Parenting

Why I’m not a fan of helicopter parents

Dear helicopter parent,

Please can you get a chill pill. Some of us non-helicopter parents find your ways really unnecessary and annoying.

We’re not saying we love our kids less than you, but we are actually trying to teach our kids responsibilities, being independent and your constant “hovering” over your kid is causing a disruption in our kids lives.

Regards,

Every other parent

What is a helicopter parent you’re wondering: According to Dr. Haim Ginott’s 1969 book Parents & Teenagers, according to teens, the term “helicopter parent” are parents who would hover over them like a helicopter. It’s “a style of parents who are over focused on their children.” In a simple nutshell, it’s the parent who attends the events but can’t stand on parental side of the line but rather hovers over their child, despite numerous school announcements to leave the kids alone, almost suffocating the child. We get it, you are a concerned parent. We all are.

Helicopter parents are also very apparent and strange species – and I’ve witnessed it being more apparent when the two parents are divorced. There is always that ONE parent, often one that was absent for a while, suddenly appears to want to be seen, known, heard, make all the decisions, wants to be known as “the perfect parent”, even willing to overstep boundaries to prove who is in charge. Again, stop it.

These are the four common reasons why parents hover:

Consequences – Child not making the team resulting in low self-esteem and the parent feels it’s their fault.

Anxiety – Parents want complete control over their child’s life and they have the belief they can keep their child from ever being hurt or disappointed.

Overcompensation – adults who felt unloved, neglected, or ignored as children can overcompensate with their own children.

Pressure and keen to be noticed – When parents see other involved parents, especially when parents remarry being visible in the child’s life, they feel like they want to be the only one in charge thus causing more irritation and animosity to everyone.

However, you are actually causing more harm to your child than good. Let me give it to you like this. I was raised by a working mom. While some say “shame, you never had your mom at your events” I think it did me good. I realised very quickly to stand on my own feet. I was and still am able to make decisions and deal with the consequences of my actions. And while I am very actively involved in my daughter’s life, I choose not to be a helicopter parent. Once she enters school, she has to walk to her class alone. When she gets to events – she needs face it alone – I’m there watching afar, but she needs to be brave and deal with her situation.

While you may feel that “hovering” is great – it’s really not. There are numerous articles and research validating the harm you are doing to your kids. But to really know what harm you are causing:

You’re disempowering your child: Children of helicopter parents struggle with problem-solving, low self-esteem and fear of failure – which leads to higher levels of depression and anxiety. You “hovering” shows them that you don’t even believe in them. All this means that your child won’t find work when they reach adulthood because they weren’t able as kids to do simple things like solve problems etc.

Disempowerment = no coping skills:  Helicopter parenting means children are more dependent and this allows them the inability to cope. You are setting your child up for failure.

You’re doing it for – no one else: Intrusive “helicopter” behavior is driven by parental anxiety, rather than good intentions, as so many parents claim. If you’re following your child into adulthood, it likely has more to do with your own fears, rather than your child’s ability to manage his or her life. You’re worried about how people will judge you or your child if they go down the “wrong” path or make “mistakes.”

You’re not going to live forever:  And then what? They will still be living. They will spiral out of control. The messages your kids get from you now, even in adulthood, are the ones they’ll repeat long after you’re gone.

Your kid will make less money: all of the above means they wont be able to support themselves into adulthood.

So in a nutshell:

Stop hovering and let your child make their own decisions, learn from the outcome, and start building the confidence they will need to succeed emotionally, professionally and financially.

Think about that.

xoxo

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