Helicopter parents often get a bad rap for their overindulgent, controlling parenting tactics. Most of the criticisms they get are often justified by both experts and pseudo-experts alike. After all, there are a few good things that come from becoming supremely involved in every single aspect of a child's life (no shade, of course).
One of the biggest issues that children with helicopter parents have is that they struggle with being independent. After all, helicopter parents tend to do everything for their kids. Therefore, they struggle to learn to be self-reliant and resilient in the face of adversity.
Still, there are some tactics that these parents use that can be beneficial, creating a greater argument for those who like the controversial style. The following list goes into a number of things that these parents are doing right, as well as things they need to worry about a little less (or stop doing altogether). After all, it's an important thing to do when discussing something as vital as parenting children; one can never be too prepared, right?
Without further ado, here are 10 things helicopter moms are doing right, six they shouldn't worry so much about, and five they should stop doing immediately.
21 Doing Right: Knowing Where A Child Is
Although the news loves to play up the conflict in the world for ratings, among other reasons, the truth is that the world isn't the same as it was 30 years ago. This leads to one of the most famous attributes of being a helicopter mom or dad; knowing where a child is at all times.
While a child should almost definitely have a level of independence to grow, have fun, and make mistakes, knowing where a child is is vital. The world can be a dangerous place. Knowing where a child is and who they are with, can not only create peace of mind but also allow them to be safer.
20 Don't Worry About: The Job Hunt
Later on in life, a lot of parents become very concerned with whether or not their kid can get a job, as well as what job they can get. This is a natural concern for anyone, but helicopter parents take this to a new extreme.
In a revealing and informative article on Forbes, Ashley Stahl helps detail the detrimental issues that helicopter parents inadvertently cause on their child's ability to get a job. She quotes from a well-researched scientific paper from the University of Huston Law Center that delves into the ramifications of helicopter parenting on children.
In the paper, it's mentioned that Millennials "are now the most overprotected and programmed generation," traits that are not appealing to many employers. For extreme cases, the paper details account where parents actually sat in on their child's interview.
While that action may appear like sabotage to anyone with a shred of self-awareness, the more subtle acts of helicopter parenting, such as disempowering a child, have far more dangerous psychological effects on their children's ability to get a job.
If helicopter parents worried a little less about this, they could be doing a great service to their children.
19 Doing Right: Knowing Who Their Friends Are
Just as we are all defined by our actions, we are also defined by who we spend the most time with. For example, even if we have a history with someone who has done good by us, it still says a lot if we chose to spend time with that person if they have actively made someone else's life bad. Additionally, we are programmed to act similarly to the people we spend the most time with as explored by many scientific researchers, including those at Science Daily.
A positive about the hovering nature of a helicopter parent is the fact that they know exactly who their children spend time with. They make it their business to know the types of people that their friends are. This way they can determine if they are hanging around entitled, spoiled, or violent children who very well could rub off negatively on their own kids.
But helicopter parents should be aware of their own prejudices and not separate children from a friend that they deem "uncool" or who won't better their child's social position.
18 Doing Right: Arriving On Time
Most children of helicopter parents show up to events and hand their homework in on time. This has to do with the fact that the parents are very involved in their child's life and get them where they need to go without delay. And although the latter example could be due to the fact that a helicopter parent does their child's homework for them, they are letting their kids know about the importance of meeting deadlines and showing up on time.
After all, there are few things ruder than constantly being late. It tells people that your time is far more valuable than there's. Therefore, it's the ultimate turn-off.
Helicopter parents do get their children to soccer practice on time, and that's important, but it's equally important to let a child make their own mistakes and learn from them. But the intention here is in the right place and could grow into something far healthier.
17 Stop: Hovering
Indiana University psychologist Chris Meno helps over-parented students get through the anxiety and depression she says can come from helicopter parenting tactics. She claims that the pressure from parents to excel and not mess up in practically any scenario is an easy source for kids developing severe and legitimate cases of anxiety and depression. One of the biggest reasons for this is the fact that they're unable to make independent decisions.
Unlike tiger moms, helicopter moms are ready to bail their children out of any scenario they deem harmful to their child's success. This can create a false perspective of how the world actually works and doesn't adequately prepare children for the realities and disappointments of life. For instance, it's not uncommon for helicopter parents to contact educators at elementary school, high school, and even university to complain about their child's grade.
This is not only an incredibly inappropriate over-reach but also incredibly harmful to a child's mental health. This information is also backed-up by psychologists at Psychology Today, Science Direct, and at CBC.
16 Doing Right: Leading By Example... Sort Of
This entry completely depends on the level of self-awareness that a child develops throughout their life. If they haven't developed the more detrimental qualities that children of helicopter parents have, they can learn from example.
In short, children can learn from the negative qualities that their helicopter parents have. They can see and experience firsthand of how dangerous, controlling, selfish, and harmful elements of helicopter parenting can be. Therefore, they'll be more equipped to make emotionally educated decisions of who not to be.
On the flip-side, by having helicopter parents, a child will have emotional access to the positive parenting tactics that their moms or dads have used. This includes the importance of letting loved ones know where they are and who they are with.
15 Stop: Treating Children Like Property
If you're a helicopter parent or feel like you're on the verge of being one, there are a few things you need to know. One such thing is the fact that your child is not your property.
Though this may sound obvious to some, the fact can slip away from helicopter parents who are so consumed with what their child does and how well they do it.
It's easy to feel like everything your child does reflects on you. In some ways, this is fact. In others, it's an unhealthy and unrealistic perspective to have.
Eventually, children become their own people and make their own decisions. Even when they are first born, they may not have the same personalities as you have. And just because you birthed them doesn't mean that they should. You do not own them. You created them to be who they want to be.
14 Doing Right: Lifting Up A Child
This article lists many of the detrimental aspects of lifting up a child, however, it also gives a nod to the positives of this parenting choice. Helicopter parents almost always make a child feel seen and heard. And, in a sense, they make a child feel like they are being lifted up by their parents. This is in contrast to the "Children should be seen, not heard" parenting style of some of the eldest generations.
A child should feel like they are important, what they feel is worthy, and that they are capable of achieving whatever they put their minds and hearts to. Helicopter parents—unlike tiger moms, for instance—do make their children feel this way. But a balance is important...
What helicopter parents need to add to this is that their children aren't destined for greatness; they have to work for it. They have struggled now and again in order to get what they want. In short, life will not hand them things just because their parents claim that they are important.
13 Don't Worry About: If A Child Is Brilliant Or Not
Every child learns in a different way and at different speeds. This is why the education system has changed so much in the last 30 or 40 years; educators have learned that one size doesn't fit all in terms of how they reach children.
Amongst the different learning styles are visual learners, logical learns, solitary, physical, and verbal learners. Every child absorbs academic and emotional information in a different way. If a parent doesn't understand this, it can be quite taxing on a parent who worries that their child isn't at the same level as their siblings or other kids in their class.
With the right support and understanding, great educators will find a way to reach a child where they're at in order to help them learn. Helicopter parents shouldn't be overly concerned with this, they should just be aware.
12 Don't Worry About: If A Child Rebels
Rebellion builds personality. It's not a bad word. Even Star Wars uses it as an example of positivity. That's not to make a parent feel like they are Darth Vader every time a child pushes back against them. Instead, it should remind them that there's something amiss or they are on completely different pages.
The key isn't to squash a rebellion but to understand why a child is doing what they're doing. Is it something that a parent can do differently to meet them where they are at? Or is a child's rebellious behavior just natural to their own social, academic, or personal development?
While it's important to stay on top of all this, as well as control bad behavior, it's also vital to understand these things from an intellectual perspective and not just an emotional one.
11 Doing Right: Allowing A Child To Share
Due to the fact that a helicopter parent is heavily involved in their children's lives, their kids often feel like they can share things with them. This means that they won't feel shy about asking their parents important questions, no matter how intimate or personal. This means, for instance, that parents can be more aware if their child is bullied. Therefore they can find a way to get involved in order to make sure that schools stop this behavior. But parents should make sure that they don't intervene in a way that doesn't allow their child to work certain aspects of their lives out on their own.
It's important that parents and children have a positive relationship, but it's unrealistic to think that will be the case all of the time. Parents need to be the bad guys once in a while. It's the only way that children will learn that there are consequences to everything they do.
But, having said that, allowing a child to be able to feel comfortable enough to communicate things with them can not only be important but also really rewarding.
10 Don't Worry About: Problem Solving
A helicopter parent's natural impulse is to intervene every single time their child has a problem. This could be something as serious as bullying or as a minor disagreement between friends.
Intervening can cause all sorts of problems that weren't there before and doesn't actually teach a child the skills needed to face down a challenge on their own; a skill that will be incredibly important down the road.
Instead, every parent should spend less time solving their children's problems and instead give them all the council and support needed for them to do it themselves. If they do, they can still find a way to guide their kids in the right direction, but also allow them to build the confidence to be able to do it by themselves. And yes, this also includes academic issues as well.
9 Stop: Living Life Through A Child
Having a child is not a second chance for a parent to live their lives. If you're a helicopter parent who does this, you need to stop. Bringing a child into this world is about a lot of things, but it has nothing to do with following your own dreams.
Many helicopter parents force their children into things that they just don't want to do. Whether it's conscious or subconscious, a parent is trying to live another life through their child. This is not okay, especially if it's causing damage to that child.
A child is going to have dreams and desires of their own and will hopefully go for them, whatever they are. A parent's job is to support these dreams and put reigns on them in order to make sure that they are met and that a child is healthy, happy, and surviving in an increasingly difficult world.
8 Doing Right: Building A Sense Of Community
People tend to fair far better when they feel like they have a sense of community. This starts at home with the parents. This is something that many children of helicopter parents feel due to the fact that their parents take an active (if not sometimes completely unhealthy) interest in their child's life.
Because of this, children are more than likely to share their own experiences and thoughts with their parents, no matter how insignificant they may seem. Being able to connect with parents is incredibly important for children. If they feel like they can do this, they may indeed have a better chance at doing it with others.
However, helicopter parents can easily make their children feel unimportant since the parents tend to do everything for them. Therefore, a balance must be found.
7 Doing Right: General Parenting
The title of this entry may seem a little condescending, but no one would accuse a helicopter parent of being negligent to their children's basic needs. Much like tiger moms, helicopter parents make sure that their kids are well-fed, active, and have a roof over their head. In fact, they are extremely cognitive of this. They know they have responsibilities as a parent.
In addition to this, they also make sure that their children are taking care of themselves. This means things like brushing their teeth and making sure they are using a dry towel after bathing. In short, they are very aware of the little things that are important for their child to learn as they grow up.
6 Don't Worry About: What You Want
When they are with you, children are a lot more likely to do what their parents want them to do. This is because the fact that their parents hold the power in the relationship and most children are afraid of punishment or disappointing them. They also have less experience going after the things they want for themselves. This is because they haven't had the opportunity to.
Some parents—especially helicopter moms and dads—have desires for their children that may not be in line with what a child actually wants. This can be a struggle for some parents because they believe they know what's best for their kids. But a child needs the opportunity to find the thing (or things) that they find exciting in the world. They need to chase these things and succeed or fail at them.
If parents spend too much time worrying about what they want, and not what a child wants in life, they are selfishly setting their children up for a degree of unhappiness.
5 Stop: Bailing Children Out
If a child messes up at school and has to face the consequences for his or her actions, it's vital that parents not bail them out. Every person on this planet needs to learn that every single one of their actions has a positive and negative reaction; and sometimes those negative reactions are harmful to themselves, the environment, or society as a whole.
Every single one of us can think of adults who don't seem to care about the impact they have on their own bodies or others. One of the reasons for this is the influence of helicopter parents who have always bailed them out because they believe that their children don't deserve the consequences.
According to psychologists, this action is incredibly destructive to a child's sense of self as well as the people around them. Parents need to let their kids claim responsibility for their actions and that means facing the consequences of every single one of their decisions. Only then will they learn to develop their own moral code, as well as a respect for themselves and the people they share this planet with.
4 Doing Right: Being Aware Of Academics
This entry comes with a word of caution; being overly involved with a child's academics can be a tightrope to walk on. On one hand, it's absolutely vital that a parent not do their child's work for them as that completely negates the purpose of education. Sure, a parent may help them get a good grade in the short term, but this tactic will ultimately fail them in the future when a parent isn't around to help them out and they don't have the skills necessary to overcome challenges.
Additionally, when a parent is overly involved in their child's academic life, they have a tendency to bail them out of scenarios that help a child learn and grow.
However, if a parent knows exactly where their child stands academically, they can know how they can help them learn and get better at the things they may be struggling with. They also will be able to put more or less pressure on a child who may not be putting in enough work in their education, or who are putting way too much in and need to relax.
3 Don't Worry About: Being Proud
Your children will make you proud one day. They'll do this is if you allow them to. If you don't have ludicrously large expectations for them and remain open for them to discover their own hopes and dreams and do everything necessary to achieve them, they WILL make you proud.
But they don't always need to make you proud when they're young. They're still learning and need to fail in order to grow. They have and will make mistakes, and it's necessary for their evolution. And they need to make those mistakes by themselves. So, all parents, especially helicopter parents, need to stop worrying so much about whether or not their children make them proud. Give them time.
2 Doing Right: Creating A Bond
One of the pros of being a helicopter parent is the fact that you tend to build a stronger bond with your kids. Since helicopter moms and dads spend a large amount of time with their children, a positive bond can be formed. This is a great thing unless parents forget their roles and only become their kid's best friend.
But no one could possibly deny how great it is to have a positive relationship with a child or parent. After all, a healthy relationship between the two can be extremely helpful in more stressful times.
However, parents need to be wary of how they're spending time with their kids; and if they are always doing everything for them while avoiding their role as a parent. Or, if they're building a bond with their child without doing everything for them, allowing them to grow on their own, and learn from mistakes.
1 Stop: Raising A Child's Expectations
Multiple studies, backed up by experts at Psychology Today, worry about the effects of helicopter parenting on a child's expectations in the real world. Due to the fact that helicopter parents often fight to get their child what they think they deserve, a child often develops a warped sense of entitlement.
For instance, every single child deserves a chance at a scholarship or to get on a sports team. But children of helicopter parents often think that they deserve it more than anyone else because their parent has reinforced this ideology with their own actions.
One of the best ways of growing, for children and adults, is to fight for something; to earn it for ourselves. Helicopter parents need to flat-out stop raising their child's expectations by doing things for them or by teaching them that they alone deserve only the best in the world.
Sources: Goodtherapy.org, Time.com, IAmNotOk.ca, Huffington Post, Time4Learning.com, newsinfo.iu.edu, Psychology Today, Very Well Family, CBC, Forbes, law.uh.edu, Science Daily, Science Direct, The Healthy Mummy, Good Therapy,