Parents are naturally supportive of their children but how does one draw the line between being supportive and too controlling? At some point, children must learn how to handle things on their own but with a parent in their shadow all the time, becoming independent might be a challenge. Thus, the term “helicopter parenting” was coined.
What is helicopter parenting?
Just like helicopters, this kind of parents “hover over” their kids, ready to rescue them whether or not things go wrong. This concept was first used in Dr. Haim Ginott’s book Parents & Teenagers, where teenagers used helicopters as a metaphor for their parents’ behaviour.
Signs of a helicopter parent
Not sure if you’re one? Here are the signs:
- Always fighting your child’s battle, even if it’s just against another child
- Answering on behalf of your child when the teacher asks something
- Keeping your child on a short leash
- When your child is rejected somewhere, you’re dealing with it by calling or talking to the decision-maker on your child’s behalf
- Not letting your child do any household chore because it might be dangerous
- Being scared of letting your child go off on his or her own
- Taking over everything so things will be done right because you’re scared for your child to fail
- Restricting your child more than her peers are
- Doing your child’s homework
- Debating with the teacher when your child gets a lower mark
What are the advantages of helicopter parenting?
Helicopter parenting, like other parenting styles, has advantages that may help kids in the long run. These can result to any of the following:
- Knowing your child’s abilities and being willing to fight for her so she reaches her maximum potential
- Being always present in your child’s life, making it easier for your kid to turn to you first when things go wrong
- Your child sees how dedicated you are and how invested you are in her success
- Your child feels cared for and protected
What are its disadvantages?
While it has advantages, helicopter parenting is most likely to stunt the growth of your child because she will never feel accountable for her actions. Other disadvantages of helicopter parenting are:
- Your child will always be dependent on you even when she grows old. This will most likely result to irresponsible decisions because your child knows that her parents will always step in for her
- It may be challenging for your child to cope with life’s difficulties especially when you’re not around and unable to help
- Your child will not learn the best lessons in life which usually come from failure. This is only because you don’t let her fail in the first place
How can you avoid becoming a helicopter parent?
The disadvantages of being a helicopter parent outweigh the benefits so it’s advisable for parents to avoid becoming one. Here are some tips to make sure you don’t hover over your child all the time:
- Let your kid have responsibilities. You can start off by giving her small tasks at home to know the feeling of being accountable for something. Avoid taking over when things get rough.
- Do not always solve your child’s problems. Instead, offer to help work through it only if your child can’t really solve it alone. This does not only teach her independence but also empowers your child to be her own person.
- Practice honest communication. Tell your child you’re only going to pay extremely close attention when she badly needs help. Then encourage her to be open with you so you can work out a solution to certain problems without fully taking over.