Helicopter parents n. - A parent who takes an overprotective or excessive interest in the life of their child or children.
The term helicopter parents is thrown around a lot these days. It is used to describe parents that “hover” over their children, not allowing them out of their sight, monitoring their every move and micro managing their children’s lives.
Children need freedom to develop independence, social skills and coping mechanisms to succeed in this world. Parents need to ensure the safety of their children yet give them the freedom to experience life. It is acknowledged now that mistakes are not a mistake; it is just a learning opportunity.
My husband and I are both shift workers trying our hardest to juggle our children’s needs whilst still working on rotating shifts. Our children have sport commitments that have included interstate travel and there are times when we need to think differently to work out what is best for our children.
We need to be able to contact our children, to keep in touch, to change plans or advise if we are running behind schedule. We did not want to give our children smartphones, we spent a lot of time looking for the right product that suited our needs. You would think it would be easy to find a phone that just phones set numbers, no internet, no apps just a phone, but no. Everything we looked at provided us with access to the net, access to aps or the ability for our kids to text and call anyone and receive calls from any number.
We finally found a product, it was the Spacetalk smart watch. A watch and phone in one with GPS tracking, the ability to control who can contact your child, and who your child can contact. It receives SMS messaging, it is sturdy and robust, it lets you set safe zones and most importantly it looks great.
For us, this has been the best thing we could have purchased. This year for Christmas, both my husband and I were rostered on shift and it was looking bleak for the kids. We made a difficult decision to send our children to their Grandparents in Canberra and put them on a flight as unaccompanied minors. Using the app connected to the Spacetalk, we were both able to see that my daughter had landed in Canberra and she was able to call either of us anytime she felt the need to chat. Over Christmas, this was important to both of us.
With the aid of the Spacetalk watch we are letting our children have the childhood we had, riding their bikes to school, going to the park and most importantly, they are developing the social skills and interacting with their peers without using a screen.
So, in the end, am I a helicopter parent? No, I am just a parent that is doing the best they can to keep their children safe and give them room to grow but still be the children they need to be.