Parenting

Everyday I’m Hoverin’…

Am I a helicopter parent? Are you?

I stumbled on a very funny video the other day on YouTube by the Holderness Family: a parody using the Party Rock Anthem (the picture above is of their beautiful daughter). And I cant seem to stop singing it ever since.

Everyday I’m hoverin’…

Son! Don’t run too far away I need to see you.

Everyday I’m hoverin’…

I’m sorry daughter, I will never let you go on a slumber party, even if I know the parents really well.

Everyday I’m hoverin’…

Do not kick the ball around the baby!

Everyday I’m hoverin’…

Hello there, my name is mom. And I may be guilty of being a full on ‘copter parent. So I researched the term and this is the information I got:

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What is Helicopter Parenting?

  • The term was made up in 1969 by Dr. Haim Ginott
  • It is when parents “hover” over their kids like helicopters
  • “Style of parents who are over focused on their children. They typically take too much responsibility for their children’s experiences and, specifically, their successes or failures.” – Carolyn Daitch, Phd
  •   “It means being involved in a child’s life in a way that is over controlling, overprotecting, and over perfecting, in a way that is in excess of responsible parenting.” – Dr. Dunnewold

Why Do Parents Resort to Helicopter Parenting?

  • Fear of dire consequences (bad grade, no job, economic status…)
  • Feelings of anxiety (“worry can drive parents to take control in the beliefe that they can keep their child from ever being hurt or disappointed.” – Dr. Daitch
  • Overcompensation (parents try to give their kids what they didn’t have or get)
  • Peer pressure from other parents

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How Does Helicopter Parenting Affect Kids:

Some research suggests that “emotional over involvement,” such as helicopter parenting, “and criticism often go hand in hand.” – Chris Segrin, University of Arizona. This can breed narcissism and poor coping skills, and amplifies anxiety and stress. This type of parenting can also cause:

  • Decreased confidence and self-esteem
  • Undeveloped coping skills
  • Increased anxiety
  • Sense of entitlement
  • Undeveloped life skills

What Do I think?

I am definitely not a scholar and didn’t spend years studying this topic, but hear me out for a second. To me, the term “helicopter parenting” is misunderstood. Almost all the research and articles I read about this term concerns ADULTS (or soon to be adults) in an academic environment.

For example, a father called his son’s professor to dispute his son’s exam grade. His son got a C and he was sure his son deserved a B. The son apologized to his professor and felt greatly undermined. Of course he would! The boy must be 17 or 18, if not older!

Another example is a mom installed a nanny-cam in their son’s dorm room, and an electronic transmitter in his car!! To me, that just is plain mistrust between the parents and the child.

Moms please please please understand that you are the only advocates for your kids. Don’t be quiet just because you’re worried you will come across as a helicopter mom. As you can see in this article, there are many reasons for you to intervene in your kid’s life. Actually, it is your duty to do so, especially when they can’t fight the fight themselves.

This mom did not intervene when her daughter was being bullied in school by a teacher, even though all her mommy instincts were pushing her to, until her daughter came home in tears saying, “I want to kill myself.”

My son used to have a very bad stutter (his stutter is much better and you can read all about it here). I scheduled a meeting with the principal and sent emails to the teachers explaining that no one can ever make any remarks about his stutter. You’d be surprised how adults think it’s funny to laugh about it. And only adults notice and laugh, the kids (kindergarteners) never do.

This year I scheduled meetings with the teachers early on. I explained to them that my son has a bit of a stutter and that he was a bit behind academically but I am looking forward to working with them to catch up on all the work. I told them, without sugar coating it, that they are not allowed to compare my kid with the other kids, not allowed to remark in front of everyone that he is behind, or that he didn’t finish his work on time. They are not allowed to make him feel any different, or make him feel in any way that he is lower than his classmates. They were shocked to say the least. I also told them that they can send home any unfinished work, or any extra work they think he needs.  And I am happy and more than proud to say that now, he is not trailing behind, but catching up quick to the students at the forefront of the class.

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So Am I a Helicopter Mom?

Wanted to have a bit of fun with this so I took online quizzes. Both Babble’s quiz and Cafemom’s quiz says that I am not a helicopter parent. But to be honest, I don’t really care what I am or what label I fit under. I think every mom knows what’s best for her kids based on her kid’s needs and environments. And I don’t think it’s really fair to bully a mom into accepting one parenting style or another by saying her kids will turn out to be narcissistic entitled brats or worse. I don’t think most parents will go to the extreme of installing a nanny cam in their kid’s dorm rooms but I don’t think it’s fair to judge a mom who is involved in her kid’s school or education because you don’t really know what fight she is fighting. I think we should all cut ourselves and other mom’s some slack. We are all trying our best.  

I am far from perfect, and I might be winging it as I go but honestly, I refuse to let a psychologist, psychiatrist, or parenting expert tell me how to best raise my kids. Even if the world wants to call me a ‘copter mom, I will always be my children’s voice when it’s hard for them to find it, I will always be their support system, I will always be their cheering squad, and I will always be their number one advocate in life. And I will not apologize for it 🙂

 

Are you a helicopter mom? What do you think?

Parenting

Stuttering: A Mom’s Heartache .. A Child’s Unbelievable Courage

“Mom, it’s so hard for me to talk today.”

And my heart shattered into millions of pieces.

Was it my fault?

Is he being bullied in school? Did anyone bother him in class? Was it my fault?

Is it because his father is away? Is it because we moved? Was it my fault?

Is there anything I missed? Being so sick with this pregnancy there must be something I missed. It definitely is my fault.

This happened exactly a year ago, and even though DS’ stutter is much better, it still brings tears to my eyes writing this. All the websites, research, and our trusted pediatrician say it’s not my fault, I still felt like a failure. I failed to protect him. And the worst part is, I don’t even know how I can help him, or if I can.

He is only 4 years old. He doesn’t understand what is happening to him. Why could he speak so clearly and fluently just a couple of days ago and now suddenly, the words are all tangled and messed up? I didn’t understand. How can I expect a 4 year old to? And from that day I was on a mission. I think I must’ve read all there is about stuttering on the internet.

Definition of Stuttering:

“Stuttering is a speech disorder characterized by repetition of sounds, syllables, or words; prolongation of sounds; and interruptions in speech known as blocks. An individual who stutters exactly knows what he or she would like to say but has trouble producing a normal flow of speech. These speech disruptions may be accompanied by struggle behaviors, such as rapid eye blinks or tremors of the lips.”

– National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorder (NIDCD)

What causes stuttering:

The causes of stuttering are still not understood but there are some factors that might increase the chances of a person developing this disorder:

  1. Genetics: studies have shown that approximately 60% of people who stutter have a relative that stutters as well.
  2. Gender: Boys are 2-3 times more likely to develop a stutter than girls.
  3. Age: Although stuttering affects people of all ages, it most often occurs in children between the ages of 2 – 6.

Children who stutter:

Around 5-10% of all children stutter at one point in their development. Almost 75% of these children outgrow their stutter.

It is also very important to realize these points:

  • Stuttering does not affect intelligence.
  • Anxiety and stress do not cause stuttering.
  • A stutter can be treated

How do you know if a child stutters:

There are different types of stutters:

  1. Repetition of a sound: C-c-c-c-can I have chocolate?
  2. Repetition of a word: She – She – She – did it.
  3. Repetition of a phrase: I want – I want – I want to go to the mall.
  4. Prolongations: (extending or stretching a sound in a word) Caaaaaaaaaan I get water?
  5. Blocking: not able to say produce any sound.

How can I help my child?

Every child has a different experience with stuttering so every child needs a different approach. You can find more information from the links below: (note: all the information above have been gathered from the websites below).

National Institute on Deafness & Other Communication Disorders

Web MD: Stuttering

The Stuttering Foundation

The British Stammering Association

Chatterbox Speech Pathology (Australia)

Our Story:

Out of the five types of stutters, my son experiences all of them with varying severity depending on the day. I was very worried and devastated. How can I protect him? How can I help him?

 I took him to our pediatrician whom I love. It took him awhile to calm me down. He stayed a good 5-10 minutes talking to him. And even though DS has a stutter, he is not shy and spoke his mind.

Diagnosis: He is fine. He will learn how to get over it. He is not shy and has an amazing vocabulary. I don’t have to take him to a speech therapist. If he stays like this till he is 7 years old, then yes take him to a speech therapist. But most probably, he will get over it before then.

 

So the first thing that every mom of a child who begins to show signs of stuttering should do is: GET A PROFESSIONAL OPINION.

 

The thing our doc stressed though is we must never ever make him feel like there is something wrong with him. It is of course ok to acknowledge the stutter, especially if he wants to talk about it, but never make him feel like he’s different or needs ‘fixing.’

 I was determined that we will get through this. No matter the outcome, no matter whether he does get over his stutter or not, we will be ok.

There was this one day that his stutter was really really bad. I can see that sometimes he doesn’t talk even if he has something to say because of his stutter. My DD said, in front of all of us: Mom why does he talk like this now? (the tone she used wasn’t of trying to make fun of him, it was a real question).

I can see my DS freeze.

I said: its ok, this happens to a lot of people. Sometimes when you speak some words or letters are harder to say than others.

DD: But why?

Me: No one really knows. Maybe it’s because your brain is learning so much stuff. But it is completely normal. It happened to me too when I was young. (not really but I wanted him to feel better in any way I could).

DS: Really??

Me: Yes of course! But you know what? You are much braver than I am. I would just stay quiet instead of talk. You never shy away in a situation even if it’s a struggle at first, you always say what you want to say. I am so proud of you!

DD: Are you proud of me too?

Me: Of course I am!

My second advice to moms of kids who stutter is: Tell them it’s ok. They will be ok. There is nothing wrong with them. And tell them again and again how proud you are of them, and how much you love them. Don’t cringe when they stutter. Don’t try to finish off a sentence for them. Be patient. Let them do it by themselves and show them that you will wait patiently till they do.

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Mother’s day last year. Kindergarten at the kids school always invite the mom’s over and do something very sweet and cute. I knew he has was in one of his rough weeks. And I knew they will stand in front of all the moms and talk. I was getting nervous. And there I was in his class, sitting on the small tiny chair looking at the entire class standing in the front, singing a mothers day song.

The teacher then said that the kids have something special to say. Then one by one, each child took a step forward, said why they loved their mom, everyone clapped, and they stood back in line. As my son’s turn got close, I can feel my heart beating faster and faster. I couldn’t even hear what the other kids were saying, I was focused on him. He seemed ok. Then it was his turn. He took a step forward:

“I love my mom because Sh-Sh-Sh-

I can’t really describe what I felt in words. I didn’t want any of my emotions to show on my face and I tried so hard. My heart pounding so hard, my hands so sweaty, I felt like I was going to faint. DS pulled on his shirt collar as he was trying to get the word out. After three or four tugs of his collar, he said:

Sheeeeeee hugs me.”

Everyone clapped. He stepped back. He was proud. I was proud. I was fighting back tears, and fighting back tears now while writing this. But he did it! He didn’t run away. There were kids who ran to their mom as soon as they saw them and didn’t want to participate, there were kids who cried, and there were kids who looked up, down, or sideways when talking. And they didn’t have a stutter. My strong, unbelievably brave child stood his ground, and finished the entire performance. He then ran to me, gave me the tightest hug in the world, and we stayed taking selfies. I was, and still am so proud of him! At that moment, I knew we were going to be ok.

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Now, one year later, his stutter is much better. I wont say he is completely over it. He sometimes has days or weeks of perfect fluency. And he still has some bad days (especially when he has a cough). He still sometimes stretches his word when he is excited. But you know what? His friends don’t care that he stutters sometimes. His sister doesn’t care that he stutters sometimes. And the most important thing is, HE doesn’t care that he stutters sometimes.

 As for me, I can not be any prouder. He overcame an obstacle with such courage, that I am sure he will one day be on the list of famous stutterers, along with Emily Blunt, Elvis Presley, and Winston Churchill.

Parenting

Book Update + a ‘George’ Dilemma

The book Middlemarch is not as bad as I thought it would be. It is structured in a way that makes it a bit less intimidating. It is segmented into 8 books, each one has around 100 pages give or take.

I am already almost done with book one and surprisingly, it wasn’t as hard a read as I thought. I thought because it was written a long long time ago (when was it written really?) it will be a boring read in the beginning and will take a long time for the story to really pick up. But no, Dorothea, the main character, had two suitors within the first 30 pages. Good for her.

This got me thinking. There are many things said in the book that still stands today and makes so much sense about the way society works. When was the book written? According to google, the book was first published in 1871-2. I knew it was written a long time ago just didn’t think it was that long. Thought it was in the 1900’s. But good for him for writing a book in the 1800’s that still resonates in the 2000’s. So the article goes on to say “…It is now widely regarded as her best works and one of the greatest novels written in English.”

Her?

Turns out George is not a George, but a Mary Ann Evans. George Eliot is just her pen name as she wanted her writings to be taken seriously, so she published them under a male pen name.

Speaking of George, here is one of the scenes that took place one very fine morning in our household that really tested my patience and sanity:

Me: This will be a great morning. Weather is amazing not too cold, come on let’s all go out and enjoy the weather. Wear your shoes and let’s go!

DD: Ufff there is something wrong with my socks. I hate socks! I wish they never invented socks! UFFF!

Dear son (DS): You’re George! HAHAHA

DD: I am not George! Stop it!

Me: Who’s George?

DS: Yes you are! Nanana you’re Geeoooorrggggeeee!

DD: I AM NOT GEOOORGEEEE!

Me: (Deep Breath) Please calm down for a second and explain to me who George is.

DS: George is Peppa Pig’s baby brother and she is just like him haha!

DD: I AM NOT GEORGE!!

Me: (Deep deep breath). You know George is the next King of England. So being a George is good. He is going to be King.

DD: I don’t care I am NOT George!

Me: Ok you’re not George now can you please just calm down and put your shoes on so we can leave.

DD: No! I want him to apologize and I want him to tell me I am not George.

Me: (Dear God give me strength). Dear dear son, can you please tell DD she is not George so we can go out already?

DS: Ok, you are not George.

Me: Thank you…

DS: But your baby Alexander wahahaha you’re a babbbyyy just like baby Alexander.

DD: This is the worst day of my life! (throwing away her shoes and stomping off to her room)

Shoot me. Shoot me now. The image that popped into my head is the picture I saw on Instagram the other day of a mom starting her day as Mary Poppins, and ending it as Cruella De Ville. The worst thing is, it was just 11 am!