I have to admit it: I am a helicopter parent or I used to be one!! I prepare lunches for my son. Every single morning, I remind him to take his lunch bag, school bag. I supervise his homework every single night. I ask him everyday the following question: how was school today? If he does not answer, I get mad!! I mark on the calendar all his exam dates and help him prepare for them. I sometimes cannot sleep because I am afraid he will fail and he won’t get into a good high school. I remember for one exam, I worked with him for a week. Each night after dinner, we sat down for 35 minutes in his room and reviewed his lessons. When he took the exam, he got mad at me: the exam was so easy and did not need all the preparations we did…You are too strict he said. It struck me..
I also get worried if he is five minutes late getting home. He walks to school with friends. The school is right on the corner of the house. We can actually hear the school bell ring. But I am still worried if he does not show up!!
Now I have to share this funny story with you! It took me 4 years to tell my husband!! I remember when he entered kindergarten, we used to live far from the school. He had to take the school bus! It was the first time I ever left my child on a bus! I was so worried when the bus left, I followed it with my car. I wanted to make sure that it arrived safely to school. Crazy? I did not tell my husband! I had to tell my boss because I arrived late at work. He was laughing at me and for a reason!!
With the years and experience, I learned some tips to reduce the helicopter parent thing. But I still needed to work things on. When I got the opportunity to review Drop the Worry Ball, I jumped on it! I needed some help with this matter! Guess what: I am in total love with this book. It helped me work out my helicopter parent issues!
Drop the worry ball: How do you try to avoid being a helicopter parent?
Drop the Worry Ball: How to parent in the age of entitlement is written by Dr. Alex Russel (a clinical psychologist) with the help of the author: Tim Falconer. This book helps parents understand the parent-child dynamic. It will help them resist the urge to over parent (like I was doing) and switch the worry ball to your kids!
If you always keep worrying about your child’s success and failure; if you keep worrying that he will forget his lunch bag, your child will never worry for himself. He will always rely on you and when he becomes an adult, he will not know how to act as an adult. So how to avoid being a helicopter parent? Here are some tips I learned from this book that helped me reducing the helicopter parent attitude:
– Parent from the Bench: When I bring my 4 year-old to the park. I don’t sit on the bench: I make sure that she can climb easily, help her, worry that she will fall. I see other parents sitting down and I don’t understand why. Well it happens that parenting from the bench will help your child learn how to face new challenges. The parks are usually safe. Let your child experience this environment. Sit on the bench, acknowledge when he does something great and relax. Parenting from the bench is not valid only for parks. It is valid for everything: homework, lunch boxes. Dr Alex gives real life examples that helped me a lot. When parenting from the bench, you are doing something. You are paying attention to your child. You are telling him: If you need help, I will be there. You are not being a helicopter parent: You are just being a parent.
-Help kids carry the worry ball: When I remind my child to do his homework, bring his lunch bag. I am carrying the worry ball for him. I was worried that if I stopped, my child would fail. Children have the ability to carry the worry ball by themselves. So I started applying this slowly. I told my son that he is turning 11 soon. He will be responsible for his homework and lunch bags. If he needs help, I am here for him. He loved that. The first days he forgot to do his homework. I got a note from the teacher and I did not say a thing (It was hard). Within 2 weeks, things improved and he rarely forgets. When he forgets his lunch bag, the school provides one but he has to pay for it with his pocket-money!
–Relationships with siblings: This is one part I loved. My 2 kids (11 and 4) fight a lot. Each fight, either me or my husband intervene and stop it. They get mad at us and it creates lots of tension at home. Dr Russel suggests to parent from the bench again. When siblings play and argue, don’t interfere unless you notice a possible danger. They will learn how to deal with that. It worked with my kids: when they argue, I just say: deal with it by yourself! They were startled at first and guess what: fights and arguments were less and they even enjoyed playing with each other.
Recommendation for helicopter parents and all the parents: Go get this book. It is a must. It provides useful tips to reduce your helicopter parent issues. It will help you understand the parent-child relationship. It provides real examples that I loved. I read it in few days, highlighted many quotes and pages! Sometimes I go back to some quotes and read them again to absorb more and apply them to some situations.
Parenting from the bench will reduce parenting stress and will raise happier children and family. Drop the worry ball!! I know it is hard but you can do it for your own sanity and for your family happiness!
Giveaway: You can win a copy of this book.
- Giveaway is open to Canadian residents. You can enter on other blogs but you can win from one.
- Giveaway ends on June 22nd, 2012.
- Answer the following question to enter the contest: why do you feel it’s important to teach your kids that failing is part of a learning experience?”
- Fill in the form after leaving a comment.
- Good Luck..
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