Helicopter Parenting – Why You Should Avoid It

Are you too involved in your child’s activities? Then may it be known that it might hamper their progress. Ironically, hampering their progress is the very thing that you’re so concerned about that makes you hover over them.
Welcome to the world of helicopter parenting.

“Helicopter parenting refers to a style of parents who are over-focused on their children. They typically take too much responsibility for their children’s experiences and specifically their success or failures.” – Dr. Carolyn Daitch, Author of Anxiety Disorders: The Go-To Guide.

Helicopter parenting can apply at any age. For example, in toddlerhood, the parent might constantly shadow the child giving him zero alone time. In elementary school, the parent selects the child’s friends and activities. They provide excessive assistance in homework and school projects. During high school or college days, parents perform tasks such as manage exercising habits, arranging a class schedule or fixing an appointment with the professor, tasks which the child is perfectly capable of doing on its own.

Effects of helicopter parenting

1. According to Florida State University researchers, crossing the line between supportive and too involved could indirectly lead to issues such as depression and anxiety for young adults. Researchers surveyed more than 460 college students about how their mothers influenced their decisions.
2. Students who were given more autonomy reported higher life satisfaction, self-efficacy and better physical health. 3. Students with the so-called helicopter parent were more likely to report low levels of self-efficacy and the ability to handle some tougher tasks and decisions.
4. Studies also show that children of overinvolved parents may feel less competent and less able to manage life and its stressors. In contrast some parental involvement facilitates healthy development, both emotionally and socially.

In my opinion, help with school work should be slowly weaned as the child enters adolescence. According to Clinical Psychologist, Dr. Judith Locke, the irony in helicopter parenting is that though its goal is fostering academic achievement, it undermines the independence and resilient performance in children. One of my friends who can be equated to a helicopter parent was so involved in her sons’ schoolwork that the boys started expecting her to do everything for them. She found it impossible to handle them. So it would be wise to establish healthy boundaries in our role as a parent.

Steps to avoid being a helicopter parent

1. Stop hovering over your child. Give them age-appropriate tasks that will bolster their independence.
2. Don’t make your child the centre of your universe. They’ll have a hard time functioning on his own in the world.
3. Never label your child as it may become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Words are powerful so don’t make negative predictions about what your child will become. What a great thought!
4. Don’t take it personally if your child doesn’t agree with you.
5. Try not to get so involved in your child’s life that you neglect your own. Let the child experience the consequences of his actions. Allow your kids to make mistakes, face their consequences and solve their problems. This approach will allow you to let go of hovering and make you a more calm and peaceful parent. To some extent you can support them, but be sure to know the boundaries.

Swarnam John is an experienced health and wellness writer. She writes the blog healthyhomosapien. She is also a contributor to a couple of prestigious online magazines.

  • Neha Jha

    Helicopter parenting is one new thing which people are hearing and it is nicely explained by you.

    • Swarnam John

      Thanks! Glad you found this topic useful.