By Matthew Imerhion
Do you hover above your child like a helicopter? Over-protective parenting has come to attain pop culture status. Although it stems mostly from good intentions, most parents are oblivious to their guilt and the consequences of such parenting style. Amongst others, being over-protective can make your child lack self-confidence and the ability to live independently. Check out few signs to see if you’re part of the guilty party:
1. You’re Omni-present
Of course, you don’t have anything on the Creator of the breeze and the trees but you do come close. There you are circling over your kids’ mountains and swooping down on their valleys, always there to guide your flock to the Promised Land. Remember how the biblical flock acted like totally spoilt brats when they were left alone for a minute? When you are always physically present and involved with your child, they get used to it and cannot function properly when you’re absent.
2. You’re a constant referee
You always interfere in any interaction between your child and anybody else, whether it’s a playmate, teacher, aunty or even your spouse. Your child needs to learn how to co-habit, share and settle conflicts if they are going to be socially relevant. Playing the role of unofficial referee never helps.
3. You grant their every desire
You can’t seem to say no to the kids with their big cute eyes and pouty lips. And when they cry, your heart melts like the snow on the mountain top. All that pampering is creating an entitlement mentality in your child. They simply cannot have everything they want even if you had the wealth of Bill Gates, Dangote and Warren Buffet put together. You love them but they need to know life is no bed of roses. You will be setting the children up – and yourself too- for a frustrating life indeed if you keep up with this genie-in-a-bottle act.
4. You correct EVERY seeming error
You make it a point of duty to correct your child’s every mistake in all excitement, however irrelevant. You always want them to be perfect, after all, people are watching and should see no wrong in their appearance or behaviour. Come on, let your child breathe!
5. Your children are over-scheduled
Some parents push their kids too hard that they’re bound to crash sometime. You have a ridiculously long list of things they have to achieve and you put everything in place to achieve that goal, oblivious of the demands on your child. You give constant bribes if you have to in order to motivate. You do not let them be them. Your little child is living out a script! Often times, the end result is rebellion during the teen years. Watch it!
6. You don’t let them succeed
Before you object hear me out. We know you mean well when you help your child do their homework but do you respect the lines between assisting them and completely helping them from start to finish? Whether it’s the mathematics assignment or paper mache project, you should only guide them and encourage them. This way, they will be learning by exercising their real abilities and getting real outcome. They might fail many times but when they get it right, the sweet feeling of victory pushes them to achieve more.
7. Always on a teaching spree
Now, you are not the parent we described above. You offer guidance and seize every opportunity to teach a valuable lesson or two. And when we say every, we mean EVERY opportunity. The poor kids can’t watch Sponge Bob or eat their alphabet biscuits without you asking them to say three words that start with a particular alphabet or maybe two other animals that are found underwater apart from sponge Bob and the star fish. Give them a break, will you? And give yourself some too.
8. You call the school EVERY hour
What! That is not being over-protective? Come on, mum. You call the crèche caretaker/proprietress/mistress (or whatever they call them these days) every hour almost daily ‘just to say hi…Oh! And how did my little sweetness do in her work? And when you visit, most of your child’s teachers/caregivers would rather wave and smile from a distance. You know why? They’re trying too hard to keep you at arm’s length.
9. Your child’s opinion doesn’t count
You never seek your child’s opinion. I mean, what do the little ones know, right? Wrong. You should listen to your child even when they are just making up stories. You will be helping them build their creative and conversational skills (how to listen and make timely response) if you will just listen. I can bet you will learn a valuable thing or two yourself.
10. You don’t admit that you are a helicopter parent
Like we stated briefly at the beginning, helicopter parenting stems mostly from good intentions. Other causes are that the parent wasn’t given enough attention in their childhood and so they are subconsciously making up for the deficiency. In both cases, over-protective parents do not see themselves as being over-protective and don’t want to take some time to observe their parenting style and its effect on their children.
So, are you a helicopter parent?