Does Helicopter Parenting Hurt Your Child’s Future?
Updated March 21, 2021
Medically Reviewed By: Karen Devlin, LPC
Are you a helicopter guardian? Do you even really know what a helicopter guardian is? If you don't, then you're not alone, but it's something that you definitely should find out more about. Knowing your parenting style is the key to finding out some healthy (and not so healthy) aspects of that style. You want to know what you're doing to help your child and what you might be doing that hurts them, which is why knowing how each type of parenting can affect their future is crucial.
What is helicopter parenting? Helicopter parents tend to pay extremely close attention to their children. They tend to be extremely 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.
Helicopter parenting is considered smothering the child because it involves helping and watching the child at all times, even when the child does not need it. These parents may not be critical 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 several different 'side effects that we'll get to in just a minute. In general, helicopter parenting involves hovering and being overly involved (as compared to other parents).
These types of 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. In reality, it's important to let those children experience things themselves and go 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 to help. 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.
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 who helicopter parents raise 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 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.
These types of children are more likely to experience depression as well. The research suggests that children with helicopter parentals are not often allowed to make their own choices and their own mistakes. Because their parents try to keep them from making mistakes, it keeps them from learning what to do when they 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 can continue to cause increased trouble in their overall life.
Adding to the problems, these children can have more academic problems than their peers. Even though the helicopter guardian 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. This can lead to increased problems. As they continue in school and start in college or areas where the helicopter guardian cannot help, this can lead to even more homework and other assignments.
Unfortunately, children who have helicopter parents are prone to some negative behaviors, and that's why it's so important to look at what you are doing with your child. If you don't know whether you're a helicopter parent, take a look at the qualities we've discussed. Then you'll be able to decide what to do for the future. Helicopter parenting leads to difficulties, but you're going to have some 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 do your best.
Getting Help For Yourself
If you are a helicopter parent or a helicopter parent raised you, it's important to look for new teaching methods. If a helicopter parent raised you, then the chances you will become yourself are likely high. Because you often become what you have seen modeled, it's likely 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 change your parent and determine what you can do to improve how you work with your child. Letting a professional work with you to determine your strengths and weaknesses and build on those will be a great first step. It's going to help your child and your future (as well as theirs). By working with that therapist, you'll have an edge for yourself, and you'll be on your way to parenting even better.
Getting Help For Your Child
If you have already started helicopter parenting your child, you may want to help your child. Putting them in some form of counseling will 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 quickly 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 will have difficulty getting through their life on their own if you have been a helicopter parent, and that will be even more difficult if you suddenly stop being there for them in the same way that they are used to or if you are unable to. That means getting them treatment is crucial to understand what they need to know that they may not have learned or may not quite understand. A professional is going to help them with the process of learning and improving these skills.
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.
It may also be helpful for you to speak with a mental health professional yourself so that you can learn how to be a present, helpful parent without helicoptering. A licensed therapist specializing in children’s mental health is equipped to answer any questions or concerns you may have.
The ReGain Difference
When you're looking for your therapist, it's important to look at all of 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, or you have to make a business trip, or even if 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 you have to turn on your computer.
With this process, you're also going to have a whole lot more freedom to find a therapist that you're comfortable with. You won't have to worry about finding someone nearby because you can feel comfortable with whoever you have. You're also not going to have to worry about visiting that 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.
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