Every parent has a natural tendency to desire the well-being of their children. However, this tendency of being supportive is often taken to another level by some parents by being hyper-involved in their child’s life or in other words hovering over their child like a helicopter, hence, it’s called as the helicopter parenting.

Helicopter parenting can have several different forms, from shadowing the child while he is riding the bike to standing over his shoulder while he does his homework. Helicopter parenting may begin at a very early stage and may continue till the adulthood. For a toddler helicopter parenting may involve-trying to prevent every minor fall or avoiding age-appropriate risks, never allowing the child to play alone, constantly asking the preschool teacher for progress reports or simply, not encouraging developmentally appropriate independence.

During elementary school, it may look like- speaking with school administrators to make sure the child has a certain teacher because they are perceived as the best, choosing a child’s friends for them, enrolling them in activities without their input, completing homework and school projects for your child, refusing to let the child solve problems on their own.

During teens, such parents may not allow their children to take age appropriate decisions, or may go on becoming overly involved in their academic work and extracurricular activities to shield them from failure or disappointment, contacting their college professor about poor grades and intervening in disagreements with their friends or co-workers.

However, it is important to look for the causes of helicopter parenting which may include- fear for the child’s future, anxiety, over-compensation, search for a sense of purpose or peer pressure. 

Often the parents believe what child does today is what he will be tomorrow which makes them getting overly involved in their grades, performance etc, because is perceived by them as a way to prevent struggle in their child’s life. Some parents may get anxious or emotionally fall apart on finding their child disappointed about something and this anxiety paves the way to helicopter parenting. A sense of purpose often leads to such kind of an attitude among parents when as a parent their identity simply gets wrapped up in their child’s accomplishments and this makes them feel that their child’s success will make them a better parent. Sometimes, parents in their childhood may not have received that love and support which they swear to bestow over their own children, however, they tend to go overboard and give their child more than required attention. Many a times, it’s simply because of peer pressure, astonishingly, peer pressure also affects the adults. The parents are often driven towards helicopter parenting on being fascinated or urged by other such parents.

As a matter of fact helicopter parents enjoy greater happiness, contentment and sense of meaning in their lives; however, it often leads to adverse effects over the children.

Helicopter parenting backfires when the child gradually develops a low self-esteem and a lack of self-confidence, which often lead them to question their abilities and act as hurdles, preventing them from succeeding, or may even lead to worst outcomes such as anxiety disorders or depression. A study over college students also proved helicopter parented students were more likely to suffer from depression. Such a child may also lack decision making sills and fail to take several important decisions at the hour of need just because his parents always took the decisions for him. Children may also go about developing entitlement issues where they believe they deserve certain privileges, usually as a result of always getting what they want. They grow up believing the world will bend over backwards for them, which can result in a harsh awakening later on. Some children act out or become hostile when they feel their parents are trying to have too much control over their life. Others grow up into having poor coping skills, since; they didn’t learn how to deal with failure or disappointment during elementary school, high school, or college.

Although loosening the reins could be quite difficult sometimes but that doesn’t make you a less loving or a less supportive parent.

Here’s how to break free and encourage independence from your child:

  • Rather than focusing on the present, think about the possible long-term effects of helicopter parenting. Ask yourself, do I want my child to always rely upon me to fix his life or do I want them to develop skills to face the life?
  • If your children are old enough to do something for themselves, let them and combat the urge to intervene. This can include things as minute as tying their shoes, cleaning their room, or picking up their clothes.
  • Let the children make all the age-appropriate decisions for them. Allow the child in elementary school to choose his preferred extracurricular activity or hobbies, and let older children choose what classes to take.
  • If your child has a disagreement with a friend, co-worker, or boss, don’t get in the middle of it or try to fix it. Teach them skills to resolve the conflict on their own.
  • Allow your child to fail no matter how hard it might be for you. But not making a team or getting into the college of their choice teaches them how to cope with disappointment and fight in their lives.
  • Teach them skills such as cooking, cleaning, laundry, interacting to enhance their overall development.

For teaching someone to ride a bike, you obviously need to let go once so that the person can learn to balance, similarly, sometimes you have to let go of your child’s hand to teach them how to rise no matter how hard life pushes them.

#Content Created by Akanksha Mahajan

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