Last week, when I attended a parents’ meeting for my 13-year-old son’s basketball team, the coach explained that he has “closed door” practices. He said it was fine for parents to peek their heads in near the end of practice each day, but other than that, none of us should be in the gym.
I actually have about ZERO interest in watching 7th grade boys practice basketball. I like this coach, and I’m pretty sure some obnoxious parent experiences are behind his new policy, but still I bristled a bit at the idea of being un-welcome at my son’s daily afternoon activity.
Should I, though? What is the right balance between being present with our children and yet not smothering them (and possibly disrupting others) with too much of that presence?
A reader recently sent me an article about how France handles helicopter parents by simply not allowing parents to be near their children during the (long!) school day.
The article argues that this policy makes for happier children and mothers in the end, and I certainly agree that the pressure to be present for your child’s (and even multiple children’s) every move throughout every minute of every day is exhausting and ridiculous. But I wonder where we should draw the line? Parental rights are obviously important, but is it reasonable for parents who send their kids to school or allow them to participate in extra curricular activities to expect that their presence at these events will always be welcome?
I am not so sure, but I would love to know what you think. Are you a helicopter parent? Do you expect to be welcome to attend every activity your child participates in? Would you bristle at the idea of “closed doors”? What is the right balance?