“Whatever skill your child needs to do, they need to rely on the belief that they can doit. Actual accomplishments help them build their confidence. The earlier we help empower them, the less anxiety we feel and the more confident they become.” -Dr. Gary Brown, PhD, LMFT

As we developed this issue, which focuses on parental tips and advice, I kept finding articles that felt like “parent shaming”. Certainly this was not intentional on the part of the authors, but it still made me uneasy. At GHC, we feel that terms such as “helicopter parent” are alienating. We know that all of our caregivers are doing the best they can with the knowledge and experience they have. We respect ALL parenting approaches that come from a loving mindset. This article is simply intended to give you “food for thought” because we place a high value on tools for self-reflection and life-long learning.

In the spirit of self-reflection and life-long learning lets talk about some of the ways that “hovering” over and directing our children too much can impede their confidence and sense of self-efficacy (their belief that they can accomplish a task).

Dr. Gary Brown, quoted above, and one of our favorite parenting resources at GHC, Love and Logic, both suggest that we send our children messages that they are not capable if we are over- zealous in our attempts to fix their problems or direct them to the “best” or “right” choice. They often sense our anxiety as parents and this can lead to their own anxious feelings. In some kids it may lead to withdrawal or rebellion if they feel over-controlled. Children who do not feel empowered may also lack confidence and resilience, the ability to recover when presented with difficult circumstances. No matter what your parenting style looks like we can all agree that we want to raise confident and resilient children!

One way we can help our kids to be confident and resilient is to build their self-efficacy, or their belief that they can accomplish a task. Dr. Brown suggests the following:

1. Encourage children to try again and to see value in finding out both what works and what doesn’t work.

2. Be a role model for trying again.
3. Use encouraging language and watch out for underlying discouraging cues (such as “becareful” or “that’s too hard”).

4. Help kids understand and manage the physiological signs of stress (heart rate, muscle tension, etc.).

To read more of Dr. Brown’s thoughts you can go here: https://drgarybrowntherapy.com/how-helicopter-parenting-impacts-childs-confidence/

For a simple self-reflection on your parenting style and an introduction to Love and Logic, we encourage you to visit this link: https://www.loveandlogic.com/pdfs/threetypes.pdf