Does Helicopter Parenting Build Empathy?

I have been doing a lot of reading, about generations, parenting topics about personality, potential and about the number of children dying in the middle east. I have to wonder, about the different parenting trends and how they always get criticism, but then every now and then, I see one of those #restoringfaithinhumanity posts on facebook.

I affiliate with families that have highly scheduled kids, completely free kids, kids in public school, kids in private school, and when I talk to all the parents I can’t help but wonder…”Are you being who you want your children to be?” It feels like one of the oldest lessons in child development that I probably learned in high school if not before, and that is this:

“Children learn by example.”

What if it is really that simple? What if, by paying attention to the details, standing up for our kids and supporting them through hard times they are learning to do the same? Of course kids go through their phases and when they are seeing it they don’t seem to care, but don’t we all end up being just a little bit like our parents?

I know that I have picked up a lot from my parents, but I work hard to consciously choose what I am picking up. I don’t expect my kids to dissect my character and habits at this point but I hope when they are older and this happens anyway, that they have a lot to choose from.

I saw a meme once, it was a beautiful picture of a young boy meditating with this quote:

“If every 8 year old in the world is taught meditation, we will eliminate violence from the world within one generation.” Dalai Lama

I think about things like that, particularly since I HAVE an eight year old. What I have seen, in my limited parenting years is absolute transformation. I limited her sugar a LOT when she was a baby/small child, she didn’t even get juice that wasn’t watered down. I included her in my process of juicing carrots when she was about 3 or 4 and it was probably the sweetest thing she’d had at that point (I didn’t water this juice down!). So when she was first exposed to actual candy, she didn’t seem to like it, it seemed to overwhelm her with sweetness. She had fun trying it though! I won’t forget her first Halloween when she would thoughtfully open up each candy she hadn’t tried, and take a single bite, then throw it away. I couldn’t have been prouder. She soon got over that and went through a brief hoarding period, she’d grab all the candy she could and hide what she couldn’t eat. I stayed strong in my own nutritional journey, and continued to tell her that to be healthy it was important to eat our vegetables first, then the meat, and if we had to we could eat some bread/noodles/potatoes. I would be honest about if I did or didn’t “like” something and why, for example if her face twisted up when she tried my green vegetable juice I would tell her that I agree, it doesn’t taste that good but I drink it anyway because I know it is so so good for my body.

I am sure that to some people I’m probably a helicopter parent, I include my kids in almost everything. I even still have a few in my bed at night. I feel pretty confident though that they will grow up to be pretty cool people.

How are you parenting your kids? Are you a helicopter parent?

About Kristin

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