What is ‘Helicopter Parenting’? Well, it’s a type of parent who is too overly focused and protective of their children, leaving little space for healthy growth and boundaries. It comes from good intentions but leads to nothing but bad outcomes. Being a helicopter parent can happen without you noticing. Let’s say you’re out at the park, and your child makes a friend. Instead of letting them interact and play together, you’re right there by your child’s side, directing his behavior and giving him zero alone time. Helicopter parenting can also mean that you do things for your child that they should be learning to do on their own! Assisting your child is great, but when it turns into doing everything for them, that’s a problem.
Parents hover over their children for many different reasons – anxiety, peer pressure from other parents, fear of your child getting physically/emotionally hurt, etc. You are not a bad parent by any means if you do hover, but this can lead to your child being extremely dependent on you throughout their adolescence. They will lose touch of things that they SHOULD be able to do on their own but can’t or won’t due to fear, lack of self-confidence, a sense of entitlement, or just simply not knowing how to do it – undeveloped life skills.
Engaged parenting come with lots of benefits to the child – like feeling loved and supported, having self-confidence, and opportunities to grow because they feel like they can. So how can a parent avoid hovering and smothering? As parents we have a difficult job! We have to pay attention to our kids’ stressors and help them out when it’s needed, but we also have to pay attention to the kind of person we are raising. Sometimes the simple answer is to let your child struggle! They cannot develop essential problem-solving skills needed throughout their lives if we’re constantly fixing things for them. Letting them lead the way can help with their confidence AND yours! Letting your child experience disappointment is okay. Our children are physically and mentally capable of working through things if we just let them.
Take a step back and let them solve it, because they will and you’ll be so proud.