Written by Alyssa Banko
Published in SCV Health & Family Magazine September/October 2013
A publication of The Santa Clarita Signal
When I was a young I swallowed a coin, got stitches thanks to my brother, fell out of a tree, rode my bike around town until dark, used some bad words at an early age and learned from all my stupid mistakes.
It was nothing too out of the ordinary for the average kid, and my parents dealt with it all as if it were no big deal.
Nowadays, a swallowed coin would result in a 911 call.
A sibling causing injury to another sibling, oh my, calls for immediate family counseling.
Your kid fell out of a tree? Lecture them about the dangers of climbing trees, and cut it down immediately.
It’s dark and my kid is still out on his bike? Get the police on the phone.
Heaven forbid the kid next door teaches your kid a bad word. He won’t be visiting that house anymore.
As for mistakes, kids are not allowed to make them.
Sure, times have changed and so have the parenting styles.
I don’t remember any of my friends’ parents trying to control everything they did. I sure don’t remember them obsessively doting over their children or keeping kids on such a tight leash they couldn’t breathe on their own.
I had never even heard of the helicopter parent, but kids today sure know what to call those overprotective parents that constantly hover over their own.
Since then, my kids have even introduced me to some new phrases.
The “black hawk” parent gets angry, overreacts and then goes straight to the top over any slight of their kid.
If Mom’s kid was not selected for a part in a play, they immediately call the principal. If Dad’s kid wasn’t invited to a swim party, there’s a call to the hosting parents for an explanation.
In the past year, my kids have also educated me on the “toxic parent.” So overly involved, this parent is pushed to the point of paranoia. A toxic parent will insist on being classroom representative just to watch over the kids’ interaction ensuring his or her kid is in the right crowd. The toxic parents also lurks and stalks on social media to see who’s doing what, when and with whom.
Are parents taking things a bit too far these days? I sure think so.
My kids have friends that are so micromanaged and overscheduled they don’t have time to be kids.
They have no freedom, feel smothered and are being molded to perfection by their parents.
Yes, it’s being done with good intentions, but they are taking hands on parenting to the extreme.
There comes a point where you need to put some trust in your kid, hoping they will do the right thing and make good decisions.
Part of growing up is learning life isn’t fair.
Kids need to fight their own battles and fend for themselves. They need to learn to deal with rejection when they don’t get picked for the all-star team. It’s OK for them to be disappointed when they don’t get the popular teacher at the start of the new school year.
For some parents, it’s time to land the helicopter, back off a bit and find some balance. You can’t keep your kids wrapped in bubble wrap until they’re 18!