Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Easter Eggs And Helicopter Parents

Recently an Easter Egg Hunt in Colorado Springs Bancroft Park was cancelled because of 'agressive behavior' on the part of parents at last years event. It seems that in an effort to make sure their child got an egg parents jumped the boundary markers and rushed out to pick up eggs for their children. This is not a problem specific to Colorado Springs but a manifestation of a phenomenon that has swept the country in recent years.

Parenting observers cite the cancellation as a prime example of so-called "helicopter parents" — those who hover over their children and are involved in every aspect of their children's lives — sports, school, and increasingly work — to ensure that they don't fail, even at an Easter egg hunt.

"That's the perfect metaphor for millennial children. They (parents) can't stay out of their children's lives. They don't give their children enough chances to learn from hard knocks, mistakes."~~P. Solomom Banda (Associated Press)

When I was coaching soccer I saw this situation first hand. Parents would constantly pull me to the side after practice to ask how their child could increase their playing time. My standard answer was to list the skill deficiencies that their child exhibited and to give them a plan to address these deficiencies. That was usually met with strange looks and questions as to easier ways to achieve increased playing time without increased practice.

I realize that no parent wants their children to fail in any way but failing has its place in the personal growth of any child. My father would never have spoken to a coach about my play. He would kick my ass out of the house and make sure I practiced every day and let my playing time be determined by my progress.

I would rather see my child fail at a childhood activity and learn a lesson from that failure than have them fail at something in their adulthood and have no idea how to react to that situation.

My father had a term he used for helicopter type parents--He would say that they are raising 'Mamby Pamby' children. Ones who have to run home to momma because they can not face a situation and solve it without their parents help. Dad hated the Mamby Pambys of the world. I guess it is a generational thing.

It broke my heart when one of my children failed at something but we as parents need to address those failures and use that opportunity to teach skills to address solutions. In the long run we will be doing our children a service toward teaching personal responsibility, problem solving techniques and goal and limitation levels that will serve them well throughout their lives.

Ignore this parental responsibility and at some point you will see your child demonstrating at Zucotti Park and asking for someone else to be responsible for them.


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