Support for Helicopter Busy Parents

You know I read a lot. Lately there are a lot of articles around about helicopter parents…parents who hover over their kids seems to be the usual definition of this phenomenon. These articles have been cropping up a lot lately because school’s just started and administrators are aggravated by these ‘over involved’ parents, and parents are now getting worried that they are becoming this type of parent if they are trying to be helpful to their kids. Well, I’m in favor of parental involvement. I’m in favor of parents educating themselves about what the world offers and how important it is for parents to know what kids are facing in the world. Parents shouldn’t be doing for their kids what their kids can do for themselves, but there’s nothing wrong with parents or teachers or other mentors showing kids how to do something the first time. Why not help someone who’s new at something to know how to do it so that they can do it for themselves the next time, and then feel good about it?

The times they are a changing — and on this anniversary of 9/11 I think it’s fair to say that the times are not getting easier. The times are getting more demanding. More is demanded — not asked — of all of us. We are all stretched (I’d like you to believe that I, as a coach and strategist who works with people to find balance, am a great example of a balanced working mother but it’s a daily challenge) and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. I do a pretty good job but it is not by any means easy, and with a son who is very, very easily distracted and overwhelmed by ‘executive processing’ tasks it means I work harder to help him organize his life. That means I’m organizing me — and I’ve got a lot going on – and him, and our home so we feel like we have a hub. I’m not doing anything unusual here…parents everywhere are doing this. And they are doing it because they love their kids and their kids are overwhelmed because they need to know more to keep up with the pace of life.

Parents get a bum rap because their kids are in ‘too many scheduled activities’, kids have ‘playdates’ instead of freely running around outside, or parents are criticized because kids are ‘over scheduled’. But the fact of the matter is that parents need their kids to be somewhere that’s supervised, doing something ‘good’ because the parents are working to provide a level of income that makes the other future options available to those beloved kids later in life. And plain and simple because life is just so much more expensive then ever.

Ok, so what about the helicopter thing? I see it more as attempting to mentor and advocate. Sure there are parents who are over the top and getting too involved…but is that the norm? I doubt it. My parents, and the parents of a lot of my peers, weren’t very involved or present as we kids stumbled along. And some of us fell through some jagged cracks and realized that more supervision and connection with our parents would have been beneficial. Voila! We have parents today who are remember what it felt like when they made a bunch of mistakes that they wish they hadn’t made. The parents who are making a real effort now are trying to help their kids avoid the mistakes they made. And they recognize that life is different now. If you’re an involved parent and want tips for how to support your growing adult kid keep looking here. I’ve heard too many clients say that they wish their parents had known what to tell them about work. I’ve got some ideas for those involved and interested parents. More to come…