In light of recent tragedies, parents everywhere are on high alert. The number of children being affected by Covid-19 is increasing on a daily basis. People’s children are turning up dead and hanging on trees. Children like Amahle are still missing with no traces of her whereabouts.
Parents are uneasy about allowing their children to participate in activities that can potentially harm them.
No matter how much you think you have prepared your children, harm can still come to them. Look at the case of Keamohetswe Shaun Seboko, the 13-year old boy that drowned in a school pool on 15 January. His mother said her son was a competent swimmer and knew what to do inside a pool.
Healthline defines helicopter parenting as “hyper-involvement in a child’s life”. This means you know what your child is doing when they are doing it and with whom. This term, however, refers directly to your child’s education. This is the parent that makes every decision for the child, including their extracurricular activities, their teachers, their friends, and even finishing their homework.
Helicopter parents do whatever they can to make their children’s lives easier. A helicopter mom who has a toddler will always make sure that they don’t play on their own. They will also jump at every potential fall.
Parents naturally want to make sure that their children are safe. This is a parent’s primary objective; to ensure the wellbeing of their children.
On school trips, a helicopter parent “might only think of all the dangers children can face during one of these school functions” according to Pysch for Schools. This means that this parent would either not allow their child to attend a school trip, or call in every other minute to check-in.
In today’s day, a parent might downright refuse to take their child to school, regardless of how much the school assures them of the safety of their children.
In a case where your child is harmed, you would at least know that you did everything you possibly could have to ensured their safety.
Helicopter parents are highly criticised for not allowing their children to take risks and be independent. This means that you will be raising codependent humans that will never be prepared to navigate the world without your help.
We are learning, though, that maybe our children’s lives need more involvement than we think. Maybe we should know who they are playing with, whose house they are visiting, what their itinerary is when they are on field trips and know what they are doing as they are doing it.
The anxiety that parents feel when their children are not close to them is fueled by cases reported of children getting abducted in schools, abused by their caregivers and even losing their lives in schools.
There is no perfect way of parenting our children.
So where do we draw the line between being overprotective parents and merely doing our best to ensure that our children are protected?