Attention Moms: Time to Bring the Helicopter in for a Landing
- Tuesday, August 16, 2011
If we were to examine a root cause of “hovering,” it would most likely be grounded in a need to be in control. Some mothers have a tendency to over-protect their children because they are seeking control over dangers (both real and perceived) that threaten to harm their children. (Guilty!) Other mothers may obsess over their children’s homework assignments, school schedules, and their overall academic progress in order to control their destiny and thus, provide them with future happiness. (They incorrectly believe the formula: Good grades = Good colleges = Success in the real world = Happily Ever After). Yet other mothers may hover when it comes to image-maintenance issues such as staying in shape, dressing attractively (or wearing name brands), having the latest gadgets, or even driving a cool car.
While at first glance, hovering Helicopter Moms may appear to have their child’s best interests in mind, the truth is, their high need for control can be classified as a form of fear-based parenting. Fear of danger. Fear their child will not find future success (a relative term). And fear their child may not be accepted among his/her peers if they don’t look/perform a certain way. At the end of the day, are we more focused on our fear and subsequent need to be in control, or are we more focused on what’s actually in the best interest of our children? More importantly, are we raising children who will struggle to survive and cope with injustices in the real world when it is no longer possible for Mom to swoop down and perform a rescue mission?
We won’t get better until we admit we have a problem. With awareness comes the ability to catch ourselves before we put those whirling blades in motion in an attempt to over-manage our children’s lives. We must also acknowledge that we have misdefined “success” and more importantly, what it takes to raise truly, healthy and happy children. (Hint: Children who love God more than life itself and trust Him for their future happiness.)
If the root cause among most Helicopter Moms is fear, the irony is that our actions send the same message of fear to our children. So perhaps our biggest fear should be raising children who grow into adults who are ill-equipped to survive in the real world and are unable to cope with injustices that will inevitably be a part of their future.
More importantly, parents who are driven by fear and attempt to placate that fear by micro-managing their children’s lives often raise fearful children, who lack trust in a sovereign God who is ultimately in control.
Maybe it’s not our children who are in need of a 911 life flight, come-to-the-rescue mission, but us. If you have Helicopter Mom tendencies, do your children a favor: Take a deep breath. Look for the nearest hanger. Bring your copter in for a landing. Exit the copter.
Now walk away. Trust me, your children will thank you someday. And chances are, that’s one thank-you note you won’t have to hover over them to write.
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