Is Helicopter Parenting Best for ADHD kids?
I’m beginning to think it might be. Today was the spelling bee. We practiced and practiced for this day. I forced my ADHD son to practice and it paid off. Here are some of the words Ben and Eli studied.
Here they are at the bee. I thought I had butterflies in my stomach when I was in the bee as a little girl. It is nothing compared to watching your kids in the bee. Get me some Pepto please!
Did I mention that I forced my sixth grader, Ben to study for the Bee? He thought studying would be a waste of time. I thought otherwise. Some of the words my boys spelled were visibility, preliminary, unanimous, and leviathan. They both made it through the first four rounds. Unfortunately, the judge decided to go off of the 450 word list that they had studied after only four rounds. Usually, they use the list longer to award the kids that studied.
They made it through the next two rounds and then there were only five kids left.
On the third “random word” round, Eli got the word “allocate” and missed it. We were sad. But then we were astonished when Ben correctly spelled the word “geocentric.”
At the end of that round, Ben was one of three. This is my ADHD, “there is no way I’m going to study for the bee,” “you can’t make me study for the bee,” “you are not in charge of me” boy. And here he was! My jaw was dropping!
The next word he got was “chasm.” Except the judge pronounced it KAZiM which apparently is the correct way to pronounce it. And all this time, I’ve been saying the word, CHAZim. Really. All this time. He missed the word. But I was so proud of him.
His friends, made some signs for him in the audience and waved them. That meant a lot to him. It meant a lot to me too.
I’m glad I forced him to be in the bee. Others might disagree. My involvement with him in the bee is sometimes known as “helicopter” parenting. It involves hovering over your children, making them do the right thing, instead of letting them make their own choices and then giving them logical consequences. The Love and Logic books speak against this parenting style.
I had always subscribed to the more “logical” parenting style until I recently read Amy Chua’s book, The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. She is an Asian parent that rode her two daughter hard to be accomplished students and musicians. While I don’t agree with everything she did, I did realize that I could push harder.
The last two years, Brandon refused to be in the bee, and I didn’t think there was anything I could do about it. If he wasn’t “passionate” about it, then I couldn’t force it.
This year I thought differently, and I was going to have to be a helicopter to get Brandon to prepare. I quickly learned I had to be with him every minute he was studying. But he learned them. He saw how much I cared about him. He saw how invested I was in him. That made him work harder.
When I asked him if he was glad he did the spelling bee, he said, “Yep.” (That’s all you get from a 6th grader.)
When I asked him if he wanted to do it next year, he said, “Nope.” We’ll see about that.
Note: That was the last spelling bee Ben ever did. Helicopter parenting is exhausting!