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We have all heard the term, helicopter parenting. In recent years, it seems many parents have upgraded from the helicopter to the drone.

6 Reasons Drone Parenting is Hurting Our Children

There are varying opinions on what constitutes good parenting, but for sure most people want to be the best parent they can.

Some changes in parenting styles are wise. Gone are the days when our only seatbelt was mom’s arm across our chest. Kids no longer chase the ice cream truck down the road or play in the woods by themselves.

Drone parents go far beyond wisdom. They rarely let their children out of their site, attempt to protect them from even minor scratches and scrapes, and attempt to keep them from failure.

There are Six Reasons Drone Parenting Is Not Helping Children:

1. It deflates their confidence. When parents are always hovering over their children, it sends the message that the parent doesn’t have confidence in the child, who needs to explore the world beyond their parents. Often, the child rebels later in life.

2. Keeps them from building self-reliance. While it is healthy to depend on others, we also require independence. When parents do for their kids that they should and could do for themselves, it prevents the child from becoming self-reliant.

3. Prevents them from learning valuable lessons. Life is a series of lessons. We can learn from the choices of others, but the most valuable training comes from trying, failing, analyzing, and making new decisions.

My German son was visiting when his daughter, my goddaughter, was just over a year old. She kept walking to the side of the house, where we had a very sharp cactus, right next to the walking path. I was nervous Emilia was going to touch the plant, or worse, fall into it. Raphi explained the danger to Emilia several times, yet she kept heading in that direction. Finally, as I nearly had a panic attack, he told me, “She knows the danger. If she chooses to touch the cactus, she will only do it once.”

If a parent is intent on preventing a child from failing, or feeling the pain of poor decisions, the child doesn’t get the opportunity to learn the incredible lessons learned from making mistakes. Raphi understands this principle.

4. They avoid personal responsibility and consequences. When my son, Sean, was in high school, some seniors caused property damage at the school. It was close to graduation, so as punishment, the students involved would be allowed to graduate, but they would not walk with the other students at the graduation ceremony. I thought the school let them off easy, but was shocked to learn that the parents of every student involved got together and hired an attorney to challenge the school’s decision! Not only were those parents helping their teenagers buy into the overly litigious society, the United States has become, but also fostering a lack of personal responsibility in their children.

5. Prevents them from cultivating decision-making skills. Life is a series of decisions, big and small. As an adult, a parent likely feels they are better equipped than their children to make decisions. While this might be a fact, it is not always the wisest choice. As painful as it can be, we need to allow them to make some decisions; fewer when they are younger, and more as they get older. This way, they will be prepared for the barrage of decisions they will need to make as an adult. Sadly, many parents are still making decisions for their adult children who have not learned the fine art of decision-making.

6. They don’t build courage. Without question, one of the most beneficial qualities we can ever develop is courage. Life is tough, and I doubt any parent would consciously shove their child out into the world ill-prepared to handle a scary world. Yet, that is what drone parents are doing.

Coming from a sports family, it shocked me the first time my daughter’s soccer team moms started making plans for our last place team’s trophy. Seriously, an award for last place? They reasoned they wanted the girls to have a reward for playing, to which I replied that the reward was – that they got to play. The participation trophy phenomenon took off like wildfire, and over the years, both of my kids accumulated plenty of meaningless trophies sitting among the few that mattered.

To become a healthy and balanced adult, a child needs to learn how to lose. They need to feel pain. They need to be allowed to fall, so they can learn how to get back up.

The fact is that we cannot always protect our children from life. I learned that lesson when the most gifted person I knew, my daughter Jamie, became addicted to drugs. One of the best things we can do is equip them with the necessary abilities to overcome obstacles.

Nobody is perfect in the parenting department; I sure wasn’t. Still, we need to be brave enough to go against what might be popular and allow our kids to build the skillset so desperately needed to survive and thrive in a world full of challenges.


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