What is Helicopter Parenting | Consequences & ways to stop Helicopter Parenting - India Parenting Tips - To deal with common parenting issues

Sunday, July 8, 2018

What is Helicopter Parenting | Consequences & ways to stop Helicopter Parenting

Have you ever seen a helicopter hovering in the sky? I am sure you did. But have you ever heard about the term helicopter parenting? Well, actually I never did until I saw the word in a dictionary and found it very interesting to share with everyone.

The term helicopter parenting was used way back in 1969 by Dr. Haim Ginott in his book called Parents and Teenagers where he enlightened us with the views of teens who felt their parents helicoptering over them. The word gained lots of popularity over the years until it found its presence in the dictionary in 2011.

Today helicopter parenting is no more limited to teenagers and adolescent. Even in kindergartens’ and junior schools, you may find their parents constantly helicoptering them doing more harm than helping them to grow, explore and enjoy through their learning experiences. You need to fall before you learn to stand. You need to fail to know the taste of victory. Unfortunately we parents today fail to understand this.

What is Helicopter Parenting?

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What is Helicopter Parenting | Consequences & ways to stop Helicopter Parenting

In plain and simple terms the term helicopter parenting means overprotecting, over controlling and overshadowing one's child to the extent that leaves no space for the young minds to explore and experience things in their own way and learn from them.

Too much of something is always very bad. Too much of sugar makes it too sweet to eat. Too much of discipline makes things too difficult to follow. Too much of help makes one helpless. Too much of control makes one hopeless and aimless. We all know about all these things. However, we often fail to draw the line where to stop when it comes to parenting. Parenting does not mean overshadowing and over controlling your children. You need to be the wind beneath the wings of your children enabling them to fly and explore the world as much as they want, helping them to fulfill their dreams and ambitions. It is not necessary that your dream and your child’s aspiration would always be the same. Your children do not belong to you. Remember that. They are God’s gift to you and you are their guardian, protector, and guide, not their master.

Who is a helicopter parent?

The term helicopter parents can be attributed to any individual be it a parent of high school or kindergarten who takes the tasks and responsibility of their children in their own hand and believes that in doing so there are safeguarding and protecting their children preventing them from any dire consequences if any.

There is a thin line between care and over care; protection and overprotection; discipline and control. One has to know where to draw the line. Your child has an individual mind. Understand that and respect that. Once you know this you would know that he or she has every right to experience and explore things in his or her own way. He or she may not see the world the way you do. That is perfectly fine and that is what it is supposed to be.

Here is a list of few questions that you can check out to see if your concern for your ward is more controlling and overprotecting than helping him or her to learn and grow. If the answers to these simple questions are yes and more often then there is a red flag alert that you perhaps are helicoptering your child.
  1. Do you call or visit school teacher and professor about your child’s development often?
  2. Do you like to arrange your child’s books and class schedules?
  3. Do you sit and try to help your children to play with toys and other playing materials trying to teach him how to play?
  4. Do you try to monitor his friends and try to control whom should he or she be friends with?
  5. Do you give him or her a book and then tell him what is it about and why he should read the book?
  6. Do you try to assist him in doing a school project and homework without even being asked for support and help?
  7. Do you try to catch up his friend’s parents to discuss what your child does in class?
  8. How often do you accept his or her point of view when they differ?

Why do parents helicopter?

There are many reasons why parents hover around their child. 
Here are some common reasons:
  1. Fear: Parents often fear that if they do not help and protect their child, they might face dire consequences like failing in grades, getting poor grades, missing the classes, failing to complete tasks and assignments, not able to reach the targets and milestones etc.
  2. Anxiety and Stress: Sometimes stress and anxiety trigger our behavior of overprotecting our children. Economic depression, recession in the job market, growing competition, stress in getting admission to colleges and universities or even getting admission to high school, kindergarten are some key factors that force the parents today to hover around their children ensuring that they reach the milestones at different stages of development and growth.
  3. Peer pressure: Social media has their own positive and negative side effects. More often parents of same grades and same aptitudes gel together in various social networking like WhatsApp groups and Facebook where they share similar visions, thoughts and their child’s growth and developments. In many times parents who are overly involved with their child’s activities triggers a kind of similar responses in other parents. They feel that they too need to get involved in their child’s work and world altogether.
  4. Overcompensation: Nowadays we live a life where both the parents are working. If not, stay at home moms hands are always full as they are always doing multitasking juggling through their multiple assignments and they work 24 x 7. Hence we find very little time for our wards. In order to compensate that we try to overprotect our child whenever possible to make up the missed hours.
Another case might also be when we ourselves have experienced the feeling of being left alone or neglected in our lives and try to compensate that in our child’s life. In doing that we do more harm than good as we leave him no room to explore and experience things alone.

What are the consequences of Helicopter parenting?

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What is Helicopter Parenting | Consequences & ways to stop Helicopter Parenting

, the intention behind hovering and constant monitoring is always pure and simple. Love and compassion. But in showering our love and affection towards our child we sometimes cross the line and become overprotective and over controlling. 

This results in some serious consequences which are as follows:
  1. Lack of self-confidence and self-esteem
  2. Victim of Bullying
  3. Stress and Anxiety
  4. Lack of Life skills
  5. Lack of Creativity
  6. Lack of Independent thoughts and action

How to stop helicopter parenting?

  1. Realize: First and foremost we need to realize that our children are a separate entity with an independent mind to think and learn through their experience. Our own experience makes us knowledgeable. In Montessori education, we are taught to instill in the child to explore and experience the environment and surrounding we live in. That’s the first step of knowledge. The freedom to explore things around in their own way. This is the first step.
  2. Understand: Every child is unique and has a special mind to think. You need to understand that and nurture that in your child. If he thinks differently than yours, accept it and be happy about that. He or she has an independent mind to think and heart to feel.
  3. Get some fresh air and let live: More often we parents who are busy in their own life feel that whatever time we get for our children we should use them to teach them and shadow them to prevent them to fail. Have you ever wondered that if they don’t fail how can they know the taste of success? If they don’t know what is like to fall how they can know to stand up again and rise up after every fall. As parents, I would like to advise all hovering parents to allow some fresh air to your child’s life. Do not stress them out by suffocating them with your over protection and attention. That’s not needed.
  4. Go get a life and enjoy experiencing your child’s growth: Take a back step and watch him or her. See how he or she excels and experiences things in his own way. You are doing more than enough for your child. If your child needs any help he or she would reach out for you. Just make sure you are there then. Give the children their own space, liberty, and freedom to learn and grow. 
Some simple examples that  I could suggest with regards to parenting without hovering would be as follows: Take your child to an amusement park or game station and let him play independently. Give him a book to read and explore without telling him or her why you want it to be read. The better option would buy a book of his or her choice. Give him a puzzle and let him or her solve independently. Play with him and let him use his own stroke and mind to play.

We all want our kids to be brilliant, intellectuals, self-confident, skillful, unique, and creative and so on. If you do not allow space for your child to breath in some fresh air and live independently how can you expect them to fulfill all your dreams? We need to understand when and where to draw the line. Example making a bed and packing the books as per the timetable for a kindergarten kid is not hovering. However, doing the same for our pre-teen and teen kids is definitely hovering. We need to wait and watch and look for opportunities where our help is needed and then step in. Otherwise, as parents, we should always take one step back and watch our kids learn and grow in their own way. It might be sometimes falling, then rising up after a fall, again trying, again falling, again lifting himself or herself up to try and try and learn. There lies the true success.

What is your opinion on helicopter parenting? I am eager to know. 
Let me know your thoughts as feedback.

Happy Parenting!

1 comment:

  1. I grew up with a Strict Dad, he was strict but did not control my every move, I played in the sand, soiled my clothes, but that only polished the creative part of me. Today I am an Architect. thankful to God for my parents who were not afraid to let me fail. He was strict in the sense that I corrections and scolding often but he was still flexible enough to let me play outside. Parents must learn like David (In the Bible) how to use the Rod and Staff (to correct and direct respectively). learn to be Strict and yet free. That is the mystery of Good Parenting. don't Always be "Free" and don't always be "Strict". Thank you. Crispus


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