On Parenting

I have two grown sons who make me very proud: one is a Marine and the other is a website developer working for a large ad agency. I think if I did anything right in my life, it was having and raising them.

The other day I heard the term, “Helicopter Parents”. I’m sure it’s been around a while, but since I don’t watch TV or news or anything, I just heard it. At first I chuckled, but the image I got was an interesting one: that of parents hovering over their children.

It brought back a memory of my own mother. She was a classic “smother mother” which I suppose today would be a “helicopter parent.”  I tried for years to break away and claim my freedom, but in reality it took most of my life to break free of these early challenges.  I remember the “aha” moment of seeing her with my own son, standing behind him with her arms outstretched as he tried to learn to walk, at the ready to catch him if he fell.

I guess I always believed as a parent that you had to let them fall.  They had to learn that there were consequences to their actions, rather than always having a parent to clean up after them.  There were many times I let my children fall and fall they did, but they always got up and moved forward.

I think in a lot of ways, it’s easier to stand behind them to catch them before they fell.  That’s because it’s infinitely more painful as a parent to watch them fall then to catch them first.  And I suppose it smooths the ego to say that your kids never fell or failed.  It’s far harder to admit that yes, they don’t always make the right decision, and yes, sometimes they do fall.

And I especially want to mention that the little falls they take as children are infinitely easier than the big ones they take as adults.  I was certainly not prepared for adulthood.  It was rather shocking, and it took years to become a self sufficient, independent adult.  Far longer than it would have had I been allowed to fall.


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