PARENTING: Helicopter Parenting

It is raining again today. Channing's school was closed yesterday but today it is open. Eric and I decided to keep Channing home today nonetheless. We decided that another day home from school would not impede her academic success. Another day home with her little brother would help her learn a different type of lesson. She is four years old and Chase is nineteen months. It's not too early to develop a love of playing with your sibling. Right? It's okay if she misses one day of counting, writing coloring and cutting? Do you agree?

In considering these questions I thought of an article that Eric recommended. It was about parenting; Helicopter Parenting to be exact. Helicopter Parenting according to Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia is a parent who pays extremely close attention to a child's or children's experiences and problems, particularly at educational institutions. The term helicopter parent was originally coined by Foster Cline and Jim Fay.[1] Helicopter parents are so named because, like helicopters they hover overhead.

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I wonder if I hover? I confess I am very particular when it comes to their appearance, supplies that they need and their environment. I spend energy on whether Channing's bows match her ballet leotard and whether Chase's flip flops coordinate with the plaid in his shorts. This is connected to the pressure I place on myself due to some family baggage, I know this. This is about me not the kids and definitely not Eric.
In terms of education, I am an educator, so there are academic posters outside of Channing's bedroom. The hallway to her room has every piece of work she has completed this school year so that she can see what she has learned in an effort to review concepts without actually having to sit down and reteach her. I am the mother that has bought the Fisher Price Grade One Workbook in the grocery store so that during Channing's free time we can begin to introduce these skills. Can I add that Channing is entering K-4 in September not Grade One.
If you click on one of the articles below, you will read I may be a budding helicopter parent.  However to my credit, I am also the mother who goes off into the distance to read my Kindle while Channing is at swimming lesson. I do not want her to see me to be distracted nor do I want the teacher to think I am watching her every move in order to criticize her teaching methods. In other words, I do not hover! At least not at the pool!

The first article is titled 'The Growing Backlash Against Overparenting' The link is below.,9171,1940697-1,00.html

After reading this article. These quotes touched my heart.

Honoré concludes.
"With children," he argues, "they need that space not to be entertained or distracted. What boredom does is take away the noise ... and leave them with space to think deeply, invent their own game, create their own distraction. It's a useful trampoline for children to learn how to get by."
'The revolutionary leaders are careful about offering too much advice. Parents have gotten plenty of that, and one of the goals of this new movement is to give parents permission to disagree or at least follow different roads. "People feel there's somehow a secret formula for parenting, and if we just read enough books and spend enough money and drive ourselves hard enough, we'll find it, and all will be O.K.," Honoré observes. "Can you think of anything more sinister, since every child is so different, every family is different? Parents need to block out the sound and fury from the media and other parents, find that formula that fits your family best."

The second article is called 'Helping or Hovering'. The link is below.

After reading the articles as a mother, I am still unsure of my position on overparenting. I only want the best for our children. I will sacrifice all that I have and do whatever it takes to ensure I provide and prepare them to be able to achieve the best. This is what my mother did and still does for me. I am forty years old and I know that my mother is still sacrificing for me and now her grandchildren, only because of her inextinguishable spirit as a mother.

Thank you for the trillionith (not a word) time Mummy.

However, as an educator I get it, I witness it on a daily basis. The effects of overparenting is visible in the children when they are away from their parents. They are not thinkers, problem solvers, nor responsible children who know that life is made of choices and that every choice has a consequence. Unfortunately, many students are always waiting for in most cases mommy to come and figure it out and save the day as she always does.

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As a teacher I implore you to step back and let your child think and devise solutions to their own problems but as a mother I am speechless. I am learning just as all of you.
Here is a story. There is a student in my class who excels academically. All of her peers before her have excelled. On Parent Conference Day students are not in school. The parents come in to speak to the teachers. On this particular day, my door opened and in walked this little girl. "Good morning Mrs. Hall I am wondering if I can finish some of my work while my mother is speaking to my classroom teacher?" she asked.
"Pardon me?" I was baffled. "You want to use the computer now?"
"Yes. I did not get a chance to finish during class. I asked my mom if I could come to school with her today so I could finish."

Of course I said yes.
Thirty minutes later, the mother walked in the lab to collect her child. I had to ask how she raised not only this child but also all of her other children. This was her response.
"I make my children responsible for everything concerning them. I found that when I used to do their homework with them after work thinking I was being a good parent, I actually wasn't. One day I was late coming home. I asked my daughter, did you do your homework? She said no. She did not do it because I was not at home. It was then I realized she was depending on me to always be there to tell her what to do. And so, I stepped back and let her take control of all of her responsibilities. If she forgot her homework at home, oh well, I did not drop it to school for her. If she forgot her swim cap, oh well. If she did not study for a spelling test and failed, oh well, she still received the punishment for bad grades. Eventually, she took initiative and became responsible."

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She raised her children to make choices for their own lives. 
She raised her children to be responsible, take initiative and be accountable.
She raised her children to know there is a consequence for every choice, good or bad.

Now she reaps the rewards as her children blossom.

Now that is parenting!

Until I blog again,


Giavana Jones said...

great read!!! I'm going to tuck this excellent piece in the back of my head for when my time comes to parent. definitely a lot to chew on.

Geneva Roberts said...


Very good article on parenting Tiffany and thank you for the compliment. One lesson I am hoping you learn from your childhood is, when a child says that he/she is doing their best, you as a mother and educator will know whether they require just a little more push. lolllllllllllll

Love your mother

MWMs said...

Thank you for your comment Giavana.

I will give you the advice I give to all new mothers. Do what works for you. You will be like the rest of us who are doing the best we can each day until we know to do better.

When you know better only then can you do better!

Until then enjoy your present stage of life.

MWMs said...

Thank you for your comment Mummy.

I will never be able to thank you enough. THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!

And yes, as an educator I can identify when a child is doing their best. I will do my best to ensure your grandchildren do their best.


Anonymous said...

This is a great article! Immediately after I read it, I forward the link to my parents for them to read. This will definately be the topic of conversation this weekend. I, along with my parents, are guilty of overparenting my son. I am an only child, and he is the only grandchild, so we only have him to cater too. For years my husband accused us of this, but I repeatedly told him there is no such thing as overparenting - he refers to it as "babying". My son is now 9 years old and the negative effects of our overparenting are visible. Thanks to you sharing your story about the parent, I now have an idea of where to start to try correct.

Thank you.