The 7 Things You Do That Ruin Your Children, Helicopter Parents

January 23, 2014  |  

All parents want to keep their kids safe. But in recent years, more and more experts have said parents have been spending too much time treating their kids, well, with kid gloves. Psychologist and parenting expert Dr. Tim Elmore has actually narrowed it down to seven things parents are doing wrong when it comes to preparing their children for the future.

When it comes to producing future leaders, here’s where helicopter parents need to do better, according to Dr. Elmore:

We don’t let our children experience risk
We rescue too quickly
We rave too easily
We let guilt get in the way of leading well
We don’t share our past mistakes
We mistake intelligence, giftedness and influence for maturity
We don’t practice what we preach

It should be common sense that parents need to learn when to be more hands off, but apparently, that’s not the case. How do they get caught coddling their kids? Elmore says,

“I think both fear and lack of understanding play a role here, but it leads with the fact that each generation of parents is usually compensating for something the previous generation did. The primary adults in kids’ lives today have focused on now rather than later. It’s about their happiness today not their readiness tomorrow. I suspect it’s a reaction. Many parents today had moms and dads who were all about getting ready for tomorrow: saving money, not spending it, and getting ready for retirement. In response, many of us bought into the message: embrace the moment. You deserve it. Enjoy today. And we did. For many, it resulted in credit card debt and the inability to delay gratification. This may be the crux of our challenge. The truth is, parents who are able to focus on tomorrow, not just today, produce better results.”

Lest we think he’s just scolding parents without offering solutions, Dr. Elmore left us with a list of ten things that will get parents back on track.  

1. Talk over the issues you wish you would’ve known about adulthood.
2. Allow them to attempt things that stretch them and even let them fail.
3. Discuss future consequences if they fail to master certain disciplines.
4. Aid them in matching their strengths to real-world problems.
5. Furnish projects that require patience, so they learn to delay gratification.
6. Teach them that life is about choices and trade-offs; they can’t do everything.
7. Initiate (or simulate) adult tasks like paying bills or making business deals.
8. Introduce them to potential mentors from your network.
9. Help them envision a fulfilling future, and then discuss the steps to get there.
10. Celebrate progress they make toward autonomy and responsibility.

What do you think of the doctor’s advice? Does he make you want to change how you treat your kids or is this basic stuff?

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