hel·i·cop·ter par·ent: "a parent who takes an overprotective or excessive interest in the life of their child or children."
As parents, we get our kids involved in martial arts classes for a variety of reasons. It may be for exercise, socialization, to learn self-defense, or to build self-confidence. Maybe you and they just think “it’s cool”.
After literally decades of teaching martial arts to kids, I’ve noticed one factor to hold true in all cases. We want the best possible outcomes for our children. We want to protect them from harm, now and in the future AND set them up for success.
This tendency (biological imperative really) to protect them often gets termed “Helicopter Parenting”. You know, you hover around, ready to catch them for any and every fall…both literal and figurative.
Of course we need to, we must protect them from immediate danger; however, the ability and willingness to FAIL and been repeatedly shown as a key factor in long term success.
It comes down to this. Are you willing to let your kids have some not so great outcomes now, in order to improve their outcomes in the future?
Here’s what some experts have to say about helicopter parenting. And, I encourage you to ask the relevant questions when it comes down to selecting a kids martial arts program.
A kids martial arts program should provide children with the tools, skills, and framework for success but it should also teach them how to manage failure.
“…mothers and fathers in affluent communities have been hobbling their children by trying so hard to make sure they succeed and by working so diligently to protect them from disappointment, failure and hardship.”
“…It is always better to empower children to make good choices for themselves rather than having them remain dependent on parents to sort out problems for them.”
“Even if you’ve managed to be financially comfortable and happy, you’re aware your child may not be able to duplicate what you’ve accomplished, even if he does exactly what you did…So you ask yourself ‘What should I provide him with?’ Without an answer, you start trying to provide absolutely everything you possibly can, including too much help…Kids with overbearing moms may have more anxiety and depression.“
President, Dragon Gym
"Be The Coffee."