A Helicopter Mom No More

I admit. I’m guilty of being a helicopter mom. I’m the type of mom who’s always by her children’s side protecting them from bumps and bruises.  You’ll see me towering over them or hear me constantly shouting warnings of “Be careful”, “Don’t go far”, “Stay where I can see you”, “Don’t run”, etcetera, etcetera.  A lot of you can probably relate with this and are thinking, so what’s wrong with being a helicopter mom?

Being an overprotective parent can actually hinder our children’s growth and development.  By protecting them from just about everything that can hurt or harm them makes them vulnerable when they do have to face the real world in their adulthood.  By restricting our children’s natural propensity to discover the world, we are curbing their learning abilities and are inadvertently giving them the message that they cannot do and are not capable of doing certain things.

Some of the effects of my being a helicopter mom can be seen in how my children behave outside our home.  My kids have become too dependent and too clingy.  They fear strangers and come off as disrespectful and aloof when they are actually just shy and fearful.  Fear of strangers may be a good thing but not when they fear almost everybody they interact with, even family friends.

Though very articulate and active at home, they become withdrawn and clam up when in public.  They have also become too dependent on adults, whining that they cannot accomplish a task even before trying it out themselves first.

Yes,I know it’s my fault that they have become fearful and dependent children.  I was too overprotective for not wanting any harm to behalf them.  I’ve since realized though that my overprotectiveness has raised two fearful and insecure children. Hopefully, it’s not too late though to rectify my mistake.  I’m now trying to build their confidence and self-esteem by changing my behavior towards them and by doing the following:

Teaching Independence.  They’re preschoolers now so they’re being taught how to do certain things by themselves.  Before I used to do every single task for them.  Now they are taught how to pack away their toys, put on their clothes, eat by themselves, and other tasks that preschoolers should already be doing by themselves.

Bolstering Confidence.  “You can do it!”  This is now a constant statement at home.  Oh yes, they still whine and complain about not being able to put on their shirt or shoes or something else they don’t want to do.  But dear Mama doesn’t come to the rescue anymore.  I let them whine a little while then urge them to finish the task.  Thanks to The Little Engine That Could, it’s easier to prod them while chanting, “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.”  When they do successfully finish something, it also gives them a sense of pride.  “Mama, I did it! See, I did it!” are music to my ears.

Giving Responsibilities. Though only three and four years old, they are old enough to be given responsibilities such as fixing their bed, packing away their toys, and taking care of each other.

I do not want my two kids to grow up insecure and needy of attention.   Perhaps, by doing these things we’ll be able to prepare them to face the world and handle whatever life throws their way.  There’s no certainty that these would work but I am certain that I’ll not be a helicopter mom anymore.

Comments

  1. Being overprotective is natural to us moms. I am like you too before especially that my son is learning to walk. I always follow him and will pick him up immediately when he fall down. I will scream when he is about to fall. Maybe that’s the reason why it took him long to walk by himself. I can see he can walk by himself before he turns one but because we are overprotective, he actually walk alone when he was 14 months. So learn from that, I let him explore his environment. I let him run now and enjoy his environment. That helps him a lot to interact with people. He is growing independently and not a shy type boy who will hide when there’s new people around. He will easily came over and kiss them or make mano. I am glad I let him learn on his own.

    Mommy Maye (http://momayes.blogspot.com/)

  2. I agree to every word you have said. It is but natural for moms to be overprotective. But we do, sometimes, need to let lose our grip for them to grow. You’re doing a great job! 🙂

  3. It’s okay to be protective. I myself is very protective of my 2 kids too – protective against kids who is much older than them. If I see the kid has an attitude and are not careful with their words while playing, that’s the time I start to be protective. Because I don’t like my daughter to copy that behavior. You’re just doing the right thing mommy, keep it up 🙂

  4. Believe it or not, I’m not a helicopter parent. I grew up in the province and kids were allowed to climb trees, go to different places without an overanxious parent beside us. That’s why when my kids are in the playground I want to distance myself as much as possible. I want them to experience playing and the fun of it even if it means they get bruises. My hubby is the one who gets anxious all the time. hehe

  5. yikes! i can relate to this! huhu.. so that explains why my little boy is a little aloof to strangers and sometimes i still have to push him and give confidence. tsk tsk.. from now on i will lessen these warnings. thanks for sharing this.

  6. Thank you for such an informative post. I admit of being one once in a while, especially when BabyLove started walking. I would scream and run towards her to see is she was okay. But, almost everytime she falls, she is okay. Now, I’ve started to learn how to resist myself from screaming. What we do is we clap and say yehey! And she’s learned to do just that. Haha

  7. Definitely not too late! I’m not yet a mom, but I think all moms are overprotective. 🙂 I teach Pediatric Nursing and just finished the topic on Preschoolers. Just let them do what they want, and anything that could help them learn, after all, preschoolers have initiative. 🙂

  8. I have that kind of mom that is why I have no childhood. 😀 But she is a very supportive mom indeed. 🙂

  9. I also can relate to this. I used to be an over protective Mom but somehow my kids appreciated me for that. They told me that they feel so secured everytime I’m around.

  10. its hard not to be protective, but you have a point, sometimes they have to face the problems to learn how to solve them on their own 🙂

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