Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Helicopter Parenting and the Kare Kids Adventure series

A lot of times when I receive a book for a review, I get paper inserts.  Usually these are ignored for two reasons.  First, it has a synopsis of the book, and you all know I hate to know what I'm getting into until I'm actually into it.  Second, there's usually a large portion of the author's credentials.  Usually, I don't care and that doesn't have any impact on how I feel about the book.

I've been working my way through Charles Salter's Kare Kids Adventure series.  I finished the third one last night and thought I'd take a glance at the paper.  At the top, it says 'Independence in the Age of Helicopter Parenting.'  What's a helicopter parent?  So I had to go do a little research!

A helicopter parent is one who hovers constantly.  You know the one...she makes her son's bed when he's thirteen.  Calls and makes his doctor appointments for him when he's twenty.  Goes up and tells the bully to back off when he's sixteen.  You get the picture.  A helicopter parent is always there, solving problems.

Being a special needs parent, I can easily identify with this.  There are days when my little guy just mentally can't do it.  He can't make his bed.  He can't fix his own cereal.  He can't get dressed.  Then there are the other days when he can conquer the world.  I could be a helicopter parent on the bad days.  I'm constantly watching.  Constantly stopping a barrage of events/scenarios that could make him so that he can't cope with life.  On the bad days, I hover.  On the good days, however, that's when he does everything and then some.  Those are the days he cooks his own meals and does his own laundry and does extra chores around the house.  On those days, it's fend for yourself.  Luckily, we've reached a stage where the good days are a lot more frequent than the bad days.

But all of this started me really thinking.  I wasn't a helicopter parent with my older child.  Not in the least.  He was so much easier though.  I remember vividly having a conversation with him when he was about eight.  He was upset about something and I asked him what he needed me to do when he was angry or sad.  He responded with, 'Make me laugh, Mom.'  And that was it.  With him, life has been pretty simple.  If he has a problem, I ask him what he needs from me.  He tells me and I give it to him.

'You can do it!'  has become one of the most used phrases in my life!

So what does any of this have to do with Charles Salter or books and why am I taking the time to write it all down?  I think the main reason I'm addicted to books is because I'm addicted to knowledge.  Not just facts, but studying people and realities and other viewpoints.  And honestly, I learned something about myself as well.  Even though I'll continue to not read the information that comes with the books, I really wish I had read this one before starting the series.  This series is actually intended specifically for children of helicopter parents.  Now, other children will enjoy them as well.  They're bright and full of adventure.  But in each one, there's a real element of danger and the children have to figure out how to problem solve on their own.  I'll admit, there were a few times where I was reading and I cringed.  My older son in those situations, no big deal.  The younger one?  You'd have to hospitalize me.

Here's the genius of this series.  A helicopter parent is going to be hyperaware of everything their child reads.  So, they have a third grade son who picks one of these up.  Mom and dad are going to learn a few lessons as well.  This isn't just about teaching the children critical thinking skills in an adventurous, fun-filled book.  It's also about getting these helicopter parents to realize they can buzz off for a few minutes and it'll be good for their child.

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