Unschooling and Helicopter Parenting
March 26, 2010 § 6 Comments
Child’s Play wrote an excellent post about how unschooling has helped her be less of a helicopter parent. I highly recommend you check it out. It’s a great read and her pics are some of the best out there.
I have to admit that I related to this post a little more than I wanted to. I even felt a nagging, “Pay attention to this!”
The truth is I STILL helicopter way more than I should. Yes, my kids are 21 and 14, the oldest doesn’t even live at home anymore. But on too many an occasion I still whirr my Mommy blades so fiercely you’d think I was trying to spin time backwards.
In a way, I think that’s exactly what I’m trying to do, or at least just stop time long enough to catch my breath. You’re how old now?
I know that the reason I have parented this way is because I had such a rough time as a kid. I know I’ve been way over compensating and for the longest time I truly believed that my constant protection was in their best interest.
When my kids were in school I was on the PTA, I was a classroom helper, I chaperoned field trips, I delivered milk to classrooms and I was even on and eventually made head of the “lice squad”. (pun intended)
When my kids were in school I also sat on the local community council, I co-directed and taught a children’s drama program – that they participated in – and served on several committees that organized neighbourhood events.
I was involved in virtually every aspect of their lives give or take a few classes here and there and outings with friends that didn’t happen at our place. I was, for most of their lives, the epitome of the helicopter parent.
The thing that was lost on me was to balance that need to protect and nurture with trust. Not just trust in myself to be able to handle something bad happening to my kids, but more importantly, trusting my kids to be able to handle something bad happening to them.
Because life is not all sunshine and roses and Mommy can’t really be there every minute of the day. But oh how I tried.
What does any of this have to do with unschooling? Well, it has everything to do with it.
Unschooling has afforded me that balance. Unschooling has allowed me to let go of the need to control and worry about every detail of my kids’ lives. Unschooling has given me permission to be myself and incidentally, I’m much more easy going than I ever thought I was.
And I’m learning and practicing to be a more trusting and supportive resource as opposed to a stifling helicopter parent. Unschooling is not just about our kids, it’s about us too.
While I wish very much I had come upon this kind of sharing of wisdom two decades ago, I’m deeply grateful for it now.
If unschooling has taught me anything, it’s that there are no time limits on learning.