Does Helicopter Parenting Hurt Your Child’s Future?
There are many types of parenting styles, from tiger parenting to attachment parenting to free-range parenting. One parenting style you may have heard a lot about is helicopter parenting. But do you know what a helicopter parent is? If you don't, then you're not alone, but it is something that you should consider learning more about, especially if you think you may have some helicoptering tendencies.
Knowing your parenting style is the key to finding out the healthy (and not so healthy) aspects of that style. It can be helpful to know how your choices might affect your children, now and in the future. Once you have identified your parenting style, you can make the best adjustments for you and your child.
What Is Helicopter Parenting?
So, exactly what is helicopter parenting? Helicopter parents tend to pay extremely close attention to their children. They may become hyper involved in everything that happens to their child, whether in their personal life or any other aspect of their life as they get older. These parents always know what their child is going through and any problems they may have. This is especially true while the child is in school. In general, helicopter parenting involves hovering—hence the name—and being overly involved (as compared to other parents).
Helicopter parenting is often considered smothering the child because it involves always helping and watching the child, even when the child does not need it. These parents may not be critical of their child and may, in fact, be extremely loving and supportive. However, they also tend to jump in when they are not needed. They may do this in all areas of the child's life, leading to some negative side effects for the child.
Helicopter parents tend to have a problem letting their children fail. They don't like the idea of their child experiencing something negative that they don't need to, and they hate the idea of letting their child do less than the absolute best. It's important, however, to let children experience things themselves and learn from and learn to push through their failures. Children who don't go through these things themselves will have a hard time doing so in the future, which means trouble for them when they get to college or even the workforce.
The Good On Helicopter Parenting
In general, helicopter parents believe that by micromanaging their child's lives, they will give their children an edge on their future. They believe that they can help their child get ahead and be more successful. They feel like they are helping their children in every way possible by using their knowledge and experience. In general, these parents feel like their children can benefit from everything they have been through without experiencing it themselves. In theory, this seems like a great idea and a good way to help the child advance. Helicopter parenting rarely comes without consequences, however.
The Bad On Helicopter Parenting
Much research has been done on this type of parenting, and it has been found that there are several negatives tied to it. For example, children raised by helicopter parents may experience a higher anxiety level, especially if they have tendencies toward anxiety already. This is because the child is never allowed to complete their activities, solve problems, or learn decision-making skills independently. Because the parent always inserts themselves into the child's life and makes decisions or points for them, this increases their anxiety level and their belief that they can't make those decisions for themselves.
Children raised by helicopter parents are more likely to experience depression as well. The research suggests that these children are not often allowed to make their own choices or their own mistakes. Because their parents try to keep them from making mistakes, it keeps them from learning what to do when they inevitably make mistakes, which increases anxiety levels. As a result, mistakes, failure, and anxiety can all build up to a point where they lead to depression. This condition can follow them into young adulthood and beyond.
Adding to the problems, these children may have more academic problems than their peers. Even though the helicopter parent is constantly watching the child and trying to solve their problems, this isn't always possible, and the child may have trouble in other areas. Tests and exams can prove difficult because there is no one out there to help them during the experience. As they continue in school and start in college or areas where the helicopter parent cannot help, this can lead to even more difficulty with classwork and other responsibilities.
If you don't know whether you're a helicopter parent or not, take a look at the qualities we've discussed. If you suspect you're a helicopter parent, then you'll be able to decide what to do for the future. Helicopter parenting can lead to difficulties, but you have time to shift the way that you parent and decide how to help your child in an entirely new way. You want to help them, after all, so this can be a great time to learn a different way to do so.
Getting Help For Yourself
If you are a helicopter parent or a helicopter parent raised you, it's important to look for new methods of behaving. If a helicopter parent raised you, then the chances you will become one yourself are high. Because you often become what you have seen modeled, it's possible that you'll start to exhibit a number of these traits, and that isn't going to help your child with their future. If you already see some of the signs, you'll also want to look for ways to change your current parenting behavior.
Talking to a professional can help you adjust your parenting practices and determine what you can do to improve how you work with your child. Letting a professional support you in determining your strengths and weaknesses as a parent can be a great first step that may, in turn, help your child and your future (as well as theirs). By working with that therapist, you may give yourself a much-needed boost, and find yourself on the way to better parenting.
Getting Help For Your Child
If you have already started helicopter parenting your child, you may want to help your child overcome any side effects. Putting them in some form of counseling can help them learn more about the skills they haven't learned. That means they'll be able to learn about solving problems on their own or completing work on their own, or even dealing with failure or mistakes. These things are crucial to their overall well-being and their ability to survive and thrive in the future. Getting them into therapy as soon as possible will help them to develop these skills more quickly.
If you’ve been a helicopter parent, it might be scary to think about providing therapy for your child. It’s important to note that doing so does not suggest any inadequacies on the parents’ part—in fact, giving your child the tools to succeed is exactly what the best parents do.
Your child may have difficulty getting through life on their own if you have been a helicopter parent and suddenly stop being there for them in the same way that they are used to. This may be counteracted through treatment. A professional can help them with the process of learning and improving skills they may be missing.
If your child is between the ages of 13-19 years old, then you may want to consider TeenCounseling.com, a platform dedicated to helping children thrive.
A licensed therapist specializing in children’s mental health is equipped to answer any questions or concerns you may have about how your parenting style is affecting your child.
When you're looking for a therapist to adjust your parenting style, it's important to look at all your options. Working with someone in your area can be great because you can easily meet with them, but what happens when you go on vacation, you have to go on a business trip, or there's bad weather in your area? You have to cancel your appointment, right? With ReGain, you don't have to worry about that because ReGain takes place entirely online. No matter where you are or what's going on in the area, you'll still be able to make your appointment because all you have to so is turn on your computer to meet with a counselor.
Online therapy offers more freedom to find a therapist that you're comfortable with—as where they're based isn’t a factor. You're also not going to have to worry about visiting a therapist's office and feeling judged. You're not going to have to worry about the receptionist or the other patients seeing you there and wondering what you're doing there. Instead, you turn on your computer (or any other device that connects to the internet) and sign in for your session, just like that.
We all want what's best for our kids. Contemplating your parenting style and making adjustments, if necessary, is absolutely part of doing what's best for your child.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Why is helicopter parenting bad?
There are several reasons why it’s believed that the helicopter parenting style can cause problems, including a strain on the parent-child relationship. While many parents believe that being a helicopter parent means simply that they are an involved parent, it's more than just that.
Helicopter parents tend to hover over their children. They are always there, involved in what their child is trying to do. Here are some of the negative effects of helicopter parenting:
- Children don’t learn to do things for themselves. One of the goals of parenting is to help raise children that will be successful adults. However, when parents hover over their children, the children can begin to rely on the parents to do everything for them.
- Children can have low self-esteem. One of the effects of helicopter parenting styles is that children can struggle to develop healthy self-confidence and self-esteem. Parents hover over their children and tend to correct everything that their child does. This can make a child feel like they can’t do anything right.
- Children can experience anxiety. The helicopter parenting style described above can lead children to deal with high anxiety levels. They may experience anxiety if their parent is not there to help them with a task or, if the parent is present, experience anxiety that they will do something wrong and be corrected.
- Children don’t learn to overcome failure. When parents are always there to correct their children's actions, they may not experience failures or learn how to cope with them. This means they may struggle to learn that failure is OK and that they can recover from it.
What are the signs of a helicopter parent?
Some of the common signs of the helicopter parenting style can include:
- You do their homework for them.
- If they play a sport, you are constantly trying to correct or help the coach.
- You hover around your child constantly (you stay at birthday parties when the other parents leave, you chaperone every field trip, you text them constantly).
- You clean their room for them and pick up after their mess.
- You don’t allow them to do anything where they could get hurt, like climbing trees or riding a skateboard.
- They’re not allowed to make mistakes.
Many of these signs also apply to the lawnmower parenting style. This is when parents refuse to let their child experience any obstacles, so they mow over every obstacle for them.
Free-range parenting, on the other hand, is another one of the styles of parenting. However, with free-range parenting, parents allow their child to experience their own natural consequences. Some parents might be tempted to go this route to avoid helicopter parenting, but this style can also have negative consequences. Some parents who go this route may seem like uninvolved parents as they may let their child do things they might not be ready for. The most effective parenting style is authoritative parenting, which combines high warmth with high responsiveness.
How does helicopter parenting affect a child?
Every type of parenting style impacts the child in one way or another. If you’re looking for a positive parenting approach, it may be tempting to think that helicopter parenting is the way to go because it means you are a really involved parent. However, this style of parenting can have a negative effect on the parent-child relationship, both in the present and the future. You can see in the article above some of the ways that helicopter parenting impacts the child.
What generation are helicopter parents?
Dr. Haim Ginott first used the term "helicopter parent" in his book, Parents & Teenagers. The book was originally published back in 1969. Dr. Ginott wrote other books out as well, including the book, Between Parent and Child. His books are geared towards creating a successful and positive parenting experience for both the parent and child.
However, while the term first showed up at that time, it wasn’t until the 90’s that it became really well-known. The millennial generation is largely believed to have been raised by helicopter-style parents. However, just because the name was around and popular at that time doesn’t mean it didn’t start until then. There have always been parents in each of the different realms of the parenting spectrum.
What do helicopter parents do?
Helicopter parents hover over their children, watching their every move. They don’t want their child to struggle or fail. They take responsibility for both the success and the failure of their child. Therefore, they take on tasks that their child should be doing on their own or fix things their child has tried to do.
What is bulldozer parenting?
Bulldozer parenting is another term for lawnmower parenting and is similar to helicopter parenting. Bulldozer parents are going to remove any obstacle in their child’s path to success. They don’t want their child to experience any setbacks or difficulties, so they remove them for the child instead of allowing the child to learn how to handle these on their own.
Bulldozer parents tend to be the ones that are constantly at the school trying to get teachers to change a grade or the principal to excuse a tardy, so it won’t show on their child’s record. This is just one example of something that a bulldozer parent might do.
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