We’ve all heard the phrase helicopter parenting. It’s an unflattering term that describes the innate desire in us as parents to provide the best opportunities for our children. While that desire comes from a great place, it isn’t always the best tool to set your children up for success.
Helicopter parents often take too much personal responsibility for their children’s experiences as well as their success or failure in life. This need for control leaves the children of these parents without a lot of practical experience in managing their own lives.
Here are some helpful things to consider as you work to empower your children in the pursuit of their education.
Whether your child is absent from class due to a scheduled vacation or an unplanned illness, there will be work that needs to be made up to compensate for that time away. While you may be tempted to do all the heavy lifting and reach out to teachers to find out how your child can make up her school work, this is a great opportunity to empower her to handle it herself. You may have to coach your child and even feed her a script, but allowing her to speak up for herself will build the confidence that you each have in her.
In addition to managing the day-to-day management of their own education, your child can learn a great deal by simply learning to ask for help when they need it. Even the act of raising their hand in the classroom shows that they are academically engaged, curious, and shows the teacher the areas in which they struggle. If your child struggles in math, encourage him to speak directly to the teacher about it. The more he learns to speak up for himself now the more comfortable he’ll feel doing it in the future.
We understand that there are situations of classroom bullying that absolutely require parental intervention - especially in larger public school classrooms where teachers might not see all of their students interactions. However, if your child is having trouble socially in their classroom, you might give them the opportunity to navigate the conflict on their own before getting involved. If your child seems to struggle in this arena, consider coaching him on some tools for managing interpersonal conflict. The more you empower him now, the more skilled he will become which only benefits him in the future.
All of the above are opportunities for you as parents to give your children the tools necessary to advocate for themselves in a low-pressure academic environment. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you must completely divorce yourself of his or her academic successes, but that you empower your child and give them the opportunity and the resources to take the lead whenever possible. Not all children will be thrilled with this new found responsibility, but as we know any opportunities for growth are often uncomfortable at first. Would you like your children to be part of St. Barnabas’ strong academic community? Contact us today to learn more.