Being a parent in the 21st century is tough. Is it better to be a talking parent with your kids or a silent one? Many parents wonder if they should be taking charge of their kids lives more than what they are. What is a parent to do when technology seems to be raising their kids faster than you can keep up with it? Let’s face it, parenting today is a lot different than it was 30 years ago.
Parents today have to raise their biological, adopted kids and foster care children. Let us look at some of the different parenting styles and see which one works best or if any are better than another.
What Are Helicopter Parents?
Helicopter parents is a term that means you are smothering your kids. You like to “hover” over them. In 1969, Dr. Ginott used this term in his book entitled, “Parents and Teenagers by Teens”. The children and teens from the book said that sometimes their parents overwhelm them so much that it feels like a helicopter is over them. This is an extreme style of parenting that doesn’t always work well with kids.
If you feel that you are to be focused on your kids and not focused on your own life, its possible that you are a helicopter parent. If someone has ever called you a lawnmower parent, than it means the same thing as a helicopter parent.
Fact Check –
A great book to read on helicopter parenting is entitled, “Anxiety Disorders: The Go to Guide” by Carolyn Daitch, Ph.D. This book is 256 pages long. It sells on Amazon.com for around $19.00.
Parents that use this method of parenting will often take personal responsibility for their children’s mistakes and successes. They will often feel that it’s their fault if something goes wrong or right. For example, if your child wins a science award, you may feel that its because you work from home and if you worked outside of the home, your child would not have gotten the award. The flip side of this may be that your child is failing, and school and you blame it on the divorce that happened five years ago. No matter what, you must find reason to blame yourself for the good or bad.
Many child psychologists say that being the overcontrolling parent is not the best way to go about raising your children. To much control over your children will make them feel anxious, angry, depressed and like you are “always on top of them”. Children need to grow and experiment in a healthy way that is productive for them and to be members of the society as they grow up.
Believe it or not, some parents that have a helicopter parenting methodology often try to hover over their children in their 20’s, 30’s 40’s and even 50’s. They always feel that they want to control their child’s life no matter how old they get. Your children will often feel smothered and like its to overbearing.
Often, helicopter parents have a negative effect on their children under the age of 10 if they are always standing over them in the room watching them play. You may be the kind of parent that says, “Don’t play with your toy that way, do it this way. Don’t do this or don’t do that.” You become more of a nag and your child feels that they have no “breathing room” to learn on their own. They constantly feel smothered by you and unable to grow as a person.
These types of parents will often try to run the educational program at the school. They are often trying to tell the teachers how to teach their children or the soccer coach on how he should be training her child. He/she wants to have everything under their control.
Why Does a Parent Become Controlling?
When the economy is bad or bullying is popular in schools, parents often want to become overprotective. They want to try and protect their child from something going wrong. They want to keep them from being bullied or experience pain from their divorce. There are many reasons as to why a parent would want to try and protect their child.
Most parents that practice helicopter parenting does not want to harm their child. They often think in their minds that they are helping their child. They believe that being and overprotecting parent is necessary.
If the parent felt like they were neglected growing up, they may take full now with their own child and be Supermom or Super dad. This can often be overbearing for a child that just wants to learn who they are.
Some parents feel that they must be a helicopter parent because other parents are also this way. If the parent sees that little Johnny’s parents’ control everything that he does, they may feel the need to do the same. They may feel that if they don’t control the show, then the other parents will be talking negatively about them.
Parents that feel they were abused growing up or put in a painful situation often become overcontrolling. Parents that take an active role in their child’s life however do get good results. Their children feel love and cared for. The feel that you are giving them space to grow. Talking parents are great when they ask their child how their day is going or if they need anything from them. It’s good to have a healthy balance of communication. To much or to little is often not a good thing.
You also don’t want to send your children the message that you don’t trust them enough. Helicopter parenting often makes a child feel like you are not going to trust their decisions to do the right thing. They will often rebel because they assume that you think that they will always make a bad decision anyways.
If the parent is always making things right for the child, then they will grow up never learning how to cope with problems or solve them on their own. Overcontrolling parents often have children that never grow up. They are often 20- and 30-years old living at home with their parent. They don’t know how to figure anything out for themselves and always look at their parent to solve the problem.
Children that grow up with helicopter parents often have higher levels of anxiety. They often assume that they should get whatever their parents tell them that they deserve. They often grow up with a mentality that they should have whatever they want if their parent wants that for them. If their parent wants them to have a six-figure job after graduating college, the child will often assume that this is what they are going to get once they graduate. The child is often shocked when they experience the real world and see that they will not be getting what they want. This is often referred to as being a sense of entitlement.
Its important for parents to give their children every possible way to succeed in life. You need to always teach them life skills that will help them to survive in this world.
The main message that children are receiving from the media and often their parents is that you don’t have to suffer for anything. Only go after what works fast and makes you feel good. However, the truth of the matter is that “Without pain, there is no gain.”
Its important to get to know your child’s strengths and weaknesses so that you can help them when needed. Parents should often teach their children a healthy balance between suffering and doing what is necessary to achieve your goal. Today, we are living in a carefree society that wants to only live for pleasure and what feels good. Parents need to be watchful that their children don’t fall into this trap.
How to Make Co Parenting Work
It is never a simple task to co parent. It can be hard to co parent with your ex that you don’t necessarily like but must do it for the sake of your child. Some issues may arise that makes your relationship tense such as: child support issues, visitation days, previous problems that the two of you shared. The list can be endless.
Tips for Making Co Parenting Work
- Don’t Fight in Front of Your Children.
- Don’t Bad Talk Your Ex to Your Children.
- Don’t Criticize the Other Parents Parenting Skills.
- Don’t Ask Your Child Who They Love Better.
Co-parenting can be beneficial to your child’s life for several reasons. For starters, two parents can be there for the child more than a single parent can. Often, you can watch your child on different days if the other parent is busy. You can also both provide financial for your child better than one income can. Also, your child can get the perspective of two parents working together for their common good.
Its important for your child to see the two of you getting along. Fighting parents often make children feel anxious, like its their fault and that they must make a choice between their parents. They often feel that they must pick a side. This puts your child in an awkward position.
Co parents should realize that they do better if they make decisions together for their child. When you work together for the good of your child, you get more accomplished.
Remember that co parenting is about being there for your child and not about what you may or may not feel towards your ex. Its important to keep on mind that its not about you.
If you are divorced, your child will often take their time to adjust. They were once used to having all of you living together as a family. Now your child is watching their parents only talking on occasions. It’s important to make your child always feel loved. Unconditional love from both parents is necessary.
If you feel that a discussion needs to take place about your past relationship, don’t do it in front of your child. Instead, take the discussion to another room.
If you feel that your child is going through a lot emotionally from a divorce of bad co-parenting, your child may respond well to a pet. Pets such as dogs and cats often allow your child to give and get unconditional love. It also brings them more happiness because they will often feel that they must care for the animal. It helps to take their mind off the pain of their parents’ relationship.
Your children should never feel like they are at a tug of war. Your child should never feel like they must relay a message from you to your ex. You should never tell them, “Tell your father/mother that they need to give you more money for shoes this week because they never paid me child support last month.” This is something that you need to address with your ex.
Try to ask your ex for a meeting on different issues concerning your child. Sit down at a table and write down what you will do for certain issues concerning your child. You may discuss what church your child will belong to or how many sports/recreational activities will occur.
Follow Some of These Simple Rules When Co Parenting:
- Tell your ex what your concerns are about your child.
- Ask your ex if you could make a change to your child’s schedule. Be courteous.
- Learn to listen to what your ex is saying. Do they have a valid point?
- Before criticizing, watch what you say. Getting into a heated discussion won’t make co parenting any easier.
- Set up regular meetings to discuss your child’s needs. Perhaps once a month.
- Only talk about your child with your ex. Don’t bring up past issues regarding your relationship.
- Quickly resolve any “dig” or negative comment that may come up.
- Learn how to keep come even if your ex flips out on something.
- Saying sorry when you mess up is okay to do.
- You are a team. Make decisions as a team.
- Make rules for your child that you and your ex agree on.
- Talk about discipline. How will you discipline your child? Will you both be using time out methods? This is important since the child should never feel like they can get away with something with one parent and not the other.
- Neither parent should be looked at as the hero. Your child should never feel like one parent cares about them and the other parent doesn’t.
- You need to both decide on what takes place medically for your child.
- You need to both discuss whether your child will receive public school education or private.
- Learn to respect one another in public.
- Never give up on co parenting no matter how hard it gets.
- Don’t get “bent out of shape” over small matters.
- Learn to compromise with one another. Everything will not always go your way or vice versa. Learn to do what’s best for your child.
- Always inform your child way in advance when they will be spending time with the other parent.
- Try to have your child ready when the other parent is supposed to pick them up. This makes the process of visitation go a lot smoother.
- Try to have your ex drop off your child. This often gives respect to them because it shows that you are not trying to interrupt their time with your child. Arriving early to pick up your child may make your ex feel like you are purposely trying to interrupt their time.
- When your child walks in from spending time with your ex, don’t bombard them with questions on how things went. Instead, tell them to either watch television, play a game or read a book.
- Give your child space when coming home from your ex’s house.
- Try giving your child a routine. Children respond best to a set schedule.
Being an Active Parent
Active parents often are appreciated by their children. Showing your child that you will be there for them financially, emotionally, spiritually and in every other way makes them feel more secure. You often make you feel loved and appreciated at the same time. Talking parents that keep communication open often make their child feel like they can express their feelings.
Having authority with your children can be good and bad. Authoritative parents are often very demanding. They may say something like, “Go upstairs and do your homework right now!” It would be better to tell your child nicely to do their homework.
Some authoritative parenting skills work well with small children. Here are some examples:
- Open mindedness.
- High standards for their children.
- Give children good discipline.
This type of parenting gives your child little structure and rules. You give your child the idea that they can do whatever they want and make their own rules. You basically say that you will support mostly all their decisions. This has its pros and cons. It is not always a good idea to be this kind of parent because your children will have no guidance in what they do.
Many children grow up to be “wild” under this type of parenting. Many times, parents make the mistake of thinking that their children know what’s best for their own life. However, this is not always a good case. Therefore, a lot of children get into drinking alcohol or taking drugs at early ages. They may often get into a peer group that tells them that smoking pot and drinking alcohol is fun. The child may feel that its okay for them to do this since their parent doesn’t give them any rules or structure. They will often just go along with the crowed.
Permissive parenting will often make the parent feel freer. They may feel that they are not responsible if their child messes up.
Permissive parenting tends to make the child feel more carefree. The pros of this kind of parenting lets the child figure things out on their own. They tend to develop good life skills because they learn to figure out problems rather fast because they can only rely upon themselves for answers. They often have less anxiety and stress because they feel that they don’t have to please their parents.
When your child feels more at ease, they tend to make much better decisions. They tend to feel like they can do anything to make themselves feel more at peace.
As you can see, different parenting styles work for different families. Is there a right or wrong way to raise your children? This is something that must be determined by both parents. What may work for someone will not work for someone else. Its always good to try and create a balance for your children. It’s good to not be extreme either way. In this way, you let your children know where you stand and what the next road is going to be for the family to take. Sometimes, your children will respond to one situation a lot better than another. Try to take your time when it comes to working with your children. In this way, you will be able to see for yourself what works and what doesn’t work. For the most part, you will become more affective as you talk with your kids and find out what works out best.
I’m sure that you have heard the expression that if you raise your child with too much strict parenting, they will become very rebellious. If you raise your kids with too much leniency, they will get themselves into trouble.