What is A Helicopter Parenting Style?Jan 28, 2023
What's The Definition Of A Helicopter Parent?
Helicopter parenting is a term used to describe parents who are overly involved in their children’s lives. This type of parenting focuses on controlling and monitoring their children’s activities, decisions and behaviors to ensure their safety and success in all areas of their life. Helicopter parents may attempt to shield their children from any potential risks or challenges they may face, and are often seen as hovering over their children, waiting to swoop in and save the day.
Helicopter parenting stems from a parent's fear of their child failing or making a mistake. It is an attempt to protect their child from potential harm or disappointment. This can be seen in a parent's desire to hover over their child, controlling and directing every aspect of their life. This type of anxiety we're referring to here is in Family Systems Theory known as Chronic Anxiety. You can learn more about that in our free parenting course that explains more about family systems - get that here.
Helicopter parenting can be seen in many areas, from academics to extracurricular activities and even social interactions. Examples of helicopter parenting include a parent accompanying their child to college classes and making sure their child receives only the best grades. It can also include attending every single game or practice their child participates in, as well as monitoring their social media accounts and people they interact with.
What Are The Effects Of Over Parenting?
While parents who over-parent generally have the best intentions, the effects of over-parenting can be detrimental to a child’s development.
Negative Effects Of Helicopter Parenting
While Helicopter Parents have good intentions, their kids often don't benefit from the style of upbringing as their parents might hope for.
1. Children may struggle with independence and self-reliance.
When children are overly protected and their decisions are taken away or micromanaged, they may become overly dependent on their parents, leading to difficulty in making decisions and making mistakes on their own. This can affect their ability to become independent and self-reliant adults.
2. Difficulty accepting and learning from mistakes.
Children are naturally curious and prone to making mistakes as they explore and learn. When a parent is over-involved, they may be too quick to prevent mistakes or to swoop in and protect children from any negative consequences. This can prevent children from learning from their mistakes and from the natural consequences of their actions.
3. Emotional issues.
Over-parenting can lead to feelings of resentment and frustration from the child, which may manifest as emotional issues such as depression, anxiety, anger, and guilt.
4. Poor social skills. Overparenting can lead to an inability to navigate social situations. Children may become overly reliant on their parents and struggle to form relationships and friendships with their peers.
It is important for parents to be involved and supportive of their children, but it is also important to allow children the space to make mistakes and learn from them. Balancing support and independence will help children develop resilience and self-reliance, as well as foster healthy relationships with their peers.
What Are Some Examples of Helicopter Parenting?
While Helicopter Parents have good intentions, their kids often don't benefit from the style of upbringing as their parents might hope for. Here are some signs of Helicopter Parenting.
• Making decisions for the child: A helicopter parent will make decisions for their child, such as what school they attend, what activities they participate in, and even what clothes they wear. This level of involvement is a classic sign of helicopter parenting and often borders overcontrolling.
• Overprotecting: Helicopter parents are renown for being overprotective and often go out of their way to protect their child from any harm or danger. This may include not allowing them to go to certain places, not letting them play sports, or not allowing them to try new things.
• Constant monitoring: Helicopter parents will often monitor their child’s every move. This could include checking their grades and schoolwork, talking to their teachers, monitoring their social media accounts, or even tracking their cell phone usage.
• Making comparisons: Another example of helicopter parenting is the parent who constantly compares their child to other children, setting unrealistic expectations and creating unnecessary pressure.
• Fixing problems: Helicopter parents are known to intervene and solve their child’s problems for them, preventing them from developing life skills and problem-solving abilities.
What are the Pro's And Con's of Helicop
• Building self-confidence: Helicopter parents strive to give their children the best in life and nurture them. This can help build the child’s self-confidence, as they feel supported and secure.
• Creating a bond: Helicopter parenting can help form a strong bond between the parent and child. A parent’s involvement in their child’s life can create a close relationship, as the parent is there to offer advice and guidance.
• Setting high standards: Helicopter parents can set high expectations for their children, pushing them to work hard and strive for success. This can be beneficial, as it can help the child develop self-discipline and a good work ethic.
• Providing emotional support: Finally, helicopter parenting can provide emotional support for the child. A parent’s involvement can give the child comfort and help them to cope with difficult emotions such as depression, anxiety, anger, and guilt.
What are the benefits of allowing a child to be independent?
Children who are encouraged to be independent often develop confidence, self-reliance, and problem-solving skills. This independence can help them learn to take control of their own lives and develop the ability to make decisions for themselves and learn from their their own life experiences It can also help them learn how to set goals and stick to them in order to achieve their desired outcome. Allowing a child to have some degree of independence will also teach them the value of responsibility and increase their sense of self-worth. Ultimately, it will help them develop into well-rounded, capable adults.
Overall, parenting styles have a major impact on the dynamics and success of families. To ensure healthy family relationships and an environment of support and growth, parents should strive to find a healthy balance between discipline and leniency, communication and consistency.
How To Stop Being a Helicopter Parent
Helicopter parenting is a difficult habit to break, especially if you’ve been doing it for a long time. The first step is to recognize when you’re being too controlling or overprotective. Once you’ve identified this, you can start to take action and make small changes to your parenting style. This starts with understanding chronic anxiety, a relational anxiety that occurs in all families.
You can find out more about this type of anxiety and how it influences parenting here - the course coaches you through a brief introduction to Family Systems theory.
One way to do this is to give your child more independence and allow them to make their own decisions. This can be a challenge for many parents as it can be difficult to trust that your child will make the right decisions and stay safe, even though they’re not being closely monitored. Letting go of control can be scary, but it is essential for your child to learn and grow.
Another way to stop yourself from helicopter parenting is to foster open communication with your child. Make sure to give them the opportunity to express their thoughts, feelings, and opinions, and be sure to listen actively and without judgement. This will help them feel more secure in expressing their feelings and desires, and can help you understand where they’re coming from.
Finally, it’s important to trust your child and believe that they can handle situations on their own. Remind yourself that they are capable of making their own decisions, and that you don’t have to do everything for them. Encourage them to take risks and try new things, as this will help them gain more confidence and independence.
How can parents avoid helicopter parenting?
Helicopter parenting is a term used to describe parents who are constantly hovering over their child, often micromanaging their life and decisions. To help parents avoid becoming a helicopter parent, here are five tips:
1. Give your child the space to make mistakes. Part of growing up is learning from mistakes and developing important life skills. Let your child experience consequences, make decisions, and learn from their choices.
2. Encourage independence. Allow your child to explore and express themselves in a safe environment. Provide guidance, but trust your child’s opinions and decisions.
3. Respect your child’s privacy. Don’t intrude on their personal space or always be in their business. Giving children their own space is essential for their emotional wellbeing.
4. Don’t over-schedule your child’s activities or with educational experience. It’s important to give your child time to relax and explore different interests. Be selective about the activities your child participates in and remember to prioritize family time.
5. Praise your child for accomplishments. Acknowledge and reward your child when they do well. Positive reinforcement can encourage your child to take on new challenges and build self-confidence.
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