Are you a Helicopter parent? It’s easy to become one when your kid has ADHD. It seems that they need help, support and guidance on a daily — if not constant — basis. For many of us, it could be a full time job. For some of us, it is, helping our kids keep up with assignments, arranging social lives, preventing mishaps.
Why Challenge the Hovering Tendency?
As my kids have gotten older, I have become increasingly more committed to challenging my tendency to hover over them. Here’s why:
- I need to be honest here: there is a part of me that doesn’t want to be known as one of “those” moms.
- Second, I’m as committed to my children developing independence as I am to their “success” in school.
- My natural tendency is toward control and micromanagement. My lessons are in letting go and trusting, so this is a great area for control freaks like me to practice.
So how can you be an involved parent without being a helicopter? I recommend becoming a Dive Bomber, instead.
Dive Bomber Parenting
Dive Bomber Parents fly around, enjoying the scenery and at the same time monitoring what’s going on below. We wait for the call for assistance, and at just the right moment, we swoop down and take action –precise and specific action. The goal is to allow our kids to become increasingly independent, while at the same time providing the support and help they need. We have to give them enough rope to explore, but not so much that it becomes dangerous.
Here are some tips on how to graduate from helicopter to Dive Bomber Parent.
Dive Bomber Basic Training:
- Get control systems in place: What tools do you need to monitor what’s going on in your child’s life? This could be regular check-ins with the school online tracking system, weekly review of assignments in your child’s agenda, weekly behavior charts that the teacher fills out, or something else entirely. How are you going to get the information you need?
- Deputize your Kids (aka delegate): What pieces of the puzzle can they manage? As your kids get older, expect them to become responsible for tracking their responsibilities. My son reviews the online system each week and is responsible for writing down and following up on any missing assignments. My job is to check in with him once he’s done and find out what he discovered.
- Determine your indicators: When do you need to “swoop” in, and when do you need to let things happen and allow for natural consequences? This takes some experience, and trial and error. It’s a great place to make sure you are on the same page with your child and other adults in his/her life. That way, your child will know in advance when you plan to get involved.
- Swoop gracefully: Do you want to fly in smooth or turbulent skies? Choose an appropriate tone for when you do get involved. If you have been “out of the loop” as an issue has been escalating, coming in “guns blaring” may not be the most effective method. Sometimes a heavier hand is required, but you want to be conscious when you are making that choice.
- Cross Check: One key goal to becoming a Dive Bomber Parent is to give you some space to enjoy the scenery and watch from a distance. Make sure you don’t step back only to fill your plate with something else. If you do choose to take on something else, consider making it something that brings you more joy and calm. This will help you to ENJOY the RIDE.