I learned something new yesterday. There is a new parenting term out in the world.
While listening to Bill and Wendy on WGN yesterday, they had a woman come on who came up with something new that describes her style of parenting.
Which is not to denigrate those helicpter parents per se. This is what works for them but I wanted to raise children who are capable of taking care of themselves. So does Katie Slivovsky who works at the Chicago Children’s Museum.
Katie admits in an essay on www.Freerangekids.com that she does not have the attention span to be a helicopter mom. Lord knows, I do not. But she is a loving prescence in her kids life who makes them a priority and always tries to listen to what they have to say. Her goal is to raise kids who know what to do in tricky situations when Mom is not there. And when the going gets rough, they know they have some place to land.
There are times when Katie admits that she can seem to be an unattentive parent. Such as when she completely missed the signs that her daughter might be diabetic. Personally, I might have missed that too if this is not something common in my family. I have a heightened awareness, she might not. I don’t think there is a need to kick her in the shins for that one.
The point here is not to look at helicopter parents and say “you’re doing it all wrong,” even if you think that. Which I do because I want my kids to be able to live and make decisions and learn from their mistakes while I am around to help them figure out a better way. The point is to say that there is this whole other way to do it. That you have to allow some hurts and failures and a soft place to land when wounds need licking.
Way back in high school and college, we studied different styles of parenting, one of which was called the Laissez-faire method. Which essentially means you let the kids do what they want, starting at a small age. While it certainly led to a child making mistakes to learn from, the problem is there are no rules as a guideline. That is not what Helipad parenting is about.
Helipad is about setting rules, guideline, and then allowing a child to be responsible for his/her school work/chores/responsibilities. It is about getting them ready for the time that adolescence hits when there will be choices that are not so easy. It’s about being there to listen and to help. It is not about doing the kids’ homework for them.
Let’s face it, not every kid is going to work with a one-size fits all parenting philosophy. What works for one kid may not work for another. That requires us parents to bend and flex a bit.
Because this is a relatively new term, it has not been fully defined yet beyond what I have stated. There is a bit more that needs to be hammered out. And I do not see much difference in this and free-range parenting. But I really want to know what are your thoughts.
Are you a helipad parent?