Local parents learn about guiding children

Brittan Bliss is a helicopter mom.

A parent of a third-grader at Ocean Air Elementary, Bliss admits she can be a little overprotective, “hovering” over the situation when something happens to her daughter.

“Even (my daughter’s) pediatrician said, ‘OK, quit being such a mother bear. You have to let them take their lumps,’ ” she said.

Bliss first heard the phrase “Helicopter Mom” at an April 15 presentation by Dr. Adria O’Donnell, who spoke about how parents can productively help guide their children in handling stressful social situations, including bullying.

O’Donnell, who speaks to children and adults, gave about 100 parents a glimpse into her work with kids, and the differences in the way boys versus girls handle adversity.

“Girl bullying, oh it’s just so much nastier,” she said, adding that the rumors, gossip and isolation take a strong toll. O’Donnell said boys’ aggression is usually physical, relating to performance on the athletic field, targeting masculinity. Both are very serious, she said, which is why it is so important for parents to be able to communicate effectively with their children.

“It’s not ‘Look at my black eye.’ I can see that, it’s the stuff that they can’t,” she said.

O’Donnell said she hopes her lecture will help parents be able to better provide guidance the next time they see their child has faced adversity.

First, to the helicopter moms: “Land your plane,” she said. “You’re so worried about what’s happening that you’re not letting your child experience their life.”

She said parents should advocate, but not fight their children’s battles for them.

O’Donnell said being supportive and staying calm while listening to the concerns of their sons and daughters will encourage them to come back to them with larger issues later on.

She said children who are picked on must know that they are not alone. She emphasized the importance of having allies.

“A bullied kid walks around thinking he’s alone in the world,” she said. “I want them to know it’s not just them.”

O’Donnell said parents should shy away from forbidding friendships, as it can create a “Romeo and Juliet effect.” She also said they should not assume innocence or think that all conflict is bad for their children.

She told parents to never confront another child’s parent without telling their son or daughter first, as they can feel betrayed.

“I want (parents) to feel a collective sigh of relief, to know that there is a forum for discussing these problems,” she said, encouraging them to turn to each other when they have problems.

For more information, visit www.drodonnell.com.

Tips for parents
- Give children an emotional vocabulary, ask them questions and listen attentively to their response.
- Role-play: Act out a situation with your children; let them practice their reaction.
- Seek a second opinion: Call another parent or a trusted friend for advice.
- Camp: Find a summer camp that allows them to explore new ideas, such as music or science. Someplace where ‘it’s cool not to be cool.’

Related posts:

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  3. Local teaches babies, parents nonverbal communication
  4. Parents line up for gently used deals
  5. Guest View: Time for parents to pay attention

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Posted by on Apr 22, 2010. Filed under Archives. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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