We’ve all heard and read plenty about “helicopter parents” in the news over the last few years. Our society has placed collective blame upon them for excessive hovering and over-involvement during their kids’ childhoods, which many feel has resulted in a generation full of adolescents and young adults who can barely make decisions for themselves, and have deficient coping skills.
So, who coined the term “helicopter parent” and how did it come about?
You may be surprised to learn that this parenting style was first described way back in 1990, by Jim Fay, a parenting and educational consultant, along with Foster W. Cline, MD, a psychiatrist – the founders of Love and Logic.
After decades of observing kids and parents in both classroom and clinical settings, they developed their theory of the three types of parenting styles – Helicopters, Drill Sergeants and Consultants. (Can you guess which style they promote?)
I first heard about Love and Logic many years ago when my son was in Kindergarten and the elementary school newsletter mentioned Jim Fay’s parenting presentation in Phoenix. I was intrigued, being the parent of two young and strong-willed children at the time, so I went, accompanied by two friends, and the entire event was one, giant A-HA moment for me.
Everything I heard made complete sense and aligned with my constantly-developing thoughts and feelings regarding parent-child relationships. I immediately began implementing their philosophy on a daily basis, and over the next few years, purchased several more of their books and CD’s.
It wasn’t as if dealing with my kids suddenly became effortlessly easy and stress-free, but the Love and Logic techniques made a world of difference in giving me tools that made parenting so much more enjoyable and practical.
In a nutshell, Love and Logic teaches that “children learn the best lessons when they’re given a task and allowed to make their own choices (and fail) when the cost of failure is still small. Children’s failures must be coupled with love and empathy from their parents and teachers.”
Letting a child fail and suffer the logical consequences because of their choices can be messy, embarrassing and frustrating for both kids and parents. But allowing them to learn from these mistakes when they are young, pays off huge dividends as they get older and the consequences can become truly harmful.
Who hasn’t cringed at witnessing the “Mother Counting to Three Without Any Kid Consequences” scenario in a store or at a playground? And who wants to imagine dealing with that child’s behavior when they are a surly fifteen-year-old?
From the many great techniques I’ve learned over the years from Love and Logic, I will share one of my all-time favorites. If you also are the parent of a child who loves to argue, you may appreciate it as much as I do.
In the event that you’ve explained your reasoning for a parenting decision and your kid wants to keep arguing about it, hoping you’ll change your mind, try this response: “I love you too much to argue.”
Simple, logical, and from the heart.
*Dr. Charles Fay will be in Phoenix on November 6, 2018. Find conference details HERE.