Just Stop Helicopter Parenting and Let Your Child Soar
Today I am going to sell you something. My product is called ‘Bubblelicious baby’ and constitutes an invisible bubble that will hold your child. The ‘Bubblelicious baby’ (from here on ‘BB’) will keep your child from getting into any accident, greatly reduce his chances of getting any kind of disease and prevent him from being hurt by others. Would you buy my product? I suspect that many would. My extremely well-marketed and strongly supported by the latest research BB is, in reality, one of the worst disservices a mother could do her child.
Unfortunately, this is the tendency that is evident lately within the parenting community. It is otherwise known as ‘helicopter parenting’ and has been the latest ‘trend’ for some time now. Children are so well-protected by the invisible bubbles created by their caregivers, that they are missing out on the most crucial developmental events. It is a sad reality that today children are not allowed to play and explore only because parents are too afraid of something happening to them. Parents are so obsessed about germs, that they do not let their children play in the sandbox. Children are wiped down with Lysol a million times per day and their pacifiers are still boiled even when they are over a year old. Kids are not allowed to crawl in public places and they are never-ever allowed to pet a dog or cat that does not have their full medical history immediately available. Not only that. There are helmets for when they start walking and knee protectors for their knees when they crawl. There are drawer locks and safety gates. Breathing monitors and organic toys. And the list goes on and on.
I believe that behind all that fear and advertised safety, parents forget that in order to properly grow and develop, children need to ‘get in trouble’. Think about it. In order to know what hot/cold/hurt means, a child needs to get burnt/freeze and feel pain. In order to strengthen their immune system, a child needs to get sick. And in order to learn how the world works, he needs to play with it. By placing a child in a ‘BB’, parents create weak, insecure and sick children that have no voice of their own.
Now, I do not suggest any radical options of letting our children fall from two stories or eat a dead cat, nor do I advocate for total ignorance towards basic safety (which is extremely important). What I am saying is that there will always be that chance of something terrible happening. We are never safe from it. However, we can not live our lives and make our children live theirs by being afraid. We, as parents, need to remember that our children are not ours for keeping. They are with us in order to learn and go out into the world. We need to help our children become strong, passionate, healthy and curious adults that are not afraid of what lies ahead of them. Let us all let go a little and see the curiosity spark reignite in their eyes as they run towards a new adventure (we can always run just a few steps behind them, just to be safe….)
Maria Petrova is the the owner of Maria P. Jewellery and and active member ot Toronto Mommies group. You can find Maria on her Facebook Page and her Website.