I am the victim of a hovering parent. At times, it seems that almost nothing I do is right according to my mother. My decision-making is questioned in regards to my parenting skills, my relationships and even how I keep my home. She means well but she can be a bit overbearing at times. I used to get rather frustrated and resentful of her constant nitpicking but through continual personal development, I have learned how to deal with her. Our relationship has drastically improved since I have changed the way I respond to her. Since I know I am not alone, I thought I would share how I manage her helicopter parenting.
The first thing I did was to realize that she has good intentions. From the time we are conceived our parents begin to map out our lives. They dream about what we will look like, how we will act, what we will be when we grow up, who we will marry, where we will live and how many children we will have. Everything they do from that point out is geared toward molding us into the people they want us to be. Unfortunately, mixed in with genuine love and concern comes a variety of other influences that shapes the parent's expectations of their children. What a parent wants for their child has a lot to do with their own upbringing, education, exposure, limiting beliefs, fears and insecurities. Our society teaches us to go to school, get good grades, graduate, get a job, save money, get married and raise a family. Once you have accomplished that then you can be considered successful. Most of our parents buy into that definition and have no example of someone doing otherwise. Stray from the formula and you are thought to be crazy.
Once I realized that my mother needed me to succeed where she thought she had failed in her life, I was in a better place to understand her reasoning so it didn't bother me so much. I used these new revelations to assert my dreams. First, I developed a well-thought out plan to back me up. A good, detailed plan makes your dream seem less like fantasy and more like reality. You will also be able to speak more confidently about your dreams which will help your parents see your vision easier. Next, I enlisted an expert for additional support. This could be an uncle, a friend or just someone who is where you want to be. Your parents are more likely to believe a third party than they are to hear it coming from you. Third, when met by parental objections, remember to remain calm and take time to think about your response. Based on what you know about your parent's ideas of success, how can you explain your reasoning to make them understand it better? Then say no to anything your parent or others suggest that take you outside of your plan. You may have to compromise to ease your parents into your new direction especially if you are young and/or still living in your parent's home. This is all about building and maintaining a great relationship. You don't want your choices to be so difficult to digest that it completely severs your parental ties.
If you have followed this advice and you still find that your parent is hovering too much, it may be time to check yourself. Are you enabling your helicopter parent? Do you allow him/her to intervene in your life? Do you run to them whenever you have a problem? Do you complain about bills, husband, wife, kids, etc? If the answer to any of these is yes, then you have created a codependent situation. You may need to respectfully distance yourself from your parent. Have a long conversation with them to let them know your concerns. Explain that you appreciate their help but you don't want to burden them any further with your issues. Resolve to handle your own adult responsibilities and then stick to your guns.
Helicopter parents can be particularly difficult to deal with but the sooner you get the situation under control, the sooner you can move on to a happy, healthy life. The choices you make today can have lasting effects on your tomorrow. Get concrete with your purpose and intend to live each day more fully.
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Niquenya D. Fulbright is a Chicago area executive life coach, professional speaker and corporate trainer with over 10 years experience specializing in motivating small business owners, entrepreneurs, executives, groups and individuals in a career or life transition to use their innate abilities to master their goals and achieve successes beyond their wildest dreams. Niquenya wants to partner with you in building a bridge between your dreams and ultimate reality.
For more information or to schedule a complimentary coaching session, visit www.niquenyafulbright.com
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