Katherine - posted on 01/10/2011 ( 10 moms have responded )
Can you hear that whirring noise? It's the helicopter parent taking off and heading back to the '90s and early '00s. The latest parenting philosophy taking hold across the nation is the focus on play, and not scheduled activities that require lots of time and energy on everyone's part. Now, let's sit back and enjoy some of that laissez-faire parenting our own parents did so well.
What? You don't think the previous generation did such a hot job? And furthermore, you want to expose your child to activities you never were exposed to when you were scaling the fence of that empty lot? Then grab onto the helicopter before it gets too far away; if you're like me, and you prefer a hybrid of the "free range" and "helicopter" style.
Let's see how we can make these two opposing methods work for parents of the '10s with these new rules of parenting (that you can take or leave, because, hey, you're not controlling that way.)
Make "Bored" a Dirty Word
When your child whines at you that she's bored, resist the urge to buy her another Polly Pocket. Instead, implement a rule that every time she says she's bored a shiny toy will be taken away. Or if you want to go full Betty Draper (not recommended), announce that only boring people are bored.
Take a Season Off
Try a spring without any organized classes. Watch how your weekend is magically transformed as you take back your family time. Heck, take the summer off too if it doesn't kill ya'.
Teach a Useful Skill
Instead of a toddler sign language or music class, find a potty training class (yes, they totally exist). Having your toddler learn a skill that also makes your life easier will help you get to the schoolhouse on time. For older kids try: cooking, manners, housekeeping.
Take Your Eyes Off of Them
Admittedly more difficult as we've been trained to be ever-vigilant, but try and do this one as you remember that child abductions are actually incredibly rare. If you can only manage to let them play in the backyard as you stay inside -- away from the windows -- that's a start.
Are you a helicopter parent, or a free-range-er?