Helicopters vs. Lighthouses: Which One Are You?

By Janis Meredith | Posted 4/13/2020

Over-parenting, also known as helicopter parenting, is not a new thing. It was happening way before the term became popular. For years, parents have been ignoring boundaries and embarrassing their children, whether it’s on the sidelines of a youth sports event, at school or in their child’s workplace.

Over-parenting is another term used to describe parents who are way too involved in their kids’ lives, jumping in to help them do everything from laundry to writing their resumes after college. And when it starts with small children and continues, kids get used to it. They get so used to it, in fact, that they don’t have a chance to develop ambition or tenacity.

Why do parents do this?

•    They don’t want to look bad if don’t fulfill their child’s desires.

•    It’s easy for parents to compare their families and their parenting to peers.

•    Parents are control freaks, convinced that things won’t work out unless they step in.

•    Parents often don’t think their kids are ready to step out on their own and still need parental help.

•    Parents have their own emotional needs to be needed.

When parents give their kids too much, their children don’t learn the art of working and waiting. And that’s how kids grow up entitled.

 What if parents were lighthouses instead of helicopters?

A lighthouse parent is different from a helicopter parent because it doesn’t follow the child around, but it provides light and communication, giving guidance while not chasing a child down.

If you truly want your child to grow up to be a strong adult who can manage on their own and will not be stuck living in your spare room until they are 35, learn to be a lighthouse parent instead of a helicopter parent. And there’s no better place to learn that than in youth sports.

Janis Meredith is a family life coach who wants to help all parents raise champions. You can find out more at rcfamilies.com