Every parent wants to raise their child to be strong, self-sufficient and successful. It is so important that the child is able to withstand the pressures and cope with the realities of life.
All too often, however, some of the strategies parents use in the parenting process are not as effective as we would like them to be. Amy Morin, a licensed clinical social worker as well as psychotherapist, makes a striking analogy with captive-bred animals in her book 13 Things Strong Parents Will Never Do. Because of the nature of captive rearing, such animals are not usually released into the wild afterwards. Biologists say they lack the life skills to survive on their own in an aggressive external environment.
Many of these educational trends have been grouped together under the term ‘helicopter education’. The term was first used by Dr. Foster Kline in 1990. “Helicopter parents” came to be called those who paid too much attention to their baby’s worries and problems, becoming like a helicopter constantly circling over the child’s head.
Such parents usually don’t give their child any freedom, protect them from all failures and try to transfer their own value system and behavior pattern to their child. Amy Morin explains how involved parents today are in their children’s lives. For example, they may send out CVs for their adult children and even try to negotiate salaries. “Do you think your child can’t find a job on his own? Or do you think he can’t cope with the challenges of the workplace on his own? It’s a really big problem, but it’s yours,” notes Morin.
This does not mean that children do not need your help. Instead of doing things for them, Amy Morin suggests that parents give their child advice, guidance, encouragement.
Your child’s future boss or partner is not interested in someone who still relies on their parents – financially, physically and emotionally. Allow your child to experience setbacks, give him or her their own space to deal with problems and let him or her deal with the consequences on their own. Don’t try to shield them from the realities of life, experts say, adding that overcoming adversity on their own is what builds a strong personality.