Are Online Classes Turning Us All Into Helicopter Parents?
A few days ago, I caught myself doing something that hasn’t been a part of my parenting style, or at least that is what I think. My six-year-old was midway through her English class when the teacher asked the students a question. But my little girl had zoned out, gazing outside the window, at a sparrow that had found its way to our balcony. I cleared my throat, hissed as loudly as I could to catch her attention, while not being audible to others on the Zoom call, and gave her the “mommy stare” that brings every kid daydreaming back to planet Earth in milliseconds. I have got those stares from my mother in my childhood and turns out that they work, even of the digital generation. But this isn’t me. I don’t hover over my kid when she is playing in the garden. I don’t monitor her play or study time. Who is this pushy creature that I have morphed into? Have online classes turned me into a helicopter mom? Am I alone?
- Many parents are sitting with their children for online classes.
- Has that made us all helicopter parents?
- Do you push your child through the class to answer promptly, to sit straight, or to stop fidgeting?
- Has the lockdown made us more intrusive parents? Do we all need a hobby of our own, instead of making projects out of our kids?
This isn’t me. I don’t hover over my kid when she is playing in the garden. I don’t monitor her play or study time. Who is this pushy creature that I have morphed into? Have online classes turned me into a helicopter mom? Am I alone?
Parenting under lockdown is a beast, no mom or dad was prepared to tackle. The endless demand for snacks. The boredom with all the toys, screen-time and recreation that you schedule for your child. The constant demand for attention, which is reasonable, mind you. But just when you thought that balancing work-from-home and parenting was difficult, online classes came into the picture. Now most of us whose kids are in pre-primary to primary grades are devoting two hours a day to sit with our children through Zoom classes. Figure out connectivity issues and white noise, note down homework; workbook pages to be completed, textbook pages to be read, assignments and activities to be done with your child. Since this a new territory, one cannot leave all these chores to the kids. But sitting through online classes means we are monitoring every breath they take, how much do they concentrate, how well do they respond, and how long does it take them to learn a new lesson.
I constantly check on my daughter, whether she is paying attention to the class or not. Has she understood what her teacher has been trying to explain? Why is she playing with her pencil and eraser? Dear God, did she just solve the ABACUS classwork her teacher gave incorrectly! While writing this, I reprimanded her for fidgeting with her hairband. I know this is how she may sit through her classes at school. It is cruel/impractical, in fact, laughable to expect your child to sit still through a 40-minute class, to expect them to understand any new concept in one go, but it is as if I cannot help it. And then there are all these super-achiever parents doing cool stuff with their kids and putting it up on social media. Moms sharing tips on how to stoke your kid’s creativity. I feel the pressure to be more involved in my child’s routine, much to my own detest.
Every day is a struggle, I am torn between being a helicopter mom that I know will let my child to either resent me or be dependent on me totally, and the mom focussed on weaning her child off her dependency on the adults around her. Under lockdown, the latter seems to be taking a beating more than she usually does. Today the teacher has finally reprimanded parents in general for being too involved during the online classes. I hope this warning will help me tackle the monster mom lurking inside me. Or maybe I need a hobby of my own to have some chills before the daughter I have been conditioning to be independent young lady tells me to back off.
Picture By: Baby Center.com
The views expressed are the author’s own.