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Helicopter Parents

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Saturday, December 1, 2012
Helicopter Parents-Have Faith!
We all know the term helicopter parents—parents who literally hover over their kids’ existence --
an affliction most notable in the upper middle class.
This is important to emphasize. Most parents are NOT upper middle class
and most parents are NOT helicopter pilots.
Helicopter parents make up the 2 percentile—but they get the most print and talk space.

I have coached such parents.  I have mentored their kids.
And I have now come to my second major ah ha moment about child development.
My first was realizing, many years ago, the formula for parenting:
Supply good Food, ample Clothing, and secure Shelter for physical survival.
Then add unconditional Heart, abundant Humor & unwavering Optimism for emotional well-being
and our children will grow up physically and emotionally healthy.

However, it is hard to make a parent a minimalist. 
The Zen of parenthood cannot compete with --The More Padding the Better--concept
and the-- How to Hurt and Failure Proof My Child--approach.

Helicopter parents have a hard time stepping back and letting go of control. 
In order to believe that the best is yet to come,
or that each day brings a new beginning, new hope and new opportunity,
that nothing is finite except death (and who knows what happens afterwards)
we have to suspend disbelief.
We really have to believe in the possibility of change, and in the probability of success.
It is a fundamental faith that allows us to move past the present, and welcome the future. 
It is faith that will define us as optimists. 

So for helicopter parents, where is the faith in the future? Where is the trust in their children? 
Where is the belief that their children can make it on their own regardless of what Life hands them? 
When I pose this question to parents, they often discover a deep moment of truth. 
Suddenly they see their own parents in high definition,
they recognize in what ways they are compensating for their own childhoods,
and how that is showing up both at home and at their work. 
And then I ask--what would it mean to truly let go and allow their child to grow without that added baggage?

All parents want first and foremost for their children to be happy.  But how does a child grow happiness? 
A happy child is an emotionally secure child.
An emotionally secure child is able to trust in the world and in themselves. 
How do we help our children develop such trust? 
We allow them to experience stops and starts, ups and down, trips and leaps, disappointments and accomplishments,
hurts and joys that naturally come along in life.   
In that way, they come to understand that a moment in time is just that--one moment in time.
They will not get stuck.  They will not feel trapped. 
They can move on because they have faith that this too shall pass and this is the way of the universe.

We do not need to fast forward our children.  We do not need to shower them with material possessions. 
We need only to love them unconditionally, laugh often with them, and remind them every day that-
tomorrow is another dayno chance is last chance saloongood times always follow bad--
and that we have faith in their ability to make something happen for themselves.

The most powerful gift we can offer is the gift of faith. And with our faith, our children will grow optimistic spirits.
And optimistic spirits can soar beyond any handicaps. 
So sell the helicopter along with the crib.
If we have faith in our children, they will grow their own faith, their own optimism, and their own success.
It is that simple.
By MomOpinion Matters (TM)
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Attribution to Margo@MomOpinion Matters (TM)