Stress levels are high, I mean the nuclear reactor is about to explode high! While my daughter’s classmates are playing senior tag she is diligently finishing up two senior projects. One in her bioscicence lab at the career center she attends half day and the other at her home high school in college prep English.
Of course she’s not playing senior tag because she’s just not, “that Kid” anyway, but some days I wish she were. I did my best today to alleviate some of the stress she is under by advising her on the problems she is facing. I mean she’s 18 and will be off to college in the fall to study engineering so her “rough road,” is far from over. I just wish she could allow senioritis to set-in and relax a bit because these are joyous times, at least they should be, right?
As parents we strive to help our children in a more hands-off approach and guide them rather than rescue them. I will stand firmly here and write about how I am not a helicopter mom (my husband makes chopper hand movements & sounds at me if I even start to head down that path) but there’s a new term out there called Snowplow parent. After reading the definition of this new parenting buzz word I might identify with a few of the traits or weaknesses. Like most parents I want my children to succeed and I don’t like them to struggle, but is this preparing them for the “real” world?
Removing obstacles to ensure that their children don’t have to deal with frustrations or failures is snowplow parenting. But we are in fact preventing then from learning how to deal with real life challenges they will definitely face down the road.
After reading up on this subject here’s what I learned.
Empathize, not advise. So even though I believed I was helping my now adult (by telling her what to do) I was in fact not validating the problem I was jumping ahead and solving it for her. Be in the moment with your child. Asked how this problem makes them feel and empathize with them first.
Next, ask them what do “you” want to do to solve it? Still hold back on the advising and see what they say before you put all kinds of ideas in to their heads.
Ultimately, we know our children best and each challenge they encounter is different. So asking to help and doling out advice are still important aspects of parenting. We are here to teach our children and prepare them for the real world, but next time I will address them with some of the things I learned above.