These days as parents, we are trying so hard to be compassionate and respectful parents that we sometimes grossly overcompensate. We want to acknowledge them so they feel seen and we want to talk about their feelings with then and help guide their boredom and moderate their fights. All of this is great, but I think perhaps we do it WAY too much! The term “helicopter” parent comes to mind. I’ve always associated this with letting children guide their own independent play but I’m now realizing that it goes beyond that; I’m also realizing that I’ve turned full on helicopter!
I talk too much.
I address and talk about every single fuss, whine or complaint.
I marvel and ogle at him when he plays well, interrupting his process.
I explain every little thing we do or see, constantly talking about everything.
I never leave him alone!
This must be exhausting, I know it is for me. So lately I’ve been holding my tongue and hiding my presence.
When my son comes to me to whine about the crayon being cut in half or a box that won’t close for him I now just pretend that I don’t see him, or at the least I just smile at him and continue on my work. Soon enough he walks away and goes back to his play.
When he is yelling at me because I won’t let him come in the kitchen while I boil a large pot of water, I ignore it and eventually he finds something to do on his own.
And when he plays really nicely with his friends, I don’t even go near them! Even when they get into little arguments I’ll hang back and listen to see if they need help, more often than not they manage better without me.
I’m not suggesting that we always ignore our children, just sometimes, you know, when the time is right. I think as adults we feel that we know better, or that we have all of the answers when mostly we just get in the way. My mom recently told me that sometimes he won’t like me, that children get tired of adults, and I believe this now. It’s not that I am neglecting my child. No, I like to think of it as just trusting that he can figure it out on his own, he has to learn this lesson eventually so why not now. This means paying attention to when I need to let him be and when he REALLY needs me.
(The above photo is of my son telling on me because I took away a dangerous object. His yelling made her sad and they both started. I took a photo (horrible, right?) and then went back to gardening where they followed me and played happily not 1 minute later) :)