Do you recognize yourself – hovering over your kids’ lives, kind of on the fringe and not really letting them figure it out on their own? The best thing you can do is give them more responsibility and have them handle their own issues without stepping in. Try to let go a little at a time.
Minimize financial assistance. Sure, you need to be responsible for the basic necessities. But give your children a weekly allowance and, beginning in high school, encourage them to get part-time jobs. They need to know how to budget their money. Your ultimate goal is to prepare them to live on their own. If they can’t manage, boomeranging back may become the only option and everyone pays a price.
Empathize without actually solving their problems. Ask what they think they should do about any situation. Brainstorm about the possible solutions. And, in the end, encourage them to decide what’s right for them.
Don’t enable their dependency. Technology makes it too easy to stay connected. Tell your kids you’ll be there when they need you, if being in touch regularly is satisfying to both of you. But establish a middle ground and put some limits on the contact.
We know that watching them grow up brings mixed emotions. As you face the challenges that come with letting go, you may find that it’s harder than you imagined. But do mark that fine line between support and intrusion. Because, as your children go off on their own, don’t you want them to be independent, ready to form healthy relationships and get the dream job? The same as your parents wanted for you.
Want a comprehensive report on Helicopter Parents? Read a feature article on Time.com about The Growing Backlash Against Overparenting. Then sign our email list to the left of this post and download a complimentary ebook with practical tips to help you let go.