Parenting Strategies that Don’t Work

By Scott Schimmel

For every single major life choice- the kinds of cars I bought, the college I chose, my choice of major, where I studied abroad, where I decided to work, I got feedback from my parents. They had life experience, they knew me well, and I knew they wanted the best for me. They were involved and included, but never over-involved. I count myself lucky. 

There’s a phenomenon called helicopter parenting, where parents are over-involved in the daily decisions of their kids’ lives. I heard one mom joke, “Helicopter parent? I’m more like Special Ops— always there, but lurking in the shadows.” 

We ask parents often why they parent the way they do, especially the helicopter parents. We hear them say, “It’s driven out of my love and concern for their wellbeing,” or, “It’s because I don’t want them to make bad choices”. Helicopter parenting makes sense, except when it doesn’t. When doesn’t it work? Into adulthood.

Kids of helicopter parents do not learn intrinsic motivation, they don’t learn to have their own voice, they can’t solve their own problems, and frankly, they’re entitled. 

Kids don’t need helicopter parents. They don’t need friends, either. 

They need Advisors for life’s challenges. Not rescuers. Not managers. Advisors. People who know them well, who have life experience to share, and genuinely want what’s best for their kids. They want their kids to become self-aware, self-confident, self-driven, and self-sufficient. 

What kind of parent are you?