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By EmpowHER February 28, 2008 - 2:24pm
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Anyone who's a parent or a parent-to-be has questions. Talk about your issues now.

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I used to be a bit of a helicopter parent but my thought is - so what? If we're not that, then we're neglectful. There is no happy medium. And one person's overly-attentive parent is not another's. So I tend to keep quite a watchful eye on my 3 children and am disinclined to prove how 'independent' my kids are. They aren't! The oldest is 4 - they need care and attention.

There is a fine line though. Going to playgrounds or indoor play gyms/play centers, I see parents just fawning over every little thing their kid does (and I mean kids over 3, I get that we stay beside our toddlers and babies at all times) and I just feel like saying 'hey parent, let the kid go down the slide alone, he's 4 years old. And you don't have to tell him he is a genius because he landed properly and madly applaud him as if he just won a Nobel prize!'.

I think the main thing that stops parents from that is having another child. And maybe another! You see that all children need you more/less or differently. And you don't have the luxury of gazing at every one of your child's actions. One of your kids may be a Mamaholic (as we call it and I have those children) but I have friends with kids who take off as soon as they enter the play center and are content to come back an hour later to check in.

There IS a happy balance and we CAN reach it but it does depend on the personalities of the parents and children involved.

As far as discipline goes for other children - this is a very gray area for some but pretty black and white for me!

A little boy once shoved my friend's much smaller child to the ground in a park - twice. On the second time, I told the little boy (interestingly, my friend said nothing and it was her boy that was shoved) "No, sweetie, we don't push other people." I didn't remotely feel like he was a sweetie but I was trying to be nice. His mother got off her cell phone (she had been on it the entire time) and berated me for even speaking to her son! I asked her if she had seen him shove a much smaller child to the ground twice and she said that was not the point. The point was I was to NEVER speak to her son again!

Now that is bad parenting.

I do say to other children that certain behavior is not acceptable and as long as I am non-threatening and polite, I feel this is not only ok to do, I think it's right and necessary. We cannot allow our children to be bullied because we are too polite. That makes no sense and teaches the bully that bullying pays.

And I wish more parents got off their lap tops and cell phones and actually watched their children and their behaviors. The is the opposite of the helicopter parent too! The look-I-took-you-to-the-park-now-let-me-surf-on-my-laptop parent.

On the same token, my children are not allowed to be disrespectful or bully other children and I am ok if a parent reminds them to play gently. It's all in the approach. I am very proactive when it comes to that.

And while my 3 small children have their moments, I have to say I am pretty proud of their behavior when they are out. If only they were as good at home!

February 29, 2008 - 1:24pm

Okay...just one more question today for parents, I promise!

What is the "protocol" or etiquette for telling other kids to "knock it off" (but, in a polite way)?! Be it rough-housing or not watching where they are going (and running over my toddler).

Do you have any good phrases that are nice for the young child, shows that you are standing up for your toddler, and allowing them to be kids and independent?


February 28, 2008 - 3:12pm

I'm a first-time mom with a 16 month old...and boy do I have questions! :-)

So, when I worked at a University, there were terms used for parents who "hovered" too much over their children (who, at 18 years, are considered adults!). They were called "Helicopter Parents".

Recently, a new term, "Tank Parents" has arisen, as these parents are no longer just "hovering"; they are down on the ground with their kids.

What do you think the balance is between "hovering" and letting your child be independent and make mistakes from which to learn from. Of course, there is a big difference between 16 month-old and 18 year-old!

I took my toddler to a playground, where he was by far the smallest and youngest, but we were in the toddler area. I couldn't ask all five kids to go play on the bigger play area (right?!). My son was not scared, and even though he was being crawled over in the tunnel, he was fine and loved it! At what point do I take him away, if I sense danger, vs. let him be independent?

So many questions! :-)

Do you have any of these same issues with independence vs. "hovering"? (sorry, I couldn't think of a positive word)

February 28, 2008 - 3:09pm
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