Tri. Tri. Tri Harder.

Last weekend, our 7, 8 and 10-year olds competed in the Baylor Tom Landry Sunny Kids Tri. This year, Arianna bumped up to the Youth Senior group and completed a 200Y swim, 6-mile bike and 2K run. When I speak of Arianna, I hardly ever speak of her as being an “athlete”. Boy, am I wrong! She IS an athlete and as her mom, I need to try harder and give her the credit she deserves.

Why do parents need to try harder?

Being a parent is a title, but also an active job and responsibility. Many days, it’s hard to get out of bed, or have the energy to make it through the day, but if you quit, and rely on someone else to do your job, your child will suffer. When parents try harder, children witness that parents struggle too, just like they do!

How can parents try harder?

Be your child’s role model.
In our home, one of our mantras is, “Don’t ask someone to do something you wouldn’t do yourself.” If I want my kids to speak kindly, respect others and work hard, then I need to model this behavior. I don’t do these things well, but I try harder everyday to lessen my harsh tone, listen when my children speak and push through the exhaustion. Charles Barkley said it best in this Nike commercial.

Be your child’s advocate.
To be an advocate for your child, start by understanding the situation, what you hope to achieve and your approach to finding a solution. Whether your child needs you in the classroom, in a social setting or relationship, children need to know that their parents will advocate (not make excuses) for them. When parents try harder, children become empowered and learn how to take on their own challenges and solve their own problems.

Validate your child.

Validating your child means that you listen to what they say, without passing judgment, criticism, or interrupting them when they share their thoughts and emotions. Validation isn’t about superficial praises or reward system; it’s about speaking the truth about your child’s effort or accomplishment. Most importantly, it means that you don't always have to agree with them. When you try harder, your child will become confident in sharing thoughts and build self-esteem. 

Learn from my mistakes. Parenting is exhausting, but you can try harder. Your children learn from the example you set, as well as how you advocate for them and validate their feelings. 

You are capable, you are confident and you are becoming the strongest mom.


Helicopter Parenting-One Life Radio

Parenting is hard work. Being an advocate for your child versus a helicopter parent isn't always easy. Advocating for your child means keeping your child's best interest at heart, instead of your own. Listen in as Vito and I discuss helicopter parenting on the Nov. 18th One Life Radio talk show. 


Child Advocacy or Helicopter Parenting?

As a mom of four, I want the best for my children. Over the years, I have witnessed, been guilty of, or been affected by helicopter parenting.  As a result, I have learned that there is a clear distinction between advocating for your child and doing for your child what he or she can do for themselves. The following are two stories used to differentiate between helicopter parenting and child advocacy.

Story 1: A parent wants their child to play on an undefeated sports team. The parent emails the coach, sends a resume of the child’s athletic accomplishments, the parent’s job title, how much money they donate to the school, and tells the coach their child would be a great addition to the team. In the email, there is no mention of the child’s interest to play the sport.

Story 2: A parent picks up their child after school. The child says a classmate is causing trouble and it’s a repeated behavior. The parent coaches the child how to stand up and speak up for what is right. If the behavior continues, the parent suggests gathering the facts, scheduling an appointment with the teacher/counselor and address the situation to find an appropriate solution. 

Parents that hover, or are “helicopter” parents:

  • Desire to be hyper involved in their child’s life. 
  • Use ego, pride, financial or social status to influence their child’s future.
  • Coddle or entitle the child’s behaviors and protects them from consequences.
  • Have difficulty letting go.
  • Prepare the path for the child.

Parents who advocate for their child:

  • Cultivate independence and self-sufficiency.
  • Train their child to be goal oriented and have a disciplined work ethic.
  • Teach problem solving and critical thinking skills.
  • Encourage the child’s decision-making abilities and resourcefulness.
  • Prepare the child for the path.

What are the effects of helicopter parenting?

In 2011, a study of 300 students by Terri LeMoyne and Tom Buchanan at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga found that students with “hovering” or “helicopter” parents are more likely to be medicated for anxiety and/or depression.

Moms, wouldn’t it be great if you were discharged from the hospital with a manual on how to be an advocate for your child? I think so. Parenting is one of the hardest jobs in the world. The more you advocate for your child, the more likely your child will overcome adversity and be mentally prepared for the future. Advocate for your child by understanding the facts, devising a plan (and a back up plan), learning from the past, and looking at the big picture.

I love being present in the moment. Every day is an opportunity for me to be an advocate for my child: socially, academically, athletically or relationally. My job isn’t to fix it for them, but rather to equip them with the tools they need to become self-reliant adults. 


P.S. Last week was busy. I found myself in offices and buildings, advocating for all four of our kids. When Friday rolled around, I was ready for an early evening, good book and glass of wine!