By Tim Walker
There’s been a lot of buzz lately about the term “helicopter parents,” people who hover over their kids all the time. For most of us who see a true helicopter parent in action, our first inclination is to say, “Relax. It’s okay.” But, as parents, if all of us were real honest, we would have to admit that we can understand their motivation. Parenthood is scary, uncertain, and filled with doubt. You wonder if you’re doing it right. You wonder if you are teaching them the right things. You wonder if you are raising independent kids, or ones who will be living in your basement when they are 40.
And here’s a big doubt—sometimes you wonder if they even love you anymore.
Let’s face it, the hugs and smiles came a lot more easily when they were little. When you came home, they ran to the door to greet you. They lit up when you walked into the room. You could just feel your child’s love for you simply by looking at his or her face. But now that your child is a teen, those hugs don’t come as often—unless there’s some item being purchased. And when you walk into the room, sometimes they seem more annoyed at your presence than joyful.
It’s easy to get hurt. It’s easy to quit trying to connect with them when the responses aren’t what they used to be. You can only handle hearing the word “fine” so many times before you just want to stop asking, “How was your day?”
But don’t stop. Keep it up. One of the things that we are teaching your child over the next couple of weeks is—when faced with a big doubt, rely on the things you do know. We’re teaching your child to look back and realize that there are some foundational things you have to hang on to in the face of uncertainty.
Your child loves you. He or she may not know how to show it anymore as they seek to break away and establish their independence, but it’s there. There are so many things going on in and around your child, that a lot of things that seemed normal a few years ago are just confusing now. Hang in there with them. Keep loving them. Keep fighting for relationship with them. Keep finding ways to connect with them.
And when you are scared or unsure, remember that you taught them a few good things along the way, and they are learning more from you than you realize.
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