Moms Columns & Blogs

Kids need room to find their own way

By Adam Daigle

Tulsa World, Okla.


My wife and I may have had a helicopter-parenting moment last week.

It's something we fear we'll do one day. But with our son standing around other kids his age, we were ready in case he shoved another to the ground (which could have caused a domino effect with other falling kids, lots of crying and many apologies from us).

But I can breathe a sigh of relief now because:

-- He's only 2 (well, not until next month, but you get the point).

-- There was no pushing involved. Lots of smiles and laughing, but no pushing.

A recent story from CNN dealt with helicopter parenting but involved older children -- adults, actually -- and their parents were still afraid of their kids making a mistake.

The stories were downright sad.

One company official thought she had found an ideal employee for a position. But before making an offer, she got a call from the employee's mom.The company pulled the job offer.

The worst story came from Aubrey Ireland, a senior at the University of Cincinnati, who won a civil stalking order against her parents to stop their unannounced visits and Internet monitoring."It's just been really embarrassing and upsetting to have my parents come to my university when I'm a grown adult and just basically slander my name and follow me around," Ireland said in a court hearing.

How do things get that bad?

One example the CNN report gives is technology facilitates it. Computers have browsing histories and filters, and parents can do searches on their children just like anyone else.Aaron Cooper, a clinical psychologist at The Family Institute at Northwestern University, told CNN that nowadays children are becoming an emblem of their parents' success. There's technically nothing wrong with any of those reasons. But like anything else, doing it in excess can be harmful.

A parent's goal is to mold a child into a resilient person, equipped with a sense of curiosity and self-sufficiency and the ability to distinguish bad from good and right from wrong.

I was set to help my son climb his rock-climbing wall before I realized he had a grip on the situation -- not steady, but he had it.

I think children know more than we think they know. And as parents, we should give them that space.

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