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Though very articulate and active at home, they become withdrawn and clam up when in public.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.