Are You a Hovering, Overprotective Parent?
The current controversies over whether it is okay to be a helicopter parent or not involve misunderstanding the need to adapt and adjust strategies as children grow up. To paraphrase Ecclesiastes, for everything there is a season … a time to closely supervise, standing ready to rescue our children and a time to allow your kids to figure out a few things on their own.
Young children need some hovering for their safety, and to learn the basics of life. According to the Bible, the best way to teach your children the truth about the world is to talk with them as you spend time together. In Deuteronomy 6, Moses tells the young nation of Israel that parents are responsible for passing on the most important lessons: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength … Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”
But as parents, we also need to relax and trust God. Trying to raise perfect children is an impossible goal, and protecting our children from any type of failure prevents them from learning important lessons.
My wife Ann and I first taught our sons God’s view of money, beginning with very basic money skills when they were in elementary school. But as they became teenagers and prepared to leave home, it was important to allow them to make their own choices, even if they made mistakes. Let them practice what you preach!