Monday, June 1, 2020

Helicopter Parenting and A Way Forward

I don't think I've ever cited Good Housekeeping on this website. But there's a first time for everything.

It's my goal in this article to draw a parallel between over-parenting and the way our leaders are treating us today amid the various crises we face. Before the parallel can be drawn, let me lay down a definition of the bad parenting I'm thinking of.

Helicopter parenting can be defined by those parents who have "a desire to create a perfect world for their in which they never have to face struggle, inconvenience, discomfort, or disappointment." This totally unrealistic pipe dream is incredibly harmful to children, depending on the degree to which it is carried out. In fact, the same article goes on to say this:
When parental supervision is too close, you run the risk of cutting your kids off from important life experiences, starting at a young age. "The children of helicopter parents can struggle when it comes to learning boundaries or judging safety on their own," says Dr. Jenny Grant Rankin.

"They don't get to exercise the muscle of trying out problem-solving strategies," Dr. Elizabeth Cohen adds. "They don't need to figure out the life skills of how to get out of a sticky situation on their own."

As these kids grow older, they lack the skills they need to navigate difficult situations solo since they haven't had the much-needed practice that some of their peers have had.
Studies have been conducted to reveal the objectively negative consequences of over-controlling and over-protecting a child, yet many parents still engage in that approach. In fact, helicopter parents seem to have extended their influence, generally speaking. Grown men and women in their 20s, 30s, and even 40s can be known to rely on Mom and Dad for stability and protection. They're hardly independent and certainly not world-tested. They're still very much influenced by people who should have relatively minimal jurisdiction over their lives.

America is currently being governed by helicopter parents. Daddy is the GOP and Mommy is the DNC. They feed off our dependence as they advertise a future free of troubles, so long as we let them into our lives a little more. Our federal government can fix our finances, systematize our safety, and bring up our babies. They can give us a future and a hope.

These are lies. No government (a collection of fallen human beings) could provide for us what God alone can offer. True, genuine blessings of peace and prosperity can only exist in this sin-riddled world by the permission and direction of God. All good that can happen in this world happens in spite of us, not because of us. When God sees fit to bring glory to His name by allowing His creation some freedom and happiness instead of harsh judgment, it is an act of divine grace.

Consider John 16:33 in which Jesus made this promise to His disciples that still applies for Christians today: "In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world." (For another relevant promise from Jesus see John 12:8.) The church in America is witnessing firsthand a time of tribulation that will be remembered in history books for decades to come. Cities are burning and businesses are closing. Churches are locked up and criminals roam free. Many are living in a state of elevated fear.

And in the midst of the chaos, our parents are hovering nervously -- panicking, even -- full of worry that they might lose the control they've worked so hard to keep. Mommy and Daddy are divorced in this analogy and they're competing with one another for our allegiance, that we might want to stay with them full-time and rely on them for that car we want when we're old enough.

That pandemic -- that happened on Dad's watch. Go find your Mom and she'll take care of you.
Mom? She's the reason we have these riots and all that looting. Stick with Dad and you'll be safe.


The way out of this mess is not to relinquish our own responsibilities and stewardship to a fake parent, but rather to lean wholly on the Heavenly Father who truly heals our wounds, protects our souls, and cleans our hearts. We must place the full weight of our dependence on His word, the truth, so that we can understand the times and the proper solutions to life's problems. 

Just imagine if there was a sweeping revival, based on a collective embrace and adherence to the gospel, leading to true change that only God could bring about. Imagine if there was a great turning in our nation so that many would submit to the truth. Imagine!

Proverbs 11:11-12 says, "By the blessing of the upright a city is exalted, but by the mouth of the wicked it is torn down. He who despises his neighbor lacks sense, but a man of understanding keeps silent." Few Americans could be considered "upright," yet there is no shortage of "the wicked." Many senseless people are despising their neighbors and very few men of understanding are finding appropriate silence. This is worthy of lament.

But don't take a contrite heart to a politician who wants to treat you like a senseless child who is unable to make decisions for himself. Take your broken spirit to the Lord, who is able to redeem and restore in the name of Jesus. He doesn't despise your repentance; He invites you to come. He can heal a land and mend a broken nation. He's the only good Father.