My generation grew up 'helicopter parented' and raised to appreciate individuality and self expression, but it was still a trophy-driven childhood with competition at its heart. We are now starting to run our families a lot later than our parents did and having had only ourselves to look after. It requires a big shift in mindset.
We run our families as we have been running our lives, as mini-democracies. It really struck me the other day that instead of helicopter parenting - directing and scheduling, we have shifted to ‘drone-parenting’. Our parents felt that if they didn’t do what was best for us and monitored our progress, they failed. We feel the pressure too.There is ‘mumpetition' everywhere. According to a poll, surveying mums between the ages of 18 to 44, 80% said it’s important to be ‘the perfect mum’.
However, want to be our children’s friends, give them room to find and express themselves, and often polling opinions of what we should do at the weekend or what we should have for supper. We, drone parents, look to our children for direction. This is a lot of work and can be very tiring, especially when we consider what ‘suggestions’ they might come up with for dinner or what they want to do at the weekend.
However, it is paying off as our children are not afraid to speak up, to express themselves more - ‘a child is to be heard these days and not just to be seen’.
They have their new generational pressures though. Comparison on social media, constant information overload, expectation of ‘instant satisfaction’ though online shopping, ‘we can get what we want, when we want it’. They are growing up in this. Some children’s lives are documented online from the moment they take their first breath. What is it going to be like for them to grow up being raised by democratic ‘drone parents’ having their say in everything, constantly bombarded by information in a world of limitless opportunity, where there are no borders, but still so much pressure to make your mark on the world? Who knows? We, as our parents did, are hoping for one thing. That they will grow up to be happy and healthy, and somewhere along the way, they find themselves.
Always watch their behaviour. Remember, behaviour is a signal. It is driven by experiences and emotions. If you are worried about your child or you feel you cannot cope, we are here to help.