What Is Helicopter Parenting And How To Avoid Being A Helicopter Parent
Inside: What is helicopter parenting? How to identify if I am doing that and what are the ways to avoid being one. How to develop a healthy parenting style without interfering in every concern of the child and more.
As quirky as it sounds, this concept is real and unfortunately many parents fall into this category without even being aware of it.
What Is Helicopter Parenting?
Simply put, this is being overprotective about our children to an extent and not letting their children live their life and face their problems.
Let’s keep aside the paternal and maternal instincts of safeguarding our children for some time. If we think about whether we constantly make their decisions and go beyond our way to support them and keep them safe and happy, that’s what helicopter parenting is.
These kinds of parents don’t want to give any sort of burden to their children and take care of their concerns before it affects them. This not just stops them from being independent but also fails to prepare them for the world they are going to live in.
This term ‘helicopter’ literally points out how parents hover around their child always to keep them away from danger.
My Wakeup Call
Just like fellow moms and moms I have seen while growing up, I was slightly overprotective about my children, especially my elder son.
I used to be bothered a lot whether he would fall down while walking or get hurt while playing with something.
This made me carefully scrutinize every object he chooses to play. And I never let him climb over furniture or even stairs. I made it clear that he can do them only when I am there.
Only when I started observing how he was actually able to do them, I understood who needs to change.
If he is capable of doing something or learning to do it, me stopping that out of fear sounded dangerous.
And that was my wakeup call!
Some Warning Signs To Identify Whether You Are A Helicopter Parent
Not Letting Them Sort Out Their Issues On Their Own
It can be an issue with their friend or their sibling. But few parents meddle in to fix it for them so that justice is served to the right one.
This might look perfectly normal as adults know how to handle situations better and avoid chaos.
But as parents, they fail to consider their child’s emotions here. They are not heard and not given the opportunity to sort things out on their own.
This hinders the development of their emotional intelligence and affects them mentally too.
Keeping Them Away From Age-Appropriate Activities/Games
We all want our kids to be safe and not get hurt. But does that mean we can never let them try their favorite games, activities or sports?
A big No!!!
Most of the time, such fears about the child falling down or getting hurt could be irrational if we analyze it better. By saying no to them, we are curbing their physical development and creating fear in their head that everything is unsafe.
Doing Their Work Even Though They Can Do It On Their Own
Feel free to add your mother-in-law to this list. From finishing their homework and projects to cleaning their rooms, making their bed, some parents never really realize that their child should learn them.
These parents thrive to make their children look like perfectionists. And in this run, they forget giving them a chance to turn into one.
If they can learn to do it but see that we are doing it for them, it just turns them into lazy and dependent.
Following Them Everywhere… Literally!
We all have done it at some point, right? Yes. When they were infants or toddlers. But helicopter parents don’t stop at this stage and prefer to do this forever.
Be it their child’s friend’s birthday party or an evening play session at the park, they will literally follow them and be there with them.
Even when their kid is off at their granny’s place, they will call like 20 times to know what they are up to.
Children get used to this comfort as parents are always around. It can be too hard for them to enjoy their moments without the presence of their parents.
Sharing Creepy Relationship With Their Teachers/Day Care Workers
Searching for the best school with the best amenities and staff is something almost every parent does. But going beyond that, helicopter parents constantly remain in touch with their teachers and get constant updates.
They will want to know why their kid is not given full marks and will demand extra attention for their kid.
They get mad at teachers if they have tried something new like playing in grass without their shoes or making sand castles.
Teachers can very well identify such parents and feel tied without being able to do their work.
Freaking Out For Small Injuries
As a part of their growth, they will fall often down and learn better to balance. And this falling and learning continues throughout. But if we worry too much about falling and prevent it, will they ever learn?
That’s what helicopter parents do. They are too afraid that their child will get hurt. This makes them do things like not to remove the training wheels of their cycle. Or not letting them climb over furniture even though they are old enough to handle it.
Remember the F.R.I.E.N.D.S episode where Rachel wouldn’t let her toddler sit in swing because of her past bad experience?!
How Not To Be A Helicopter Parent
By now, you would have understood if you are a helicopter parent or not. Truth be told, we all behave like this at some instances of our parenting journey.
As much as we want good things for our child, we should also focus on what’s needed for them.
Be Careful And Not Restrictive.
Yes. It’s not like we can let them walk in the middle of the road or play with fire. We know the limits, and we know what can cause harm.
As long as they know what to do and indulge in their age appropriate activities, nothing would be needed other than monitoring then and there.
If they want to do something that’s unsafe, explain why it is. And if they can do it later at some point, tell them that.
Help Them Express Themselves And Find Solutions For Their Problems
When they are not happy about losing in a game or didn’t like what their best friend did, stay there and listen. When they know that they can open up and feel free, they will share their problems easily.
Show them where they stand and help them to see it from a different perspective. Now they will have an answer on how to solve this.
Also, they would have moved an inch towards being matured and empathetic.
Teach Them How To Take Care Of Themselves
In today’s era, it’s extremely important to learn how to be self-sufficient. Be it men or women, we all need to face our life alone somewhere in the future.
Parents cannot always be there for their children making them food and cleaning their bed. As they grow, teach them everything that helps them be independent.
From polishing their shoes to serving their own food, let them learn everything.
This can be a great help to you too! This could be the greatest favor you do to your kids.
Don’t Preach Perfection To Your Kids!
It’s okay to fail. It’s okay to go through disappointments. Let them embrace everything and brace themselves up.
As long as we experience something practically, we will not understand what it will be like.
Instead of saying, get A grade and first marks or come as first in sports, tell them to give their best shot.
Setting realistic expectations sets them free and in a way puts them in an accountable position too.
Give Yourself Some Break!
You don’t have to know about your kids or keep an eye on them all the time. Try to focus on yourself or something you love. This break sets you free and helps you come back stronger.
The need to be always in the know about the child turns a normal parent into a helicopter parent.
Let them happily enjoy their time in school or with their friends or grandparents. Indulge in something that you like the most and spend your day as you like.
Their world will still exist even if you focus on something else for a while.
Not just in parenting but in general too! When we overthink, we become aware of every single thing happening around us. It’s good but when it’s in overdose, we yield to its pressure and restrict ourselves and others.
If you want to know the extent of your overthinking, check your Google history and the parenting questions you have asked there. Get the drift?
While giving too much of thought to a trivial parenting concern, we lack focus and go with the easiest decision. Controlling our children and letting them not go with their decisions.
It is hard to find out whether we are taking good care of them or doing helicopter parenting as there is a thin air existing between them.
But finding the balance and not crossing the border is crucial to help our children grow emotionally, physically and psychologically.
In reality, they don’t always need us in every stage and aspect of their life as they grow up. Understanding that and supporting them in the best way possible without interfering works great for both of us.
Which part did you like? Do you think you are a helicopter parent? Tell us in the comments.