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  • Hovering Helicopter Parenting
    While there have always been overprotective or overbearing parents, they were rare. However, parents today are much more likely to be defined as helicopter parents, and this tendency is having a detrimental impact on the health and well-being of children, teens, and young adults alike. Read >>
Health and Fitness News

Hovering Helicopter Parenting

Are you overprotective, over-involved, and overbearing? You may be doing more harm than good.

The idea of helicopter parenting is a relatively new phenomenon. While there have always been overprotective or overbearing parents, they were rare. However, parents today are much more likely to be defined as helicopter parents, and this tendency is having a detrimental impact on the health and well-being of children, teens, and young adults alike.

What is helicopter parenting, what are the end results, and how should parents treat their children? Keep reading to find out.

Defining the Chopper

Helicopter parenting is a term used to define over-parenting. This arises when parents are too involved in their children’s life, try to control every outcome, and solve their children’s problems without allowing the children to figure things out on their own. Kids are told what to play with, how to play, how to clean up, and how to feel. Parents may criticize, make demands, or hold their children to unrealistic academic or behavioral standards.

In an effort to shield their children from potential dangers or harm in the world, today’s parents become overprotective. They, in a sense, hover over their children as they play, sleep, eat, and do school. Every minute of the day is structured. Parents do things for their children that the little ones could easily learn to do on their own. These children are rarely alone, don’t learn to problem solve, and aren’t given the opportunity to explore or take responsibilities.

Helicopter parenting may offer benefits in the moment (a child’s shoes get tied quickly or a teen wakes up on time), but in a sense it’s like parents are telling their kids, “You can’t do this without me.”

The attempt to prevent our kids from struggling for fear it might scar their permanent records is, instead, scarring them for life. - Heather Choate Davis

The Consequences

Parents may have good intentions and only mean the best, but studies show that helicopter parenting is harming children’s emotional well-being.
When mom and dad are always there to swoop in to make everything better, a child never learns to cope with stress. As the child grows up and goes into the real world, he or she is unprepared to deal with the demands of life. College deadlines, being on time to work, or paying bills become too much to handle. So they fail at them all.

Kids raised with helicopter parents also lack the ability to manage their emotions and behavior. Managing emotions is a learned skill, not something you’re taught. Without having learned how to calm themselves without mom nearby, kids may act out, struggle in school, or have a hard time making and keeping friends.

Coddled children often don’t grow up to become self-reliant adults. Rather, they struggle with depression, anxiety, and a lack of satisfaction in life. Any obstacle or challenge that comes their way is met with fear and a lack of confidence rather than facing the problem head-on, ready to conquer it. When setbacks occur, coddled children and adults feel like failures, because they were never given opportunity to fail, evaluate, and correct. All because parents were constantly hovering and judging and fixing problems.

The Solution

It took years to convince your children to expect you to solve their problems. So don’t expect the solution to be a quick fix. And don’t expect the solution to be solely your children’s responsibility. Rather, the bulk of the task is up to you. Your main task? Back off.

It sounds harsh, but doing this enables your children to flourish. How can you stop hovering overhead at all times? Stay involved in your children’s life, just stand around the corner where they can’t see you. If your children are in school, talk with teachers and administrators to find out how they perform in school.

Once you see how competent they are, expect them to show the same independence at home. And when your kids start yelling for your help, evaluate the situation. If it’s something they can handle, tell them to do it for themselves. They may get frustrated initially, but once they realize how capable they are, they’ll thank you.