I’m a GoPro Parent, and I’m proud of it!
I’m sure you’ve heard of Helicopter Parents. You can spot them at the playground hovering over their child(ren), supervising their every move, ready to swoop in at any moment. And you’re familiar with Free-Range Parenting. They’re the parents whose kids run wild and do whatever they want, while seemingly handling mature responsibilities. I’ve recently been introduced to Snowplow Parenting. You’ll recognize these parents by their aggressive ability to push all obstacles out of their child(ren)’s way.
None of these accurately describe my parenting style, though.
So, let me introduce you to GoPro Parenting, my personal parenting style. GoPro Parenting lives at the intersection of helicoptering and free-ranging. From the outside, it appears that my kids are wild, that I let them push their bodies to the limit. But on the inside, I’m hovering like a lunatic.
I’m often showered with compliments from friends and family for my ability to give my kids the freedom to try new things. But what they don’t know is what’s going on inside of me.
Sure, I might let, or even encourage, my 7-year-old to scale up the side of a large boulder. I’ll likely film it and load it to his Instagram and YouTube accounts, too. And if he slips or falls, other parents are amazed when I don’t even flinch. Instead, I wait to read his reaction.
But what they don’t see is that in my backpack, I’ve got a full-sized first aid kit, gel cool packs, ace bandages, a swiss army knife, emergency thermal blankets, and a GPS locator. I’m prepared for anything to go wrong.
And they definitely can’t see or feel my heart racing.
You might be a GoPro Parent, too if…
- You encourage your child to try a physical activity you might not even try yourself.
- You wait for your child to react to a fall before you react.
- You are your child(ren)’s personal videographer.
- You manage multiple social media accounts for your child(ren).
You might be a GoPro parent if you let your young kids ride bikes outside without you. But while they’re doing it, you can’t focus on anything else, so you end up watching from the window and taking video/pictures of them.
Here’s a fun little story that perfectly demonstrates my GoPro Parenting style:
When my youngest son was 4-years-old, he fell while skiing. He had followed some older kids into the terrain park and hit a jump slightly off balance. He was brought to the Ski Patrol, where he was checked out and they assured us that he’d be just fine.
But something didn’t seem quite right to me. I just knew. So, the next morning, my husband took our older son back out to ski and I took the little one to Urgent Care.
And I was right, his left tibia was fractured. He was put in a full-leg cast for 8 weeks. He was too young and small for crutches, so he was given a walker. But as you’d expect, winter in VT made it difficult for him to use his walker outside, what with all the snow and ice. So, I physically carried him, his walker, and his backpack in and out of school every single day for 8-weeks.
When his full-leg cast was finally removed in early April, there was only 1 weekend left of skiing at our local mountain. Now, most parents might say, “That’s it for this season.” But, I was worried that if he didn’t get back on his skies until the next winter, he’d build up fear from having fallen and broken his leg the last time he skied.
My husband and I decided we’d let him ski that weekend but only take him on the learners’ hill. We’d just get him on the skis so he wouldn’t be afraid the next year. Or so we thought…
Well, once he was on his skis, it was as if he’d had no time off at all. He begged and begged to get on the mountain. He felt ready. So, we trusted him and his knowledge of his body. We took him up the lift and he chose to go right through the terrain park.
And as he sailed through the terrain park, I reached in my pocket, took out my cell phone, and began recording just in time to capture his little body catching air off a jump. I had the video posted on his IG later that day.
And that my friends, is GoPro Parenting.