The Benefits of Taking a Step Back

The term "helicopter parenting" was first coined in the 1969 book "Parents &Teenagers" by Dr. Haim Ginott. It was used to describe parents who hover and are overly involved, in all aspects of their child's life into, and sometimes beyond, adulthood. Being present and involved in your child's life is an important part of parenting. However, helicopter parents, or parents who over-parent, are so involved it can hinder their child's development and social skills, making the child unprepared and unable to do anything for himself/herself.

Taking a step back after being so involved can be hard. But there are many advantages to adapting a still present, but more laid back style of parenting.

Less Stress: Trying to protect your child from everything can be very stressful. It can also be extremely stressful and frustrating for your child. Stepping back and relinquishing some control can be great at reducing stress for both you and your child.

Allows for Failure: Despite the negative connotation that the word “failure” has, it is important to remember that failure can be a positive thing. No parent wants to watch their child fail and be disappointed. However, both are vital in the development of your child. Failure promotes learning, problem-solving skills, and helps prepare them for handling failure in the future.

Promotes Positive Self-Esteem and Builds Confidence: Good self-esteem and confidence can be a very fragile things for children and teens. Both are needed for your child to have an overall positive emotional wellbeing. Being an overly involved, overprotective helicopter parent can send the wrong message to your child; that you do not think he/she can do it independently. That mentality can be very emotionally damaging to your child. Allowing your child to discover and accomplish some things on their own can give him/her pride in his/her accomplishments, which in turn, can lead to self-confidence and healthy self-esteem.

Helps Develop Necessary Life Skills: Though most parents dread the day their child goes out on their own, it is a part of growing up. To be successful in a career and home-life, your child must develop simple life skills, such as preparing food or laundering clothes. For a child whose parent always did these tasks for him/her, he/she may have difficulty doing it on his/her own. Doing things for his/her self also allows adaptive coping skills to develop.

Teaches Independence: Allowing your child to try to do things on his/her own promotes independence and helps develop life and social skills. Encouraging independence does not mean your child has to do everything alone, it simple means allowing your child to do what he/she can do, and enabling him/her to develop autonomy.

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The Benefits of Taking a Step Back
Shandy Marso, Contributor


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