Are You A Helicopter Parent?
Here is an approach to parenting which divides parents into three categories. These include helicopters, drill sergeants and consultants. Some parents fit exclusively into one category while others find themselves moving between two or more depending on the situation.
Helicopter parents focus primarily on rescuing and protecting their children. They find it very hard to allow their children to make mistakes as it is simply too painful for the both of them. The helicopter parent is the one you see delivering their child's lunch, homework or library book to the school office each day after he has forgotten it. In preventing their children from making mistakes, these parents send the message that the child is fragile and needs the parent assistance just to make it in the world. The result of this well intentioned parent is to regularly take deposits from the child's self-esteem bank. This leaves them thinking that they always need the parent to run interference.
Drill Sergeant parents are the ones you hear saying, "It's my way or the highway, kidoo, so listen up!". Again, these parents are well intentioned and invested in their parenting job but are unfortunately sending the message to their child that they can't think, that they need someone to boss them around and again, that they can't make it in life alone. Again, the demands and dominance of the drill sergeants take from the self-esteem bank of their children.
The third parenting style that parents strive towards is that of Consultant. Consultant parents give advice and then allow the child to make the decision. The child then lives with the consequences of the mistake when the price tag is affordable. These parents encourage their children to make decisions so they get lots of practice at it by the time the really high stakes decisions need made later in life. Consultant parents are great role models and never tell their kids what to do. Instead, they tell their kids what they will do. They offer choices to their children and let equal parts of empathy and consequence do the teaching.