Every parent wants the best for their child and is the guardian of the child in everything they do. It is advised to the parents to regularly watch out for their children's activities and guide them accordingly. But some parents take over complete control of their child's lives in a dominant manner. And this engagement in their child's life becomes so extreme that they are referred to as helicopter parents.
What is meant by Helicopter Parenting?
Helicopter parenting is a metaphorical term to illustrate the involvement of parents in their children's lives like a helicopter. It refers to the hyper-involvement of some parents in their children's lives. In simple terms, it means parents are continuously after their children in everything they do.
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What makes some parents so possessive and dominant?
The possible causes behind parents being extremely involved in their children's lives are:
- Parents suffering from anxiety issues: When the parents are themselves in a continuous state of anxiety and panic over everything they do, they tend to get anxious about their children's lives as well. Every activity of their child bothers and worries them.
- Fear of future mishaps: Related to being anxious about everything, such parents are in continuous fear of all the negativity that could happen to their children. They tend to deprive children of their present happiness and freedom thinking of some uncertain misfortune they could face in their future.
- Past experiences and upbringing of the parents: The cause with the most impact on parenting are the past experiences and upbringing of the parents themselves. People who had overly dominant or ignorant parents tend to become one. And their unpleasant childhood experiences make them more worried and inclined toward their children's lives.
How to know if you are a helicopter parent?
Here are some signs to look out for:
- You make all the decisions in your child’s life. Your children barely take any of their lives decisions without your involvement. Their potential and right to be self-sufficient are withheld.
- You hover over your children in everything they do. The frequent nudge in everything they do might seem motivational to you but sometimes this tends to bother the children and infuriate them.
- You are over-possessive and protective in unnecessary situations. The overprotective nature of the parents sometimes tends to give rise to a vulnerable trait in the children and deprive them of the liberty to have diverse life experiences.
- You lack proper communication with the children. There may be a lack of communication between the parents and the children. Parents may have a conversation with the children but they won't really 'talk' to them.
So, is helicopter parenting beneficial for the children?
The simple answer is no! Parents are already involved in their children's lives and are obligated to guide them through it. But the undue involvement and domination of helicopter parents may do more bad than good for the children.
Here's how children are affected by helicopter parenting:
- The children become dependent on their parents for even the simplest of tasks. And there always comes a time when the children have to live on their own. It stresses them to cope with their lives after living under constant guidance the whole time.
- Their problem-solving skills, decision-making skills, socializing skills, etc. remain underdeveloped as the domains that would have enhanced these skills were dominated by the parents.
- The children create a space of their own where there is no parental involvement. They limit their feelings and problems to themselves. While the parents are hyper-involved in the simplest situations, the children don't even approach them for things concerning them the most because of the lack of communication.
- The children lose their self-confidence, self-esteem and end up doubting themselves and their abilities. They become socially anxious, introverted, and less expressive.
- Living two lives- one with the parent's involvement and one without them disintegrates their bond with their parents. Children tend to lie to their parents and ultimately this results in frequent arguments and fights between them.
So, as a parent, if you have the above-mentioned traits, this article may be a sign for you to stop being a helicopter parent. Let the children live their lives and have different experiences. That's what life is all about. Although the intentions of helicopter parents are not bad, the consequences it has on the children's lives are.
Also read: Different parenting styles and their consequences
This article has been reviewed by our panel. The points, views and suggestions put forth in this article have been expressed keeping the best interests of fellow parents in mind. We hope you found the article beneficial.