Of Helicopters and Subs. Is There a War on Parenting?

    Helicopter parenting is getting bad press these days for good reason. It creates annoying parents and weak, whining kids. At least that’s the consensus of many teachers.


    But it wasn’t so many years ago that parents were made to feel inept if they weren’t affirming their baby in the womb (think “visiting” the baby in your womb), making sure their child ate nutritionally sound snacks–preferably organic,  provided a “green” lo voc paint nursery and home (with a pet that licks its privates then the baby’s face) and providing an educationally rich, stimulating social life for their two-year-old. Anxious, over-parenting was the ideal, and still is to some.


    Today the hype is submarine parenting, basically out of sight until you are needed. You are supposed to allow your child to fail so that they learn responsibility. Sounds good, but does it work on toddlers?


    I’m also wondering if this is an excuse for parental neglect, that is neglecting to be a parent. I’ve seen too many parents drop their end of the load, and someone else, teachers, grandparents, other parents, gets to reign in junior.


    I am not a child whisperer of any sort. But I have raised five, very different children and have taught in some capacity for almost twenty years. So, as I’m listening to the pop-child-psychology, I’m thinking of the parenting instructions in Deuteronomy 11:19 . This verse describes a very visible parent, actively engaging with their child. 1Thessalonians 2:11-12 describes a father’s heart for his child. Then there’s the balance verse that seems to modern parents outdated and severe, “He who spares his rod, hates his son.” Proverbs 13:24 MKJ. It just means if you love your children you will correct them.


    Biblical parenting, like everything else biblical, has high standards. The problem with helicopters and submarines is they are extremes on the pendulum. Neither will work all the time. Real parenting skill knows when to hover and when to step back. Creating adults is a process, and should become more hands off as your child matures.


    Here’s my unofficial, non-professional, mom-to-mom advice: be a helicopter when you have to and a submarine when you can. Then enjoy your latte with a grin, because you are bound to annoy someone either way.


    Here’s a link to a book by Dr. Kevin Leman that you might find helpful.


    Image courtesy of africa at FreeDigitalPhotos.net



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