Dr. Goschi's Blog

Helicopter Parents

My 12 year old son came home two weeks ago after having a terrifying experience. He was riding his bicycle home after camp. There was a man in a car who followed him home most of the way. Fortunatley, my son had the presence of mind to find a family ahead of him with whom he shared his dilemma. He road his bicycle with this family for a while until he felt safe. Meanwhile, I was waiting at home for him to arrive from camp becoming ever more nervous because he wasn’t answering his phone and was late.

Later that next week we found out that, seemingly, the same man tried to abduct two other children of the same age as my son. This was the first summer my son has figured out his way about town and has been allowed to ride his bike to and from activities. My gut told me to drive him everywhere from now on.

In this world of over protective parents it is difficult to know when to let go of your children and give them more independence. In my professional opinion we are not doing our children a favor when we don’t let go. Our children cannot develop a sense independence or self-reliance if they cannot have the freedom to discover what they are capable of doing.

So, despite my knee jerk reaction I did let my son ride to his friend’s house, with a group, two weeks later. Even in these scary times it is important to allow our children to find out what they are capable of doing – what are their strengths and what are their weaknesses. I am not suggesting that you don’t know where your child is or that you not adhere to strict safety precautions. I’m just saying that at some natural point, usually in middle school if your child is showing maturity, we can afford our children more freedoms. Our children want to know that we are available to them if needed while still enjoying their independence.

Before letting go I encourage new parents, as well as the veterans, to ease up just a little bit. Enjoy the giggles, laughs, and hugs to be had but try not to control too closely. Give them the guidance, morals, and spiritual beliefs that you desire and set the standards by example. You will be amazed at how much they do learn from you. It’s less important to structure every moment of each day. No one is going to stop all the creeps in this world. Instead, have an open relationship with your child and his/her friends and teach your child good survival skills.

As always make time to work on your emotional health and if you need help get it today by calling Dr. Goschi at (312)595-1787 for an appointment or click “Ask the Doctor” and submit your question now.

Leave a Comment

Your email is never shared. Required fields are marked *

(will not be published)