36 Days ’til 40: Helping or Crippling Our Children???

16 Jan



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.



Posted by on January 16, 2013 in ADD, attitude, Children, Family, Parenting


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23 responses to “36 Days ’til 40: Helping or Crippling Our Children???

  1. doubleinvert

    January 16, 2013 at 00:15

    My “kids” are 21 and 23. This is probably the most difficult time I’ve faced as a parent because I MUST let the fail. I can be there in the aftermath to help to an extent, mostly in the form of talking it out with them. But it is a very difficult thing.

    – Connie

  2. Mr. Miller

    January 16, 2013 at 00:18

    It’s the trophy generation mentality; the pussification of kids in this country. And sadly, the primary recipients of this coddled treatment are now having kids of their own.

  3. craftythriftydecoratingwifemom

    January 16, 2013 at 01:45

    When I was in school, in the age of dinosaurs, if we didn’t do passing work, we failed. Know what, no-one was damaged for life. Imagine that. Never see kids being held back anymore, they go on with their class, whether ready or not. Kudos to you for bringing this up.

    • 400daystil40

      January 16, 2013 at 23:35

      I wish we could go back to this system!

  4. toniandrukaitis

    January 16, 2013 at 02:24

    I was guilty of being a helicopter parent sometimes, but not always. I nagged them to,do homework, and I pushed more than I should have. But when my over-achiever first born got his first B in 6th grade, I had a celebration party for him and said, “Now the pressure’s off. Enjoy Junior High!” I guess a of,each isnt too bad.

    • 400daystil40

      January 16, 2013 at 23:34

      Yes, sometimes it is all about balance!

  5. Joan Miranda

    January 16, 2013 at 05:10

    Wow just more than a month away before your 40th…:D
    I really love your writings, it brings me so much joy to browse to your page and discover something new, or well at least get inspired.
    Thanks for being so open to failures that I can only hope more people will be like you

    • 400daystil40

      January 16, 2013 at 23:36

      Yes, it is getting really close! Thank you for your words of encouragement!!! 🙂

  6. walkwiththerabbi

    January 16, 2013 at 06:31

    It’s been my experience, that a child who is coddled during the formative years, can actually and eventually express disgust toward the doting parent (s), while their sibling who was “allowed” to fall and to fail from time to time, wouldn’t dream of it (I was the one who fell and failed from time to time – surprised?).

  7. Nancy Pilling

    January 16, 2013 at 22:12

    I am reminded of a woman I worked with whose daughter had asthma. She told me that every week she bleached her daughter’s room. I smiled sadly at her and told that was why her daughter had likely developed asthma. I told her she should let her 6 year old get dirty to let dust bunnies accumulate under the bed before cleaning the room. I tried explaining that by doing these things her daughter’s immune system would better develop.

    Sadly she was horrified by my suggestions.

    • 400daystil40

      January 16, 2013 at 23:37

      Wow, what a sad story – and you were completely correct – she was killing, rather then strengthening, her daughter’s immune system.

  8. sakuraandme

    January 17, 2013 at 10:48

    WooHoo!! 36 more days. Wow, what a journey you have been on! I was definitely this parent…my boys are 28 and nearly 21. I still protect them too much!! Hugs Paula x

  9. basildonkitchens

    January 17, 2013 at 16:10

    Once again it’s like you are in my head. Bravo!

  10. Another Thousand Words

    January 17, 2013 at 21:08

    At times I wonder how Man has survived…after failing, picking himself up and learning from that failure has been the norm until fairly recently. If we do not experience these setbacks, how in the world can we learn to achieve, 400? This current attitude that “everybody wins, and nobody loses” has made for some very unruly, immoral young people…who then adopt the motto, “Well, ANYthing goes!”, and they are lauded for their uncivilized actions. Some days I wonder if we are not ‘de-volving’ as a society, regressing and surrendering to our more animalistic behaviors.

    • 400daystil40

      January 17, 2013 at 21:49

      I agree with you completely. Somehow we are slipping away from raising responsible kids – trying to help them and save them from heartache, yet creating a multitude of problems in their place.

      • Another Thousand Words

        January 18, 2013 at 05:09

        I’ve thought an awful lot on this topic throughout the past ten years or more…and part of the problem is the parents who refuse to raise their children responsibly, and let them know there are consequences for all actions, good and bad. I am old, but not what you would call ‘the grandmotherly type’ because I am constantly aware of what goes on in the world–not just MY world–but across the world. I read a lot of articles from other nations…and the same is happening in them. We cannot ‘protect’ our children in this manner, unless we want to see more and more 50 yrs old ‘Peter Pans’!


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