Friday, 29 April 2011
Babies. They are so sweet. They are chubby, soft, helpless and adorable. We feel the need to protect them, love them and cater to their every whim. Their sweet little smile makes our heart melt. Their coos are precious melodies to any mother's heart. Their little cries let us know when they are hungry or tired and we love to meet our baby's needs.
Fast forward to two years later and you have a toddler who throws tantrums, knows how to manipulate you and wants to be their own, independent little person. "Where did that sweet baby go?", many moms wonder. That little baby is now running around and screaming, "NOOOOO!!!"
Kids are a blessing and wonderful. This is not meant to be negative towards children. But, like every parent knows, there are plenty of times when it can be difficult to deal with a tantrum or general mischievous behavior. It is hard to go from having a baby who could do nothing and was immobile to a child who is into everything at full speed ahead and filled with curiosity.
Parenting is a job that requires one to adjust every day, sometimes even hourly, to something new their child has learned or another skill/interest they've acquired. The adjustment time it takes us to catch up with our kid's development is not always in tune with their learning. Instead of letting our little ones try new things and grow, we can be hesitant to let them.
One reason is because we want to still be needed as much as we used to be. Another reason is because we don't like to watch our children become upset or frustrated when they can't figure out how to do something themselves. A third reason is because it's easier for mommy is she just goes ahead and does it for her son/daughter. Less time, less fussing.
It's easier to hover and cater to them sometimes. Even in my own life, it is way too easy to swoop in and do things for my kids that I should let them figure out on their own. If it prevents them from crying or fussing, I used to be more than willing to jump right in. My son especially gets very upset when he tries something and it does not work. It's so hard to let him cry in frustration and not fix it for him.
I'm learning though, that he gets much more satisfaction and it builds his self-esteem if he works it out by himself. He may cry and fuss but he keeps coming back and eventually figures out. When he does, he is the happiest little boy around and so proud too. It makes me happy to see how much he can do now.
When he was around 18 months he would get very frustrated and angry over what seemed like nothing. My husband and I could not figure it out. He used to be a happy little guy and didn't fuss much at all. As he grew, he got grumpier and grumpier. I had no idea where my precious baby had gone or what was going on. All I could think about was that my cute cuddly baby had been taken over by a screaming toddler.
What was happening? He wanted to do things himself but mommy wouldn't let him. He also knew that I'd do certain things for him if he fussed enough. I thought I was being a good mom by taking such good care of my son while he was thinking, "It's easy to get her to do what I want" or "This lady won't let me do anything!"
He is more verbal now and it's easier to understand his motives and what's going on. I've learned that being a helicopter mom is not necessary.
I used to feel such guilt if I wasn't involved 100% in whatever my kids were doing. Now, I sit back and let them do their own thing. They're not babies anymore. I am teaching them how to instead of doing it for them.
If they get upset, I don't take over anymore. I let them go at it by themselves. If there is something I know my child can do but they want mommy to do it for them, I no longer give in. I try to talk them through it with a lot of positivity. I am not a hovering, do-it-all or do-most-of-it parent anymore. They don't need that. They need someone who rallies them on to keep trying.
Of course, if they truly cannot do something for themselves or should not do it, I am there for that. I still get to take care of them in many ways. However, I feel like I am more in control now that I am no longer a slave of super-mommy guilt or a slave to my children's whims.
Are you a helicopter parent? What positives and negatives have you found or seen in helicopter parents?