Are You, Were you, Will You Be, a “Bubble Wrap” or Invisible Parent?

I meet with many parents over the course of my practice. Some of these parents have babies and youngsters, others have teens, and some have adult children.  All of these parents have concerns.  Some are looking for consulting education on raising children so that they can be the best parents possible. Others want advice and remediation because their children, of whatever age, are not functioning as well as they should be at a particular developmental stage.

Parenting styles vary.  They vary over generations, economic classes, and diverse by way of race, religion, and culture. Balance in appropriate parenting is not easy to come by. Most people only know one way, the way they were raised. This model usually is followed or something very different is established.

TIME magazine recently presented a cover story on parenting.  The focus of the piece was on trying to “save” parents from “bubble wrapping” their children.  The “Bubble Wrap” kids are parented by “comical overprotectiveness and overinvestment of moms and dads.”  Parents have become “so obsessed with their kids’ success that parenting has turned into a form of product development.”  The article cautions to “let go of perfectionism in all its tyranny. …The “harried life of the hovered child is stressful and causes anxiety and may contribute to depression.”

Over involved “bubble-wrapping” parents, also called “helicopter” parents, excessively hover, protect, invade, question, push, advise, and advocate.  They have trouble “letting go” in incremental ways as their child evolves toward maturity.  Oftentimes these same parents continue to be overly involved, including meddling, into their child’s life even when s/he is married and has children. Advice, criticism, unreasonable demand/expectations continue to invade the kids’ lives.

Having offices in north Atlanta and at Lake Oconee I have witnessed this phenomenon often by well intentioned parents who tend to go a bit overboard in raising their child(ren).  The good intention is admirable, but the parenting style may not be the best for a child in both the short and long term.

The other extreme from the over-involved hovering parents are the “Invisible” parents.  These people are rarely involved in their children’s lives.  The do not set up goals and expectations with reasonable positive and negative consequences.  They do not provide proper nurturance, structure, or consistency – the bedrock of effective parenting.

They do not talk to their children’s teachers, coaches, or counselors to be in the know of what is going on with their kids.  They are poor role models and mentors. They are all about their own lives, unwilling to make the necessary sacrifices and adjustments to be positively present to their children.

The intent of this blog, Respected Reader, is to ask you where you fit in with your particular parenting style.  What kind of parent are you respective to the particular age and stage of your child(ren). If your child is old enough to respond, you may well ask him or her what kind of parent you are or have been. I have done that and found it to be enlightening and impactful.



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