Are you a helicopter dad?
Used originally by Dr. Haim Ginott, helicopter parenting is a term used to describe parents who hover over their kids’ lives like a helicopter. It has been added to the dictionary in 2011 and has since become common lingo among parenting experts.
Helicopter parenting can take many forms. The most common of which involves parents doing tasks for their children despite the latter being capable of doing the tasks on their own.
By helicopter parenting, we prevent our children from developing a healthy self-esteem and building the necessary skills they’ll need to transition into adulthood. It can cause a loss of intimacy with our kids as they grow older, too. Teens that feel suffocated by their parents report anxiety and the sense that their parents lack confidence in them.
Though it can be tempting to give our teens the same generous support we offered them when they were still young children, you need to change your mindset and behavior to get them on the right track.
Read on to discover 5 things you should stop doing for your teens today.
1Pushing Your Timeline
In the same way that we might have hung up our toddler’s coat for them in order to hurry the routine, we might find ourselves rushing them when choosing their academic focus as a teenager. When we rush our children, we are prioritizing our own timeline for them over their unique process. Although your teen might eventually adjust to your timeline, in doing so, they could lose an important learning opportunity to trust their own instincts.
Give them a chance to take the initiative to do further research so they can gain confidence in their own decision-making process. Encourage them to explore what their own expectations are for themselves. Have regular conversations with them about what goals are important to them and why. Help them focus on their intentions and what motivates them.
2Fixing Their Emotions
It’s not easy to watch our kids have a bad day or a bad week. However, teenagers need to learn how to cope with the full range of their emotions so that they can handle life’s struggles better. One of the most common ways that parents undermine their children’s growth is by trying to “fix” their children’s difficult moods.
Whether you do this by offering your crying toddler a cookie or lending your heartbroken teen your car, you prevent your child from processing the experience. An inability to sit with and handle disappointment leads to addictions and mental health struggles.
So, for the health of your teen, let them cry it out. If this is particularly difficult for you, consider seeking external support from a counselor or coach who can help you develop soft skills in emotional intelligence.
3Doing All the Day-to-Day Chores
Cleaning their room, packing their lunches and doing their own laundry and dishes are all excellent learning opportunities for your teens. One thing that household chores have in common is that they are repeated regularly. This makes them an excellent way for your teens to learn discipline and experience the natural consequences of falling behind.
With moving out of the family home on the horizon, it’s important for your teen to practice chores that will help them survive their day-to-day lives.
Once your teens take the initiative to wash their own dishes, don’t pick up the slack when they forget. Let the dishes pile up without nagging them, and give them a chance to catch up. If they bring the dishes up, inquire about what they find difficult with the chore. Offer to share what you do to stay on top of your own household work.
4Tackling Their Complex Tasks
Life becomes increasingly complex as we grow up and gain new responsibilities.
While your teens won’t have you around at the office to help them prioritize for their first big project, they do have you around right now so consider this a unique training ground. Instead of taking over their application process, offer to be a sounding board. Guide them as they learn how to break down complicated challenges into more manageable tasks. This shift in mindset is about learning how to do things with your teens rather than for them.
You can take this lesson to the next level by letting them apprentice with you in some of the more complex household planning. Why not invite them to join you in learning about how life insurance works when you switch plans? Not only will this prepare them for the future, but it will also give them the chance to watch how you tackle detailed tasks.
5Keeping Control of Their Finances
Because most teenagers do not have to pay for living expenses yet, they may lack proper budgeting skills. Use this time to teach your teens on how they can keep track of their finances, especially those who work part-time.
Once your teenager is ready to start his college applications, he should also be ready to start thinking about how he can pay for his education.
Begin by sitting down with your teen and teaching him the basics of budgeting over a series of conversations. Go over things as many times as he needs until he feels comfortable with handling his finances. This will not only teach him the necessarily skills to be financially responsible, but it will also help him feel more confident with his own capabilities.
Strategies for a Better Future
While the teenage years may not be a walk in the park for anyone, there are simple and effective strategies you can use to improve your relationship with your teens while helping them mature into happy and well-adjusted adults. Begin by making one of these 5 shifts and pay attention to how your teenager reacts. Soon enough they’ll be out on their own, and you’ll have the pleasure of knowing you helped them get there.
See Also: The Problem of the Perfect Parent