What is Helicopter Parenting?
By Andrew Loh
Yes, helicopter parent, your intentions are good, but that rotor of
yours is causing a din.--Felix Carroll, Albany Times Union, January 27,
....“A parent who is overly involved in the life of
their child. Then tend to hover over their every movement and decision.
Often times they take control and do tasks on their behalf. They also
enjoy broadcasting the details and events of their child's life to
anyone who will listen. Helicopter Parents do not ease up with age, in
fact as the child grows up the tighter their grasp becomes.” - Urban Dictionary
Over focusing and over protecting one's
children is often considered to be negative and counter-productive. A
parent who indulges in such a parental tactic is said to be hovering
constantly over her children throughout the day. Dr. Haim Ginnott used
the term “helicopter parenting” in his noted book titled “Parents &
Teenagers.” Although used extensively by teens who believed that their
parents keep hovering over their heads like a helicopter, the word
became fairly famous in the recent years.
A simple definition of
helicopter parenting reads as follows (Carolyn Daitch, Ph.D., director
of the Center for the Treatment of Anxiety Disorders near Detroit and
author of Anxiety Disorders: The Go-To Guide):
.....“It is a style of parenting by parents who focus excessively on their children and keep
hovering around them to extend help even for a mundane thing.” Many
alternative words for helicopter parenting are “lawnmower parenting” and
“bulldozer parenting.” According to Carolyn Daitch, “parents may assume
too much responsibility for their children's experiences and,
specifically, their successes or failures.” Helicopter parenting is a
sort of “over-parenting” too. Over parenting also means over
controlling, excessive protection and trying to achieve perfection in
Helicopter parents have their reasons to do so. Here are some of the common reasons:
A fear that something will happen
to their children: Fear of negative consequences happening to their
children may make parents resort to helicopter parenting. Many parents
do not want something bad happening to their children be it unhappiness,
frustration, anger, disappointments or even classroom failures. To avoid
these possibilities, parents may believe that if they keep a constant
watch on their children, it becomes easy for them to avoid any untoward
events happening to their children.
Anxiety or panic feelings:
External triggers like job security, economic downturns, fear of other
children doing too good in tests and exams may create a panic or anxiety
in the minds of some parents who eventually may decide to see that
nothing happens to their children. Worries and negative feelings may
push some parents to develop a belief that they have to be protective of
Parental deficiency and overcompensation: It is possible that some
parents may have been neglected or rejected on their childhood. Now,
they may feel that similar things should not happen to their children.
Excessive attention could be an attempt to cover up their previous
deficiencies of their childhood.
Parental pressure from others
or peer pressure: When a parent sees another parent who is resorting to
helicopter parenting, he or she may be compelled to follow a similar
path. Helicopter parenting is quite infectious as most parents want to
exercise a total control over their children by managing events and
things for them.
Possible consequences of helicopter parenting
Helicopter parenting usually starts with a very good intention.
However, good intentions of the present day may eventually convert into
a feeling of over indulgence to control the life of children. When the
feelings becomes crowded with fear, insecurity and decisions of what
might occur in the future, then parents will start using an excessive
method of parenting that might snatch away children's freedom and
independent thinking. In addition, children may overtly depend on their
parents for everything that they need in life. In other words, such
children will not develop skills to face failures, challenges and risks
in their life.
Helicopter parenting might set a dangerous trend
for the future of children. It is always better to limit helicopter
parenting to extend love and affection to children. Yes, a certain
amount of observation is needed to control children's manner and school
studies. However, whatever parents do or act should ensure sufficient
freedom to children so that they can become skilled, productive and
self-sufficient in the future. Experts suggest all parents a simple and
effective suggestion: Give sufficient freedom, yet control children in a
manner that does not intrude in the path to their mental development.
Continue to read
Negative Consequences of Helicopter Parenting and Ways to avoid them.