Note to Self: Shut Up!
I say and do things daily that I vowed I would "never" do as a mom. In the 1980s, my sister played varsity tennis for our high school. At some point in the season, parents were banned from attending tennis matches since they argued line calls from the sidelines. Banned! That's pretty extreme, but the behavior must have been equally extreme. I decided I would "never" be that type of parent.
Today, this behavior might be termed "helicopter parenting." Wikipedia defines it as "parents [who] rush to prevent any harm or failure from befalling [their children] and will not let them learn from their own mistakes... They are so named because, like helicopters, they hover closely overhead, rarely out of reach, whether their children need them or not."
I've known what a helicopter parent is since the 1980s and I'm not one of them. I would not be the parent calling out strategies, over-the-top words of encouragement, or arguing about whether a ball was "in" or "out." Not me.
Fast forward to 2009 as I attend my twin first graders' sports games.
I have a boy first grader and a girl first grader. They both play basketball. Each gender has their own playing style. The girls mostly stand around while the girl with the ball - who always forgets to dribble - cradles it like a baby doll, walks up to the basket and shoots, sometimes once, sometimes three or four times as she catches her own rebounds. At this age, the referee doesn't even call traveling. If so, the girls couldn't play. In contrast, the boys seem to play a real game of basketball. They are aggressive. The boys don't need parental encouragement, just a little clapping when they score baskets.Continued on the next page