What is a helicopter parent, you ask?
These are the parents that won’t let their kid out in the front yard to play without constant supervision. They won’t take a nap and risk their twelve year old being home ‘alone’. They are constantly hovering over their children and micromanaging their every move. How can you tell if you’re a helicopter parent?
Well, you know you’re a helicopter parent when…
- You know the risks are incredibly high – Part of the problem is that with wall-to-wall Internet and cable news, every missing child case gets so much airtime that it’s not surprising even normal parental paranoia can be amplified. Know the real risks.
- You are afraid your child will literally die if left unsupervised – Mortality rates from all causes, including disease and accidents, for American children are lower now than they were 25 years ago. According to Child Trends, a nonprofit, nonpartisan research group, between 1980 and 2003 death rates dropped by 44 percent for children ages five to 14 and 32 percent for teens aged 15 to 19.
- Your child cannot leave your sight or they will be kidnapped – Nationwide, stranger abductions are extremely rare; there’s a one-in-a-million chance a child will be taken by a stranger, according to the Justice Department. That’s right, a one-in-a-million chance. Think about it.
- Your child cannot leave your sight or they will be sexually abused – 90 percent of sexual abuse cases are committed by someone the child knows. A family member, a friend, a teacher. You can only do so much. Prepare your child, yes, but don’t smother them. And really, do they need more to be afraid of in life?
- You always know what they should be doing – Many middle-class parents have gotten used to managing their children’s time and shuttling them to various enriching activities, so the idea of letting them out on their own can seem like a risk. Children need to be able to create their own activities and schedule; after all, you won’t be around to tell them what to do next when they’re thirty. Let them learn now, it’ll only get harder later.
- You know that no responsible parent leaves a child home alone – The After School Alliance finds that more than 14 million kids ages five to 17 are responsible for taking care of themselves after school. Only 6.5 million kids participate in organized programs. Try short times at first. A few minutes at a neighbor’s house, maybe a short milk run. See how they do.
- You know children are not safe on public transit – “Many children who have working parents have to take the subway or bus to get to school. Many do this by themselves because they have no other way to get to their schools,” says Dr. Richard Gallagher. Don’t wait until they have to; teach them early the rules of the road and how to be safe.
- You know that all children are irresponsible – It all depends on developmental issues, maturity, and the psychological and emotional makeup of that child. Several factors must be taken into account, such as the ability to follow parent guidelines, the child’s level of comfort in handling situations, and a child’s general judgment. But how will they know what they can do if you never let them do anything?
- You know it is more dangerous now than it was when you were their age – Even with more traffic and fewer sidewalks, modern parents do have one advantage their parents didn’t: the cell phone. Being able to check in with a child anytime goes a long way toward relieving parental worry. Tell them to call you when they get there. If they haven’t done so within a reasonable period of time, call them. They’ll get the message and feel more independent. Some phones even come with GPS tracking, so you can make sure they stay on the right path.
- You follow your children and their friends around on Halloween – In your minivan. Enough said. This doesn’t just apply to Halloween. If your child is with a responsible group of friends and they are walking/biking/busing somewhere, don’t follow them. You are undermining their reputation with their friends and making them resentful. Learn when to back off and relax and you’ll both be happier.
So, there you go. Ten signs that you’re well on the road to driving your children, and yourself, insane. Relax. Children today are safer than ever. Just make sure they know what to do in case of emergency. You will be surprised at how reasonable and responsible your children can be. And you are teaching them a valuable lesson- how to take care of themselves.
Source: Nanny Pro
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