Lindsey Howland

Special Correspondent

Literal child leashes, an emblem of overprotective parenting. Source: http://www.sodahead.com/living/child-leashes-is-anyone-else-disgusted-by-this/question-735145/

Literal child leashes, an emblem of overprotective parenting. Source: http://www.sodahead.com/living/child-leashes-is-anyone-else-disgusted-by-this/question-735145/

Working my way through life, I have come to notice different things. Things like daily routines, habits, or how a person decides to generally go about life. Parenting styles have especially caught my eye. There are many different paths to take when parenting, and there is no manual to tell you exactly how to do it. But when parents make decisions about how much independence their child should have, they should realize that they should at least give the child some measure of independence, because none at all won’t help them in life.

I am talking about helicopter parents. These are the mothers and fathers who are always hovering around their children, needing to know everything about their lives and having such a short leash on their children, thus preventing them from experiencing life on their own.

Having witnessed children both figuratively and literally on leashes in malls, in events, or even downtown, I understand that the leash prevents their child from getting lost or running away. But even after the children outgrow this leash, it will carry through their life. This method of parenting is preventing them from experiencing so many things that involve mental and physical independence from their parents.

It could be argued that they are just kids and do need guidance in their life and need to be taught what decisions are right or wrong.

But I say, although children should have some guidance, their parents should not rule their lives. Parents should be able to trust that their child is doing the right thing, especially if their child is becoming a teenager and about to go into the real world.

No more need for handholding parents. It’s time to see what he or she can accomplish on his or her own, without the help of Mommy or Daddy.

Trying things on their own will help children, adolescents, and young adults to learn more about the world. I think this method of experience works better than parents simply telling their child what to do, or just doing it for him or her.

Elizabeth Hartfield Stokes is a writer and teacher in Maine. In her Times magazine article, Stokes says, “I’ve had the unpleasant experience of teaching the children of ‘helicopter parents’: students who can’t think for themselves or who balk at the demands of college education.”

She struggles to teach their children but despite this, she understands the path of their parenting method.

Stokes admits that she is a helicopter parent herself; it even says so in the title of her article, “I Am a Helicopter Parent– I Don’t Apologize.” She says that growing up exposed to violence and crime has made her more protective of her own children. She says, “I wonder if many of my fellow Gen-X parents experience adulthood as a recovery from childhood, and if our parenting choices reflect our desire to not have the harshness of the era our children are growing up in visited upon them. But we often hear that our approach is doing our kids, and society, untold harm and that we will be directly responsible for a generation of spineless, helpless wimps.”

Despite her acknowledgement that her parenting methods are probably harming her child in some way, Stokes cannot help but hover. This overprotective nature is common in parents as a natural instinct, but to truly benefit their children, parents must consciously loosen their grip.

Many parents also don’t want to let their children make the same mistakes that they did. Parenting is a way to express the better part of the parents’ lives through their children. Of course, their child will always have their own mistakes they will want to correct later in life but parents are always simply trying to set up the best present and future for their child. Many parents believe that hovering and being a helicopter parents will help this.

Parents who are not hovering all the time end up exposing their children to the wonders in life sooner. It shows them that you can never rely on one person for answers to every question, you must make decisions yourself and experience consequences and rewards of those decisions.

Although parents wish to shield their children from the world, they must learn eventually. I believe that when children are very young then it is okay to shield them. But eventually children get older and become adolescents, and then it’s time for parents to cut the leash.


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