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April 23, 2010 - Kylie Saari
When children are young, their parents need to hover over them. Toddlers forget easily, and encounter many new things that they may need direction on, such as what to do when holding a paperclip and inspecting an electrical outlet.
For these instances, having a parent near-by, watching his or her every move is the only responsible choice.
But as the child ages and increases in independence, experts say parents should decrease their immediate supervision. They should stop hovering.
But many don't. They become helicopter parents.
Helicopter parents are always there, directing, supervising, stepping in on every little need. As a parent, I can see how this is tempting. News reports constantly remind us what could happen if we look away for even a moment. Watching our children make the "wrong" decision is difficult. It is hard not to stop them, guiding their logic until the make the decision we think they should make.
But kids learn through doing. If they climb a tree and realize they are unsure how to get down, we should let them think about it a little while before rushing over to help. If they lose a toy through carelessness, how does buying them a new one help them understand to be more careful?
Of course children sometimes need help right away. If the threat of serious injury is present, by all means parents need to be available immediately. But kids have a hard time learning they care good enough, smart enough, and strong enough if they are never given the chance to be those things.
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