I must admit that, usually, I'm a helicopter parent. I hover above my children, then swoop in as needed to make sure they're safe and/or don't break something. But my family just moved to a new state so I'm exhausted, overwhelmed, and adapting as best as I can. That means my hovering days are limited and, to my surprise, I've noticed how my change in parenting style has affected my children. Turns out, passive parenting is a good thing, you guys. No, really. Like, I'm being serious. I just can't believe I didn't figure this out sooner, especially since my partner is the passive parenting king.
I've learned a lot from my partner over the years. Still, sometimes I don't think he's doing enough as a parent. Then again, I do have a tendency to overreact, over-parent, and over-analyze every single thing. Whoops? Yeah, we'll go with "whoops." So you can imagine when his laid-back parenting style and my hyper-vigilant ass meet in the middle, parenting magic happens. We balance one another out, to be sure, but that doesn't mean I couldn't stand to take a few more pages out of his passive parenting book.
The older my kids get, the more I see how beneficial it might be to adopt at least some of his passive principles on occasion. Maybe I don't have to be so extreme all the time. Plus, my kids seem to appreciate me more when I'm not (surprise, surprise) hovering over them every hour of every day. So with that in mind, and because none of us are above self-improvement, here are some moments when passive parenting really is a good thing. I can always go back to the helicopter life tomorrow, right?
When Kids Need To Learn An Important Lesson
Sometimes my helicopter parenting ruins my children's ability to actually learn an important life lesson. Even though it's difficult, I'm practicing a little restraint so they can evolve from their mistakes and/or failures. Passive parenting allows them the freedom to figure certain things out on their own.
When Kids' Self-Esteem Depends On It
My daughter is nearing her teens and I know I can't control every decision she's going to make. Not only will it destroy our relationship, but it could damage her self-esteem. I definitely don't want to do that. If I have to change how I naturally parent in order to preserve how she views herself in the world, I absolutely will.
When Hovering Fails
Sometimes — and I hate to admit this — my helicopter parenting is a major fail. While I know I am doing the right thing for the most part, I notice the times I've made the situation worse by not letting my kids suffer consequences, make their own decisions, or by second-guessing whatever they do choose to do and they end up doubting themselves.
When Kids Ask For Space
Long gone are the days when I could tell my children what to do and they did it without opposition. They're growing into intelligent, respectable humans, and I'm proud of them. More than that, they're vocal enough to ask me to back off when they want to do something on their own. As hard as it is to let go, I'm trying to be OK with it.
When You Trust Your Kids
My children aren't perfect, by any means, but for the most part I trust them to make the right decision. I don't need to be standing behind them in order for them to do so either, and really, isn't that the point of parenthood? To raise your children to make the right choice when you're not around?
When Situations Require Flexibility
Feeling the need to be in control of every single thing is, let's face it, stressful. Now that I've slowly started trying this whole passive parenting thing, I'm learning when I can actually loosen up my grip. Not all situations with my kids require me being so stringent, just as not all of them need so much passivity. This is how I'm learning to be more flexible (which isn't easy, but necessary).
When Kids Behave Well On Their Own
There comes a point when I need to let go of my ways and give in to passive parenting because, well, my kids are really great. Learning to parent a little more like my partner means providing more freedom than I'm comfortable with, but it gives my kids the confidence they need to continue growing into capable adults.
When You're Tired Of The Helicopter Life
Between you and me, watching every move my kids make is exhausting. I want them to be safe and make good decisions, but I also want them to feel capable doing things on their own and without my constant observation. In being more passive, I'm not only allowing them to decide the kind of people they want to be, I'm teaching them I believe they can do it without me.