Helicopter parents….. I do not need to say anything else and I can assure you that there is a group of educators around the world moaning – just at the term. We all know them, sometimes we are them, and we struggle with them all the time. What is a helicopter parent? A helicopter parent is a parent who is always on standby, ready to swoop in and catch their child before they fall. At first glance, a helicopter parent is a fiercely devoted, highly loving adult – and this is true, but, sadly, their love can cripple their child, instead of empower their child.
It is important for children to make mistakes and suffer natural consequences when they are younger, while the mistakes are not likely to cause any long-term damage or affects. We all fail, that is how we learn. It is okay to fall, through falling we learn how to pick ourselves up. Some parents, however, cannot bear the thought of watching their children fall – to see their child in pain is unbearable – it hurts them as much as their child – so they make sure their child experiences no pain at all…. they bring their lunch when their child forgets it – or their homework, trumpet, or soccer ball. These parents call their child’s teacher always begging for extra help, an extension, more explanations, and another chance. These parents might first blame a teacher, and not their child’s lack of effort or organization when it comes to homework, grades, etc. These parents are very dedicated to their children, but they are actually robbing their children of learning and growing experiences.
It is okay for a child to fail a test, or even a class. Of course, we do not want this to happen, but if it does it can help a child learn. A child who fails because they do not do their homework are more likely to complete their homework in the following term. As much as we do not want our children to fail math in 3rd or 4th grade, if we let them fail and learn in grade 3 or 4, perhaps they will have learned their lesson well before grade 9 when everything starts to count for college applications.
A student will not become emaciated from missing one meal and will not become a life failure for not turning in their homework – they will experience the logical consequences at school and they will learn and grow.
Today, 36 days ’til 40, I remind myself to support my children as they grow – comforting them through their pain as they make mistakes – encouraging them to embrace every learning opportunity, no matter how painful they may be.