Before I even heard about the concept of “lazy parenting”, and before hearing that it is actually a growing buzz and a real thing, I thought of myself as the opposite of the well-known “helicopter mom” – the type of mom that I have so often met at the playground or among parents I know, and that I usually try to avoid being around. I basically run in the opposite direction. Helicopter parents are the ones you see hovering (literally) over their kids, interfering in any situation their kids find themselves in, trying to solve all their minor problems (from sharing toys at the sandpit to calling their professors to change a grade in high school), and just being THERE. ALL the freaking time. Making sure their kids do that or don’t do that. Agh, I got tired just by writing these lines.
Anyway, the issue is that there are so many downsides of the helicopter parenting approach, such as the lack of independence, resilience and self-confidence in kids, an increased chance of developing anxiety as they grow, or a low self-esteem, as well as the constant need to be perfect as they do everything to prove a point – be it to their parents or to their peers later on in life.
And this is pretty much where the concept of lazy parenting comes in. This has actually nothing to do with being “lazy”, as you might have thought and as I thought as well- in fact, it’s quite the opposite.
Children are so much more skilful, smart and capable than you think – if you just let them try and explore. Ever since my son was born, I acted like a “lazy parent” – without reading or hearing anything about this concept. From the times when he was crawling or learning how to walk, up to the age of three when he can put on his own clothes and shoes, I gave him space, distance and responsibility to try and do things on his own – accepting that yes, he might lose his balance and fall, or that he might bump into something or someone. It’s about shifting the thinking from “I need to step in and help him, or fix this for him”, to “I need to step back, observe, and see if my kid can manage this on his own”. Yes, it might take longer to take of his shoes, and it definitely is messier, but if they can do it themselves, they should.
There are so many benefits to this type of parenting – I’m not saying it’s the only one that works, or that all moms should adopt this approach. I’m saying this is what (naturally) worked for me and my family, and it makes both my child and I happy, relaxed and confident. When you step back and allow your kids to enter a situation that might turn out challenging, they get the chance to learn what they are capable of on their own skin. I like to let and observe my son fight his own battles, struggle to put his shoes on the right way, make an effort to build that Lego house without help, and see his face at the end when he succeeds.
It’s also a proof for them that mom trusts them and their abilities, and hence they will grow confidence outside of home as well, where mom will not always be there, ready to help. Unlike typical grandparents, who usually anticipate and take care of every challenge and rush in to help, I think parents should allow more space for independence and let them handle things by themselves whenever possible.
“If you believe you can, I believe you can”.
This is what I want my son to hear from me every time he is about to take up a challenging task/ activity/ jump. When parents display confidence in their kids, the kids assume the confidence for themselves. I’m only a mom of a boy, but I believe parents need to encourage both boys and girls to “go get it”, and not raise them by different rules.
This is a shift in mind and attitude that parents should become aware of if they want to raise happy, confident girls and boys.
I love being a “lazy parent”, now it’s time to hop on the couch, it’s Friday night, I’m about to pour myself a glass of rose, and watch some Friends episodes while my son destroys the house.