Note: This post includes a preview excerpt from our newest edition of The Kidpower Book for Caring Adults: Personal Safety, Self-Protection, Confidence, and Advocacy for Young People, by Kidpower founder and executive director, Irene van der Zande, which will be released October 2011.
Check out the full excerpt, which is available in our free online library of articles: Helicopters or Protectors? How to keep your kids safe without unhelpful hovering.
“When my kids were young, we worried about being “paranoid, neurotic, overprotective” parents. The popular term now is “helicopter parents” who hover over every aspect of their children’s lives. Though the words are different, the phenomena are the same. As parents, we want so much for our children to be happy and safe that we have to be careful not to deprive them of opportunities to make their own mistakes, to face the consequences of unwise behavior, to learn how to overcome failure, and to develop the independence they need to become successful adults.
The problem is that fear of negative labels can get in the way of common sense. As parents or other caregivers, we don’t want avoidance of being overly protective to cause us to provide too little protection. Instead of worrying about labels, we can:
- Gather information about each specific situation so that we are realistic about potential hazards.
- Trust our own intuition and judgment about when children are ready to do what.
- Help kids develop the skills and confidence they need to stay safe while becoming more independent.
- Encourage children to do things on their own as soon as they are truly ready.
Here are five questions to consider in deciding what level of involvement is enough and what is too much when you worry about whether to hover or to let go…”
Check out the rest of this excerpt, which is available in our free online library of articles: Helicopters or Protectors? How to keep your kids safe without unhelpful hovering.
Instead of burdening ourselves with labels like “helicopter parent”, we can focus on how to protect our children from harm, separate our worries from their best interests, and prepare them in positive and effective ways to develop understanding and skills.
Kidpower’s Positive Practice Method gives children the opportunity to be successful in rehearsing age-appropriate skills for being safe with people in contexts that are relevant to their lives. This method also works for other important life skills.
As children tell us over and over after being confronted with a real-life problem that they have rehearsed the solution to, “I didn’t have to remember because my mind and body just knew what to do!”