Guest Author: Estelle Shumann
From the time children are born, parents are faced with the dilemma of doing enough versus doing too much for them. The tricky part is that a parent’s responsibility changes as the child grows. In today’s post, Estelle Shumann, researcher and writer for the education resource, OnlineSchools.org, investigates the phenomenon of “helicopter parenting,” how it starts and what it does to children. Although the Go-To Mom blog suggests that, as infants, children’s needs should be attended to by their parents, Estelle notes that as children age, they benefit from experiencing certain types of hardship and challenges.
School, Sports and Chores: A Look at the Problems with Helicopter Parents
“Success” in today’s world is often hard to pin down: part luck, part skill, park experience, it can be hard to anticipate or plan. This hasn’t stopped a generation of parents from trying, however. The seeming abundance of opportunities in the 1990s paired with the ever-stiffening competition of the 21st century have created a climate in which children are often expected to do all things in all places, with their parents serving as guardians and tour coordinators both. There is a fine line between helping a child be his best and micromanaging his future, however. A number of recent studies show how even the best-intentioned parental coordination can have negative effects, like the inability to process failure and difficulty asserting independence. While involved parents are almost always an asset, moderation is usually key.
The recent phenomenon of parents “hovering” and managing their children’s affairs well into college, and sometimes even into the job market, is known colloquially as “helicopter parenting.” These parents usually start small, often by spot-checking homework, managing after-school schedules, and advocating on behalf of the child to coaches and teachers. In its early stages, this sort of involvement is often good. It lets children know that they are loved and protected, and can encourage hard work. The problem comes when parental involvement becomes so stifling that the child no longer has an outlet for self-expression, and has no opportunity to prove her merits independently or test her wings unaided.
One of the biggest challenges for helicopter parents is knowing when enough is enough. “It’s a tricky line to walk, since studies link parents’ engagement in a child’s education to better grades, higher test scores, less substance abuse and better college outcomes,” a Time magazine article said. “Given a choice, teachers say, over-involved parents are preferable to invisible ones.” However, as college admissions become increasingly competitive, many parents see it as their responsibility to make sure that children are both prepared for and pushed towards success in that battle.
There is a difference between enforcing homework time and actually ghostwriting term papers, however. Encouraging a child to talk to a teacher for extra help is not on par with calling that teacher up directly and making demands on behalf of the child. In many cases, the overactive parent gets results, which does nothing to hinder such behavior. Students get better grades, or more glowing recommendations; they often even get accepted into more competitive schools. In its most extreme manifestations, helicopter parenting can extend to the job market, with parents authoring resumes, requesting to sit in on interviews, and calling to harangue HR about offering their child a job. What then, though? A slew of recent studies shows that children from these backgrounds develop a number of social and ideological issues, despite their advantages and glowing resumes.
“What happens is that we’ve got a generation of kids that have a great anxiety of failing,” Kathleen Elliott Vinson, a professor at Suffolk University Law School, told USA Today. “That translates into a generation of workers inexperienced at hearing criticism and lacking in independence and self-advocacy. If Mom or Dad isn’t there to run interference, these kids may not have a clue about how to succeed on their own or understand how to bounce back from failure.”
Though there are a great many benefits to involved parenting, there are dangers when that involvement goes too far. Most experts today recommend a balance of oversight and independence, such that children can learn to grow in a safe space—but still understand responsibility and how to handle setbacks.
Just when you think you’ve got all caught up with technology, it changes. Your blog looks great and you’re in love with your new Word Press site. Your Pinterest page is smoking hot and you’ve finally got the hang of Google +. Hold your horses ladies. Is there something you’re forgetting? Lipstick? Check. A good wireless mouse? Check? A tablet that fits perfectly in your purse? Check. Video? Video that can earn you dollars? Huh? What? OMG – you forgot the video? Yep, your audience has and will always have a love for you – and having video on your site is a superb to enhance your relationship with them. 24 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute. Hundreds of millions of videos are watched every month on mobile devices! So is it a good idea to leave this mode of media out?
Yes blogging mamas, or how we now phrase it, Vlogging mamas, the market for online video ads has never been hotter. According to comScore, 156 million U.S. Internet viewers watched 8.3 billion video ads in March.
I’m not saying you should do video to become famous. Do it because your audience deserves it. They honestly want to see and hear what you have to say. Why else are they coming to your blog, tweeting and Facebook commenting with you? Dive in! There’s no better time than now!
Also, don’t fall into the fantasy of going viral…My advice? Don’t aim for going viral (chances are slim). I’d rather see a mom vlogger get a few hundred high quality video views from her core audience as opposed to back alley lookie-loos who are not authentic loyal viewers. Don’t put pressure on yourself by obsessing over numbers. Do a good job, produce from your heart and shine in your niche.
Because video production is one of my passions and creative outlets I decided to become a Founding Partner in one of the fastest growing YouTube Networks for MOMS — Called Mom Pulse – it’s an honor for me to help thousands of women go beyond the written word and help them launch video on a larger scale. We encourage and teach blogging moms to do mini vlogs, navigate the waters of YouTube and how to rock it out their way in their voice.
Mom Pulse is especially attractive to the mom who wants to step up her blogging by adding video because it’s fun and a thrill to see what video offers! Plus fans love to watch and moms can earn dollars off video views.
There are dozens of great Mom and Family video channels on YouTube, and potentially thousands of others that currently live within blogs outside of YouTube. Mom Pulse connects them together to build an influential network. We want every mom to design and build her own YouTube channel as she has her voice and her style. Plus, dedicated moms will have access to advertising libraries. Revenue and video go hand in hand and I’m excited that Mom Pulse is something new and fresh and is clearly a fast growing vlog community for moms.
More about the hype! Mom Pulse - is a new community on YouTube exclusively dedicated to video content created by moms and for moms. MomPulse is being created to help make it easy for moms to create video content, build a established video creators and moms new to the video world. As a mom, your channel is 100% your voice, your brand, and your style. Mom Pulse is created and run by Fullscreen, which uses their proprietary video and advertising technology, YouTube partnership and expertise to build powerful new media networks.
And remember mamas, “Short, Sharp and Sweet – the golden rule to making great videos!”