TOPIC:  Hovering Parents.  First take the test, then read the article.

This blog post has an interactive portion. First, do this quiz, ‘A Quiz Are you a Hover Mother or Father?‘.

The quiz is only something to think about and not strongly evidenced based. So take what it says about you with several grains of salt.  The test will help you better decide if  you are doing too much for you child.

Here is a report on a more robust study indicating the need for parents to hover less.

Article about hovering.


Anxiety drives hovering.  Too much pressure on parents drives anxiety. Here are the pressures that have increased hovering since I grew up:

  1. Horror based media stories that emphasize dangers.  The fact remains that although there are dangers, the media stories are stories because they are not common.  Think of the fear created by Jame Holmes shooting up a movie theater.  Then think about how many people go to movies every single day without guns going off in the theater.
  2. Making parents overly  responsible for children’s happiness.  Parents cannot guarantee happiness. Happiness depends on many things, genes, freedom from trauma, the right goals, and  luck. As Priscilla Leonard’s poem reminds us:

 Happiness is like a crystal,
Fair and exquisite and clear,
Broken in a million pieces,
Shattered, scattered, far and near. 
Now and then along life’s pathway,
Lo! some shining fragments fall;
But there are so many pieces,
No one ever finds them all.

3. The belief that involved parents equals success in school. It doesn’t if parents do the kids’ homework, and argue with teachers.

4. The belief that academic success guarantees life success.

5. The belief that one must love one’s work. We get paid to work because it is a job, not something we love doing.

6. The star mentality which says you have to be the best and brightest or you are nothing.

7. The worsening economy.


I’ve posted elsewhere on how to best prepare your child for success in life. Here is one of those posts.

In order to stop hovering, parents have to quiet their anxiety.  My Twelve Daily Emotional Fitness Exercises are designed to aid in reducing anxiety. Start however by learning my One Minute Meditation. Here it is:

  1. Breath in slowly while tensing your muscles.
  2. Hold your breath and the tension for a count of four.
  3. Breathe out slowly, release the tension, smile gently (A  Calming Breath).
  4. Breathe normally for four breaths.
  5. Notice what it feels like just to breath in and out.
  6. Continue breathing normally.
  7. Periodically take a calming breath.
  8. Continue for at least one minute.
  9. Thereafter, whenever you are ready to stop, take another Calming Breath, and as you breathe out,  smile and say “Ahhhhh.”

Adding a bodily release adds to the power of this exercise.  Add a bodily release by putting your hands on your legs just above the knees and squeezing as you breathe in during a calming breath.  Increase the pressure why holding your breath.   As you breathe out, stop squeezing while consciously making note of the sensation of release.

Calming self talk  slogans also help enhance this exercise.  “Relax and release”, “Here now,“  “This will pass” are examples of calming slogans.  Any two, three, or four words that speak to you will do.  Say or think the calming slogan as you breathe out.

Thinking of a safe place further enhances this exercise.  Safe places can be imaginary, based on a memory or a number of memories.  Make one from your good memories.  The best safe places have sights, sounds, and smells  hat calm.

Finally, the more you practice, the more powerful your response to this exercise will be.  When first learning this self soothing exercise, practice when you are already relatively calm.  Eventually, you will find you can stay calm when all around you are stressed.

Tension is a habit.  Relaxing is a habit.  And bad habits can be broken and good habits formed.

William James, American Educator


Be kind to me. Like this post, comment, or share. You will be helping me stay strong and maybe others as well.

IMAGE BY Babble.com

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