Betcha thought I was going to talk about Asperger’s (again) when you saw the word spectrum in the title. No. I am talking about the spectrum of parenting styles that range from helicopter on one end to free range on the opposite end. I have to agree with Katie about the damage that helicopter parents inflict on their children:
“Another pitfall of overprotection is a heartbreaking irony: Because over-parented children are taught to obsess over themselves, they donâ€™t learn how to connect with others. Helicopter parents, who think they are drenching their children with love, are raising lonely sons and daughters. The kidsâ€™ constant self-focus, developed under the tonnage of unending parental intervention, handicaps them in every social setting.
Self-focused kidsâ€”whether theyâ€™re shy and withdrawn or brash and mouthyâ€”do not reach out to other people. Theyâ€™re not friendly, so they donâ€™t make friends well. Their near total self-consciousness appears to others as self-absorption.”
Free range parenting doesn’t mean not parenting children. It means not being your child’s constant companion. It means allowing children to get completely filthy and track that grime in the house without repercussions. It means trusting your children to spend the night at friends’ houses or outside in a tent. It means allowing children to climb and fall out of trees. It means letting your child make mistakes, take chances and be themselves. Free range parents care more about their children’s health and happiness than about controlling and manipulating their children. Hovering over children is easy. Letting go of children is hard. Parenting isn’t supposed to be easy.