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Stepping back so that our kids can move forward

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by Prerna Malik

Living in India with a heart that wishes to see the world, Prerna works with her husband, bakes with her daughter, shares her life at The Mom Writes and frees up time and creates content and community for time-starved entrepreneurs at Social Media Direct.

Honesty time: I’m a helicopter mom. I hover – a lot. There could be a gazillion reasons for it, but that’s not the point. The point is I can be overprotective and well, hovering.

However, this summer, I’ve been stepping back. It’s been tough. But the results are so worth it.

I’ve seen my little girl blossom, bloom, and become so much more confident than she ever was.

Here are the two simple things I did to consciously step back and still stay involved.

1. Let her lead

Whether it was a board game, art class, or walks together, I let her lead and I went along. She enjoyed making the decisions and choices for the activities and things she liked.

From the books she wants to read to choosing dishes at a restaurant to the games she wants to play on the iPad, I let her lead.

Yes, we still have the final say, especially if something isn’t in sync with our values or appropriate for her age.

But letting her know that I trust her choices has probably been the simplest and yet most powerful thing to do. And when I disagree, I tell her respectfully and gently why something isn’t appropriate for her, instead of hovering and making the decision for her.

2. Don’t interfere unless she’s in danger

The second thing I did, which was really way more difficult, was to let her be and not interfere, unless of course she was in danger.

Honestly, in the last few months, there haven’t been any dangerous situations that she’s been in. And now that I think of it, other than a freak accident with a coloring pencil when she was two, she hasn’t been in any dangerous situation.

So, I let her be.

Yes, even writing the words still seems tough for this helicopter parent to do.

But stepping back and letting her explore, create, try, experiment, I’ve seen her grow so much – it just amazes me.

Even though we do have our children’s best interests at heart, even though we want to protect them and keep them safe, sometimes stepping back is the only way they can move forward and into their own.

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Comments

  1. Absolutely fantastic!

  2. I have so much trouble with this especially when my kids have conflicts with each other or other kids. I worry I step in too quick or not quick enough!

    • Oh Jen!! Totally, the conflict situation had me really stuck too.. Do I step in? Do I let her manage? I go with #2 in this case. Is she in danger? No? Let her manage.. Tough but it’s helping her learn some important life skills there, I think:)

  3. avatar
    Lorene Cobb says:

    Both of my kids are now grown and young adults. I look at them and am filled with love at the beautiful people they’ve grown into being. Your observation is spot on! Two things looking back that were markers in their lives;
    1. We parented from a place of trust. Believe in your kids and speak life giving words. This can inspire them to live into what you’re calling out of them. Intentionally give them an identity that is bigger than themselves with a purpose that is a world changer.
    2. Make your home a safe place to fail. Let them do things and discover their strengths and weaknesses. Let them trust you enough to come to you when it fails miserably or celebrate the successes.

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    thaismomma says:

    My kids are 16, 7 and 2 and I am most definitely a Helicopter mom with all three. Lately I’ve realized how hard it is to break from this when one minute I’m comforting a toddler that just fell and then being told to back off from a teen. Of course I want to encourage my eldest to explore and learn and make mistakes but it hasn’t been easy to just let her be. This was a great reminder, thanks!

  5. Thank you for this post! As my children are both young teenagers now, I am reminded of this on a daily basis. It is never an easy thing to step back and let our children be, but we need to remember that they belong to God. Our job is to prepare them to fly, and in that we must be careful not to clip their little wings. I think this is one of the most difficult aspects of being a parent. Thank you, again, for the reminder.

    • Love your insight Heather and totally agree with this being the most difficult aspects.. Every day, I need to still remind myself to let her lead.. or as you’ve put it.. “fly” :)

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