This parenting style, Helicopter Parenting, if taken too far, will need to be one of the parenting styles that you will need to avoid or steer clear away from. Here is how the dictionary defines it:
“A style of child-rearing or parenting in which an overprotective mother or father discourages a child’s independence by being too involved in their child’s life.”Definition from Dictionary.com: https://www.dictionary.com/browse/helicopter–parent
This is the kind of parenting where you become too involved with your child’s life to the point where you discourage your child to be independent.
There is definitely a fine line between being an engaging and involved parent to being a helicopter parent. In this blog post, I will explore more in detail about the characteristics of helicopter parents, what to do if you find that you are a helicopter parent, and some positive takeaways you can take.
Characteristics Of Helicopter Parenting
Here are some characteristics of the parenting style, helicopter parenting. These parents are overly involved and obsessed with many different aspects of their child’s life, from their child’s education, extracurricular activities, learning methodology, and even safety. The parents will do whatever they can do make sure their child gets the best of everything.
One of the biggest characteristics that I think helicopter parents have is that they are willing to put their interest child’s life above their own and really prepare and plan their child’s life from even the very beginning of their life. By planning every single step and every day, the parent fully knows what is happening in their child’s life and can easily correct any diversions to that predetermined path.
In terms of the child’s education, the helicopter parent has the child’s career path already predetermined, and so the parent would plan all of the necessary school courses, extracurricular activities, and even go to the extent of having play dates with certain parents within their target industry in order to increase the child’s exposure to that environment and lifestyle.
How To Avoid Being A Helicopter Parent
There are many ways for you to avoid being a helicopter parent, but you have to be dedicated to sticking with these tips.
1) Take One Step Back
You need to step back from getting so involved in your child’s life. By being too closely involved with your child’s life, you are able to influence the events that occur within their lives. By taking that one step back, you are effectively letting your child take one step forward in their life. With that one step forward that your child took, they can now feel like they have a little more control over what happens in their life.
As a parent, this is exactly where you would shine by encouraging your child to take a more active role in their life. Try these three exercises with your child to start to grow your bond with your child’s newfound freedom.
- Offer them simple household tasks, such as wiping down the dinner table, this will encourage the child to take ownership of those tasks and then feel accomplished that they did something themselves.
- Give them the choice of what to do during family time. This gives them the ability to make a choice and understand the results of their chosen family time activity.
- Let them choose what they want to have as a family meal. You might think this sounds crazy because you think they are going to eat unhealthy meals forever, but this exercise allows your child’s creativity to grow. They may want to eat all of those unhealthy meals forever, but after a while, they will also get bored of it too and that is when they will get creative and start to think outside the box for new family meal ideas.
Don’t get me wrong, I am definitely an advocate of both parents actively getting involved in the aspect of parenting, but there is definitely a clear line between actively being involved with parenting to being a helicopter parent. By taking that step back from the helicopter parenting level, you can see how your child can grow and flourish in ways that you could never have imagined.
2) Remember That You Are A Parent
Here is what the definition of a parent is from the Merriam-Webster dictionary.
“A person who brings up and cares for another”Definition from Merriam-Webster Dictionary, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/parent
Nowhere in that definition mentions about being controlling or constantly monitoring your child. A parent is supposed to care for their child. By caring for them, you want them to learn to be a good contributing member of society, to be able to make their own decisions in life that won’t bring them to regret later and to make sure your child knows that you love them a lot.
If you made a decision or plan your child’s life for them, then they don’t know how to make their own life decisions when they are faced with challenges. You, as a parent, aren’t always going to be within arm’s reach of your child. You need to make sure you teach your children to be able to make choices for themselves.
3) Failing Is Also A Part Of Learning
I’ll give you a simple tip, people learn from their mistakes. I’m sure you have also learned from your mistakes, and those mistakes are considered a result of failing that specific task. You learn from these mistakes, through trial by error, so that you will be aware of how to process your mistake the next time that scenario comes around.
So, if you don’t fail, then you don’t learn. Even if you teach them to be 100% perfect, your child will almost always never do it 100% correctly, 100% of the time.
Benefits Of Helicopter Parenting
After talking so much about the negatives of helicopter parenting, it’s time to talk about some of the benefits of helicopter parenting for both the parents and the kids. A heads up for you, there are very little benefits of helicopter parents.
Helicopter parents get that accomplished feeling knowing that everything went according to plan. By getting your child to follow your pre-determined plan, you can compare what is currently happening to what you have planned. A synonym related to this is a CEO of a company trying to align their current business metrics with the project metrics or a computer programmer with a specific program specifications programming what should happen in each line of software code.
I couldn’t find any benefit of helicopter parenting for the children except this phrase, making your parents feel proud of you for listening to them. For your children, they are supposed to be free to choose how to live their own life. They aren’t born into the world to fulfill your dream life or your footsteps.