helpful. Often they have to be asked first and don’t think of it themselves (though not always) but they NEVER answer back or complain, they just do what I ask. I think she just thinks of it in the same way, but for me it’s about them being independent and if I run after each of them delivering stuff and driving them everywhere, I have no time and energy for anything else!

        And the forgetful one, has so far this year: lost her watch, forgotten her sports kit on the bus, had her grades reduced at school because she forgot to take her folder. (And the list goes on). It’s so bad I got her tested by a doctor to see if something was wrong with her memory. He told me she has a better than average memory!!
        And by the way my policy on lost stuff: I buy it once, after that you replace it with your own money. But she’s still a scatterbrain.

      • Wow, I hope my kids never pull the selective memory on me! I don’t mind doing them favors and I expect them to do the same for me, but yes, I draw the line at doing the same thing over and over for them so they stay dependent. My husband told me he has a female co-worker whose son is 22 years old. He’ll call her at work to ask for directions while he’s driving!!! His mom is way too nice to tell him to figure it out on his own, but you’ve got to admit this is ridiculous! :-)

  2. Another great post! Thanks for the link. I know what is being written by you and the other authors is true I just have to discipline myself to take the step back and allow my kids to learn for themselves. I know I still have a long way to go!

    • I think there’s nothing more fulfilling as a parent to watch your kid complete a task with ease when they had been struggling with it for a while. If we see a side of us as mentor, it does help to take a step back and provide support rather than doing it ourselves.

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