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How can I stop hovering and raise my kids to be self-reliant?

Michele Borba
Psychology
Researchers are seeing this phenomenon of “parental hovering” (aka micro-managing, over parenting or helicoptering) as a dangerous trend when it comes to how our kids turn out. The long and the short of it is: If we keep hovering we’ll rob our kids of an essential trait for L.I.F.E. called self-reliance!
Tips to Stop Helicoptering and Start Raising Self-Reliant Kids

Identify what your child can do alone and then back off. What tasks might your child be capable of doing instead of relying on you? Maybe it’s time for your child to learn to make their own lunch, do laundry, make their bed, or call to make their dentist’s appointments. Of course, this will depend on your child’s age, maturation, and current capabilities. The goal here isn’t to overwhelm him or her by piling on your new expectations, but gradually introduce one new task at a time.

Stop rescuing. Have you found yourself rescuing your kids a lot lately? “My son is so tired; I’ll do his homework tonight.” “My daughter is too busy; I’ll do her chores this time.” It’s an easy habit to get into, but if you want to raise a resilient kid, these are major mother “no-nos.” Start by setting this rule: “We have a new policy: No more excuses. You need to take responsibility.”

Teach brainstorming so your child can solve problems without you. The next time your child has a problem, don’t be so quick to offer a solution. Instead, teach him how to brainstorm options. First, say to your child: “Tell me what’s bothering you.” (You might need to help him find the words: “I can’t think of anything to bring for sharing.”) Express your faith that he can work things out: “I know you’ll come up with a solution for your sharing.” Then encourage him or her to brainstorm ideas. “Don’t worry how silly your idea sounds. Just say it, because it may help you think of things to share.” You might even call it “The Solution Game;” just remind your child to use it whenever he encounters a problem. With enough practice, your child will be able to use brainstorming to solve many troubling issues that creep up during the day without your help.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.