Stop the Helicopter Parenting and Relax!

Dear Reader:

As much as we parents and grandparents want to lead…and guide our children and grandchildren around all the daily obstacles that come with the ‘art’ of growing up…the best results at the end of the journey come when we take a back seat and let the child lead by showing us what his or her passion is…their unique God-given gift.

Not easy, is it? Parents and grandparents are notoriously bad back-seat drivers.

Esther Wojcicki — “Woj” to her many friends and admirers — is famous for three things:



*Teaching a high school class that has changed the lives of thousands of students

*Raising three daughters who have each become famously successful as, the CEO of YouTube, the Founder and CEO of 23andMe, and a top medical researcher

*Inspiring Silicon Valley legends like Steve Jobs

What do these three accomplishments have in common? They’re the result of TRICK, Woj’s secret to raising successful people: Trust, Respect, Independence, Collaboration, and Kindness. Simple lessons, but the results are radical.

Woj’s methods are the opposite of helicopter parenting. As we face an epidemic of parental anxiety, Woj is here to say: relax.

  1. Talk to infants as if they are adults.
  2. Allow teenagers to pick projects that relate to the real world and their own passions, let them figure out how to complete them. 
  3. ***Above all, let your child lead.

One of the most powerful lessons I heard one time was a reminder to all parents that our children are only on loan to us…we don’t own them. So we have only a limited amount of time to help them discover their true selves and the gifts they will leave behind.

Woj would give each daughter a small laundry basket that they could fill with their own self-interest books each Saturday when they went to the library. Upon reflection each daughter drifted to the section of the library that most appealed to them…with one daughter it was math, another technology, and another medicine. From early ages on…left to their own personal choices and devices,  the daughters have stayed true to their individualized initial choices.

When asked why she wrote this book on raising children WOJ replied:

“This is my legacy—I’m trying to make sure that people understand the power of giving children control of their learning.”

It might sound crazy, but when someone believes in you, you’re willing to take more risks and willing to be more creative. As parents, we need to recognize that the little person in front of us is a time-bomb waiting to explode and disperse all the unique gifts lying dormant within. All a child needs is unconditional love, support and independence…they will do the rest.

So until tomorrow….Let’s make sure that every child born in this world knows:  BE(YOU)TIFUL! 

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

*I caught a little bit of a discussion on Facebook yesterday about teaching,  salaries, and blatant discrepancies throughout counties in South Carolina…not just states.

One of the responders put this cartoon in the mix and I had to laugh… since some of my own children (and their spouses) are still caught in this cobweb of student “spider” nauseam.

  • Eva Cate just completed Adventure Camp with rock climbing and was just a couple of days this week and she got lucky…both days the sun was out…








About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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