What is Helicopter Parenting?
Helicopter Parenting literally means “hovering” over your child all the time like a helicopter. This is a very overprotective and excessively involved style of parenting.
What are the signs of it?
- Micromanaging your child’s task : You tend to work out all the fine details of your child’s schedules, decisions and social interactions so that your child excels in it and doesn’t falter in any way such as schoolwork, extracurricular activities, friendships and even personal relationships.
- Taking decisions for your child: You tend to take decisions on behalf of your child even in areas where the child can make fair choices independently. They may be excessively intrusive in their academic decisions, friend choices, career choices and other life decisions.
- Overprotectiveness : You tend to be so overprotective for your child and do things for them to protect them from any failures, discomfort or disappointment.
- Constant monitoring: You have a strong need to know every detail of their lives. You may even outsource people who go and come with them, use of electronic gadgets to know their whereabouts, and monitoring their online presence.
- Conflict resolution: You even tend to resolve their conflicts for them instead of giving them a chance to think and resolve it on their own.
Causes of Helicopter Parenting
- Parental Anxiety: Individuals with this style of parenting often have very high anxiety levels of how possibly things could go wrong with their child even in a safe environment. And this drives the parent to monitor excessively.
- Overcompensation: Many times, this parent doesn’t what his/her child to “miss out” on what they didn’t get to experience in their childhood. This may lead to the parent always pouring excessively for the child.
- Peer pressure: This is the era of mom vloggers and parent influencers where their profiles portray how dedicatedly they are involved with their child. The social media portrays the parents and their children engaged in different activities together. This may lead to the feeling of “parental guilt” of not doing enough for their child and then later on causing overindulgence.
- High Parental Expectations: Some parents may have very high expectations from their child irrespective of their child’s interests or potential and may expect them to excel in academics, sports and other extracurricular. Hence, they try to leave no stone unturned to ensure their success to match their own expectations.
Effects of Helicopter Parenting
Helicopter Parenting can cause a very low self esteem and self worth in your child since the child doesn’t get to experience any sense of achievement for you have managed everything for him. It poses a very high risk of your child developing anxiety or clinical depression later on in life even with a small failure, because you have never let the child experience failure or rejection and the child has always been very successful because of you micromanaging for them. It can even cause strained parent child relationship when the child starts disliking the excessive control the parent has on his life.
Unlearning Helicopter Parenting
- Allow your child to make mistakes. Only if he makes them and knows where and how he can go wrong, will he be careful the next time.
- Give your child the space to be independent. Always be there for him emotionally but let him be independent in his daily chores and interactions. This will foster the ability to develop conflict resolution and improve his self worth as well.
- Explain to your child the consequences of the choices available and let him decide which path to tread on.
- Equip your child with problem solving tools by fostering healthy communication.
Undoubtedly, Helicopter Parenting sprouts out of immense love for their child and the urge to protect them from failures or dangers but overindulgence without giving them space has far damaging effects later on in life.
By Dr Isha Soni, Head of Lexicon Rainbow Therapy and Child Development Center.