Parking the Helicopter

As parents of this generation, we have been told that great parenting means being super-involved with our children and always being in constant communication with them. We give them cell phones as soon as we feel they are ready to have a bit of independence, so that we can be assured that they will call us the minute they need us. There are many benefits to this parenting style. We know our kids well and have developed close family relationships.
We also know each of their homework assignments (and assist with a few of them), the drills they did at soccer practice (because we either coached their team or stayed and watched), and what they ate for snack at school. The downside to our “helicopter” parenting, though, is it makes it difficult for our children to develop their independence, problem-solving, and decision-making skills.

Hooray for camp! Without a cell phone (or their parent next to them) to immediately turn to when they are faced with a decision, campers learn to use other resources – including their own great minds. Without us watching them and being a reminder of what they’ve been scared of in the past, they challenge themselves and try something new. The confidence that results from their accomplishments and independence can be life-changing, and the best thing we hear from our campers and parents is that camp truly makes their life better. According to former camper and counselor, Renee “Zippy” Tucknott, “Gold Arrow Camp taught me early in life that I can survive in the world without my parents making my decisions, and I am able to make my own decisions and choices that will impact my life. When I got to college, I experienced some of the same decisions and choices and already knew I could survive on my own.”

 As technology has provided us with the ever-increasing ability to be in touch – immediately – with everyone, it has also given the children and young adults of this generation a crutch which we (those of us in our late 30’s and up) did not have. When faced with a decision or problem with a friend, we had to rely on ourselves first and later discuss it with our parents. Now, kids are getting accustomed to calling their parents before attempting to solve the challenge on their own. At Gold Arrow Camp, we have a great support network of staff to help our campers work through challenges, fears, and problems that may come up. They never feel “alone,” but they feel independent from their parents, and a lot of pride comes from that independence.

Categories: Being Positive, Benefits of Camp, Campfire, Communication, Community, Family, Friendship, Health, Joyful Kids, Optimism, Raising Happiness, Self-Esteem, Social Skills, Team Building | Tags: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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3 thoughts on “Parking the Helicopter

  1. Thanks for relating to my article! It gave me the opportunity to visit your great blog! – I’m not a helicopter parent, but you’re making a very important point here: our children should have more opportunities to become inependent, to think about how to solve their problems alone, before asking others for help. And if this means not giving them a cellphone: that’s fine for me. Obviously, if the cellphone helps to keep them safe, that’s another thing. But if it’s only to text or call the parents or friends for solving their problems I would avoid it. Thanks for posting this!

  2. Pingback: Catch Them Doing the Right Thing « Gold Arrow Camp's Blog

  3. Pingback: Catch Them Doing the Right Thing | California Summer Camps, Gold Arrow Camp, Huntington Lake, Overnight Camp California, Traditional Summer Camp California

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