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Is Having in School Lunches With Your Kids Helicopter Parenting?

Recently we did a story on security measures and what parents need to know about lunch visits in school . This got us thinking about the thin line between showing that they care and straight up helicopter parenting.

So, we asked a group of Southwest Florida moms what they thought. Of the 170 mothers that Hello SWFL spoke with, 167 believe it shows that you care while only three considered it helicopter parenting.

So …just to be clear, what is considered helicopter parenting?

Maribeth Lichty, is a licensed clinical social worker at the Marriage and Family Center. She said that helicopter parenting is being so involved, overprotective and over controlling that children don’t have an opportunity to grow and make their own decisions.

The licensed clinical social worker said that it is great for parents to be able to go to school and have lunch with their child from time to time.

“There is no reason to not have parents involved in terms of just spending some time with their kid and seeing what their world looks like,” Lichty said, “and the lunch is a good way to see what their social life is like.”

Of the 170 mothers who responded to our survey, 167 believe it shows that you care while only three considered it helicopter parenting.

On the parenting page we conducted the poll, most mothers agreed that it depended on the frequency.

“Are you going daily?” wrote a mother in a comment. “Once a week? Occasionally as a treat? There are factors that take it from one level to another.”

It is important to show your kids that you care, but it is just as important to let them have their own experiences.

According to Lichty, you want the child to be able to have an opportunity to socialize with his or her friends. To be able to deal with the encounters they are going to have without parent evolvement, “because how are children going to learn to do that.”

While it’s good to be involved in your child’s life, don’t forget to give them the space to learn from their mistakes. Failure presents an opportunity for the child to grow and become more resilient. This means letting the child perform the tasks that they are physically and mentally capable of completing.

For instance, helicopter parenting can lead to an inability for the child to manage his or her behavior and emotions, according to researchers at the University of Minnesota in a published study in Developmental Psychology .

It is important for the child to depend on him or herself at a young age, with a parent helping only after attempts are made, the study finds. Persistent self dependence over the course of childhood can lead to “better mental and physical health, fewer behavioral problems, better social relationships and academic adjustments.”

Reporting by Val Simpson