What Is Your Parenting Style Teaching Your Kids? The Happy Medium Between Helicopter And Free-Range Parenting
Lately there has been a lot of debate between advocates of “free-range parenting” and “helicopter parenting“. Both groups feel that theirs is the best way to raise a child, but what is the ultimate goal of parenting? Isn’t it for your child to grow into a well-adjusted, independent adult? While both groups make some valid points, it might be said that the healthiest way to raise a child is a combination of both approaches. Here is a closer look at what can be learned from both sides of the debate.
Children need safe places to be independent.
One of the biggest cries from helicopter parents is that they want to make sure that their children are safe. Any good parent want to make sure that their child is not going to intentionally put him or herself in harm’s way. However, as a child grows, he or she needs moments away from mom and dad in order to make decisions and mistakes. Home and school are two great places for those moments to happen.
Is your preschooler attached to your leg every moment of the day, or do you find yourself not getting anything accomplished when your children are doing their homework? It may be time to allow them to have a bit of independence inside their own home. At school, a Montessori approach allows children the freedom to become independent, while still providing a safe environment for them to explore.
Learning does not have to be scheduled.
It has been said that children learn best through play. Some parents and educators take that idea to the extreme by providing their children with hundreds of activities and “games” in order to teach them certain skills. However, in the midst of all this planning, is there time left for the child to have fun on her own? Are you giving your children opportunities to just be kids, and play an impromptu game of tag? Rather than a scheduled morning art lesson, does your child simply have access to an easel and some paints? Allow your child to choose fun activities that he is passionate about, even if they simply include playing in the backyard.
Consider the messages that your approach sends to your kids.
While both approaches are based on love for your children and a desire to do what is best for them, the extremes of each put unnecessary pressure on young children. At their worst, free-range parenting can allow children to get into situations that they are not ready to handle on their own, and helicopter parenting can cause children to grow up without being able to make decisions for themselves.
You may agree with one approach more than the other, and there are merits of both, but don’t try to be perfect at it. As a parent, it is okay not to fit the mold of your chosen parenting style. In fact, your kids may thank you one day if you don’t. Learn more about early childhood education here.