Tag Archive: parenting styles

A Helipad What?

I learned something new yesterday. There is a new parenting term out in the world.

Helipad Parent.

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 Slivovsky with Wendy Snyder and Bill Leff

Katie Slivovsky with Wendy Snyder and Bill Leff

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?


Family Movie Night

by Karyn Bowman

This past week has been incredibly busy for our family.

Image by Mathew Hull

Image by Mathew Hull

There have been several ball games, graduation, 4H activities, the parade, town wide garage sale, two birthday parties, and various concerts. Other people I know had dance recitals and graduation parties to host.

While it is an incredible time, it is also incredibly tiring. A few times I wondered if I could fall asleep right where I was but knew I had to stay awake. In truth, I love these moments even during the most hectic moments. But when it is all over, I want nothing more than relax.

Once Sunday arrived, I was ready to do nothing. Which I did rather successfully beyond reading a book, planting a few new plants, and making stuffed shells for dinner. Later that night, the husband and I watched Parental Guidance starring Billy Crystal and Bette Midler.

Midler and Crystal play grandparents who have been reluctantly asked to watch their only grandchildren. Once in the house, Midler realizes that they are the ‘other grandparents,’ the ones not seen as fun but as a burden. During this week, she wants to create memorable moments for the kids and asks her husband not to screw it up for them.

Image from IMDB.com

Image from IMDB.com

This might be hard because their daughter, Marisa Tomei, is a bit of a helicopter parent but she is aided by the rules of their school and social circles in which kids are told to use their blue voice and baseball games don’t count runs or strike pitches. Old school clashes with new school as grandparents try to figure out a smart house and a set of rules of life that do not always make sense.

This is not a deep movie, there are some moments that one might call cloying or manipulative. But it has nuggets of truth hidden in the biting or bitter remarks made by various characters.

As parents, we strive to do better than what we thought of our parents’ parenting styles. We try to eliminate bullying or unhappy feelings. We strive to make everyone feel good about their accomplishment.

I understand the daughter’s point of view of wanting to be different from her parents. I mean, how many of us have seen the saying “I opened my mouth and my mother’s voice came out” and giving a head-nod of agreement? How many of us vowed that while we love our parents, we were going to raise our kids differently which meant ‘better’ in our heads.

It is not always like that.

Some modern tricks have value as do some of the old ones. I think that not all modern tricks and tools work as well as some of the old ones. I think sometimes kids have to lose games and develop skills from that loss. I think kids need to be taught how to speak to others without being a manipulative bully – and when that happens call the kids for acting out in a manipulative manner.

In the end, parents have to be parents which means setting boundaries and consequences for inappropriate behavior while allowing kids to have fun. It also means that kids have to learn how to treat others in a respectful manner. And sometimes, you break every rule you ever set for a magical moment.

Would I watch this movie again?

I think I might. There is a sweetness as Grandpa learns to bond with his grandchildren. There is some honesty in one of the subplot’s involving careers. While this movie might be acceptable context-wise for those who are pre-teen, I think it is best for adults who get both worlds of parenting.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.