Be a Hummingbird Parent!Jul 31, 2015 11:28AM ● By Kris Urquhart
My youngest son, Ryan, is leaving home this month to attend the University of Florida. This summer I joined a Facebook group for parents of his freshman class. This group has become my go-to resource and support group for all things “college.” This highly interactive group has helped each other with decisions ranging from housing, meal plans, computers, parking and even support for how to survive the transition. One dad posted he is a self-proclaimed ‘helicopter parent’ and admits to struggling with letting go. Others posted their own experiences and I am so grateful to have access to the advice from parents who have survived a kid-launch. I will miss Ryan tremendously; he is a joyful presence in our home.
Our feature article, Enlightened Parenting, addresses helicopter parenting noting that it can “cause a disabling sense of entitlement where kids begin to believe, possibly unconsciously, that they are entitled to a difficulty-free life.” Author Richard Louv prefers what’s called a hummingbird approach: “Hummingbird parents don’t hover over their kids with nature flash cards; they stand back and make space for exploration and problem solving through independent play, while remaining nearby, ready to zoom in at a moment’s notice if safety becomes an issue.” I like the hummingbird analogy. I have certainly seen the benefits of letting kids solve their own problems. I am very lucky; both of my boys have grown into self-sufficient adults with focused goals and a clear sense of who they are.
I am finding that sending my youngest off to college is a growth opportunity for me as well. It is highlighting major changes coming to my life. Focusing on what I will be able to do with my upcoming extra time is helping with the emotional transition. “Children offer us opportunities to confront the dark and dusty corners of our minds and hearts, creating conditions to call forth the kind of learning that can liberate us from old paradigms,” states Susan Stiffelman, author and child therapist.
This month’s issue offers tips and information on parenting and includes yummy recipes that kids can make themselves. Consider the questions to ask before vaccinating on. Enjoy finding safe eco-supplies for your kid’s green art projects. If you have teens you may want to check our tips for how to make body art safe and reversible. Then discover how thoughts can impact healing and what your pets may be trying to tell you. As you transition to back-to-school I hope you enjoy your hummingbird moments, they go fast!
Here’s to raising fabulous kids!
Kris Urquhart, Publisher