Children are a precious gift from God and He has given us the privilege of nurturing them and teaching them character traits and life skills. I don’t believe God planned for parents to hover and step in every time their child is challenged.
Parents should spend more time influencing and teaching character and life skills and less time hovering like a helicopter. There is a great difference. Hovering begins when our children are young. You’ve seen that parent. The Helicopter parent stands guard (hovering) at the playground making sure everyone is sharing. She (or he) is “at the ready” to scoop up the little one when she cries to make it all better. I’ve seen moms pick up their child at the slightest whimper when they don’t get their way and hug and kiss them and “make it better.”
A better way – Assess the situation to see if she needs medical attention and let her cry. She’ll learn to handle the situation if you stand aside and let her work through it. Many times a child cries for your attention. Don’t ignore her if she really needs you but if you are already giving lots of love and attention in positive ways, she will be able to handle herself in these little upsets. Many times I see a child cry, then recover quickly and run off to resume her activity.
We have abdicated what is really important for just plain hovering. God has called parents to nurture and train their child up in the Lord. Deuteronomy 6:6-7 says; “ And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”
FACT: Christian parents especially don’t have any business being a helicopter parent. It shows a lack of trust in God’s love and care. I don’t read anything in the passage above or any passage in the Bible giving parents the responsibility of hovering. If we truly believe God is with us always, we can be assured that He is watching over our children as they move through life. It takes faith in a big God to turn our loves ones over to His care while we do the nurturing.
Let me clarify I don’t believe we should throw caution to the wind. We do still live in a sinful world with many predators. We should watch our children, but from a little ways away. I’m speaking more about not coming to their rescue every time they are challenged. Don’t be the parent who builds the car for the Pinewood Derby for the child. Let them do things. They might even fail; those are great opportunities to teach your child to get up and try again.
God wants us to be the teachers, trainers, coaches, hence, the key players in raising our children in the Lord. It’s a much bigger job than just hovering.
Training includes being your child’s cheerleader, cheering him on and being enthusiastic when he accomplishes some great feat. It’s not about sitting in the stands at a ball game and making sure he gets enough play time or he is being treated with the respect “due him”.
Many parents are more worried that their child is treated fairly and given opportunity as much or more than the next guy. It would be so much better to sit on the sideline of a game and cheer like you’ve never cheered before for the team. This teaches your son that he needs to be a team player.
What does it look like to train your child?
- Teach her the Word. Have family devotions. Memorize together.
- Show your children how to share with others through teaching compassion, not just following a playground rule of sharing.
- The act of giving is picked up as your children watch your example of taking food to a needy neighbor.
- Gratitude is taught by instructing them how to write a thank you to anyone who has given them a gift.
- Spend time working with your children around the house; show them how to dust, sweep, rake leaves, wash the car. You’d be surprised at how many adults don’t know these basics.
- Take your children with you when you vote, shop or run errands such as taking the dog to the vet. They need to know what happens and how to interact in the folks at these establishments.
- Banking is often overlooked. Teach your children how to manage a savings account and when they are older, show them how to open a bank account, write a check and balance a checkbook.
There are so many lessons to be learned. Don’t leave the teaching up to other adults who come into your child’s life. They might now have the same standards as you. God has given YOU the responsibility of raising your children. Get in there and Just Do It!
Train, instruct, coach, cheer, love, set the example, advise, educate, discipline, guide, tutor, lead, pilot, steer, enlighten, check up, mentor. . . but Don’t Hover !