Do you know what is Helicopter Parenting?
Created by Urvashi Shah Updated on Jun 21, 2021
If you are confused about how to be an involved parent without smothering your child, read on to this blog to know more about the term ‘Helicopter Parenting’.
What is Helicopter Parenting?
The term ‘Helicopter Parent’ was first used in Dr. Haim Ginott's 1969 book Parents & Teenagers by teens who said their parents would hover over them like a helicopter. Similar terms that describe this style of parenting are ‘Lawn mover Parenting’, ‘Cosseting Parent’ and ‘Bulldoze Parenting’. In short, helicopter parenting points out to a style of parenting where parents are overly focused on their children. Such parents end up taking too much responsibility for their children’s experiences, their success and failures. This style of parenting means being overly involved in your child’s life in a way that is over controlling, over protecting and over perfecting, in a way that is in excess of responsible parenting. These parents end up taking all the space of the child and are constantly in the need to control the child’s life.
Identifying a helicopter parent
This term is most often applied to parents of adolescents, who do tasks the child is capable of doing on his/her own. In toddlerhood, a helicopter parent may end up constantly hovering over the child, thus, always directing him/her how to play and do other tasks, with no alone time given to the child.
Reasons of helicopter parenting
Helicopter parenting can develop for a number of reasons that you can read below-
- Fear of dire consequences: Low grades, not getting in to the desired sports team or failure in seeking a job can appear disastrous to such parents. This is one of the foremost reasons why parents hover over their children, in order to protect them from any negative happenings.
- Feelings of anxiety: Worries pertaining economy, jobs and the world in general can urge the parent to become controlling of their child even more. Such behaviour drives parents to protect their child from being hurt or disappointed.
- Overcompensation: Parents who felt unloved, ignored and neglected in their childhood can develop skills of helicopter parenting, resulting in overcompensating with their own children. Such parents do not want their child to feel neglected or unloved and hence are constantly overshadowing their children.
- Peer pressure from other parents: When parents notice other parents being involved in their child’s life, it can trigger a similar response in them. Such parents might feel the need to be as involved with their child as the other parents.
Despite the good intentions hidden behind, Helicopter parenting has its own set of consequences. Read below to know what a child might confront from the result of helicopter parenting-
- Decreased confidence: The major issue with helicopter parenting is that it sucks out all the self-confidence of the child. Since most of the parents end up doing tasks for their children, it in stills a sense of lack of confidence in the child. Such children may end up thinking that they are not confident enough to do the tasks on their own. It also makes a child incapable of doing any tasks by himself/herself.
- Undeveloped coping skills: The more a parent is always there to clean up the child’s mess or prevent the child from any sort of problem, the child is not going to learn on his/her own. In this way, a child can never learn to cope with loss, failure or disappointment on his/her own. Such children end up feeling incompetent in dealing with the stress of life on their own.
- Increased anxiety: Over parenting ends up in increased levels of anxiety in children, including depression since the child fails to handle anything on own.
- Sense of entitlement: Such parents are always there to protect and provide for their children. Children who have always had their social, academic, and athletic lives adjusted by their parents to best fit their needs can become accustomed to always having their way and thus they develop a sense of entitlement.
- Undeveloped life skills: Parents who always tie shoes, clear plates, pack lunches, launder clothes, and monitor school progress, even after children are mentally and physically capable of doing the task, prevent their children from mastering these skill themselves. At times such children try to hesitate making new friends since they think of themselves to be incapable of doing anything on their own.
It is necessary for parents to let their child in to the world on his/her own. Yes, parents can protect their child from any dangers but on the other hand, parents must also let the child take up responsibility for his/her success and failures. The main aim for parents here is to keep one eye on their child to protect them, while the other eye on raising an adult and to nurture him/her in to being a confident individual. In practical terms, this means letting children struggle, allowing them to be disappointed, and when failure occurs, helping them to work through it. It means letting your children do tasks that they are physically and mentally capable of doing. Spoon feeding your 3 year old isn't hovering. But spoon feeding your 13 year old is. These tips will help you in becoming less hovering in your child’s life and more attentive towards raising a confident adult.