Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Hitting the nail on the head

Lately, I've been frequenting some local play dates with friends from high school, and their many small children(which have been a blast by the way), and I've noticed some different parenting styles. For example, there is the helicopter parent...aptly named due to the fact that these parents hover over their children attempting to protect them from danger of all sorts . Then there are the hands off, let kids be kids kind of parents, which is exactly what I think I am. I mean, within reason, of course. Anyway MckMama (one of the bloggers that I follow) wrote a post today that struck a chord with me because in it, she gives detailed research that proves what I've always thought to be true. We should let kids explore, adventure, etc., and that by preventing them from doing so, we actually hinder their physical and emotional development, putting them in more danger. Anyway, she states it so eloquently, I would encourage you all: parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, whomever, to go there and read it. Let me know what you all think!
Just click here

1 comment:

  1. I know i'm a new parent, but i have definitely been pondering this for quite a few years.

    First, i have to tell you to thank your helicoptering family for your freedom to live, love and trust freely :) You are so blessed to be raised with protection from physical, emotional, and financial hurt because you have been guided by a HUGE family who has taken tremendous pride in protecting their precious gifts from God. I have been telling chad this same thing since the day I met your family.

    I have never considered the concept of helicopter parenting with respect to preschool-age children, but I agree that too much of anything can be detrimental. I started questioning different parenting styles several years before I decided to have children, and I think it is impossible to choose a style and end up with a darn-close-to-perfect result - people are all so different and respond to different pressures (or lack thereof)in ways that nobody can accurately predict.

    I started thinking about it as I questioned the "adventurous" and excessively "explorative" life that my brother and I have both been living - full of problems to solve ~all by ourselves~. I feel like the people who were supposed to protect us actually gave us TOO much free reign. Our independence was encouraged from the beginning, and we were never guided into any certain structure - our friends thought we had it made - no curfews & my brother quit school in 10th grade - how about THAT for letting him make mistakes on his own?!! (I think a helicopter would have provided an ideal intervention here)... I went to the beach with graduating seniors when i was 15... no worries, i knew right from wrong - yeah? I can't help but wonder if this is why my bro and I are so *extremely* independent and so burdened with life's normal inconveniences. Is this why I want my days to run smoothly with no hiccups? How fun is that, right?! Notice i can say this with minimal probability that the responsible party (my family) will read this and be able to take offense! You, however, would never get away with it... hello, helicopters! ;)

    So much comes to mind, but I dont want to bore you with my rambling. I almost feel like extreme parenting styles seem to result in the opposite extreme styles in their children, so as long as we are ok with THAT...?

    I would love for my children to grow into adults who can effortlessly enjoy life without constantly mentally preparing for past bad experiences to possibly return. There is no way to derive and calculate a parenting formula to create that, but by nature of my upbringing, it feels negligent for ME not to provide as much as i can to my children - including some direction and discipline. Maybe the Lord put me in those situations for a reason - maybe He really WANTS me to be a hypersensitive nurturer - maybe i will save lives or do something noteworthy.

    I will grant independence to my girls as they begin to prove that they can be trusted in that specific area, and I would never make one play with a toy the "right" way, but I would definitely try to protect her from choking on that toy. I think common sense is the best style - when you try to categorize it, i feel like i would just put pressure on myself to stick with the theme, which may someday cloud my judgement. I don't think *you* would fall under either extreme - which is great, imho :)

    So, i hope you really meant to let you know what I think, because i have now provided a mini-thesis on it! I am enjoying every minute of this parenting adventure, and I cant wait to see how my opinions and priorities change and grow as i continue this motherhood gig :)