A helicopter parent is someone who hovers over their children and often performs tasks for the children that they are capable of doing by themselves, such as homework, picking out clothes, washing their clothes and cleaning their rooms. Helicopter parenting often surfaces during the late childhood and adolescent years, but even during the toddler years helicopter parenting takes place.
Why helicopter parenting exists
One reason helicopter parents do what they do is because of anxiety. They feel that if they do not monitor most aspects of their kids' lives on a regular basis, something bad will happen to them. Others are helicopter parents because they grew up without much attention and now they want to compensate for this by coddling their children. Guilt over bad parenting is another cause.
What the consequences of helicopter parenting are
Kids of helicopter parents can suffer from low self-worth and lack of confidence. They are afraid to try new experiences because they feel their parents don't trust them to do the right thing. When helicopter parenting goes too far, the kids do not learn independence or important life skills. In some cases, these kids develop an entitlement mentality.
What about the benefits of helicopter parenting?
Perhaps you are a helicopter parent but you don't see it as a bad thing. There are benefits of helicopter parenting. You get to witness up close the growth of your children during their lives and you're less likely to miss their major milestones. This style of parenting promotes a strong bond between parent and child, and you provide endless comfort to your kids.
Ways to curb your helicopter parenting
Gradually teach your children the skills needed to do things independently but still offer a helping hand when it is needed. Also realize that you cannot monitor your children all through the day, and that they will figure out problems eventually. Let your children make mistakes and suffer the consequences of wrong actions. Let them make certain decisions and don't interfere unless they are struggling too much.
Don't neglect your own needs
Too often helicopter parents neglect their own needs so that the children will have their needs met. However, this is not healthy and it could lead to parental burnout. Make sure you take time out for yourself when needed and let another relative watch the kids sometimes. Use your alone time to get a pedicure, hang out with your friends, go on a date night, or volunteer at a local event.
Independence is a part of growing up
Your children will not live with you forever, and because of this you should teach independence to your children as much as possible. The purpose of parenting is to raise mature and responsible adults. When you hover over your kids, their emotional growth is affected in a negative way.
While helicopter parenting is good for promoting stronger parent-child relationships, it could do more harm than help in the long run.