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Everything you need to know about helicopter parenting

Team StoryWeavers|October 20, 2021|

Helicopter Parenting

“Perhaps it takes courage to raise children.”

– John Steinbeck, 1962 Nobel Prize in Literature winner

Previously, we have spoken about different parenting approaches, such as positive parenting, peaceful parenting, child centered parenting, etc. Today, we will explore a new parenting approach called helicopter parenting. 

In this article, we will cover:

  • What is helicopter parenting?
  • Ultimate tips to prevent helicopter parenting

What is helicopter parenting? 

Dr. Foo Koong Hean’s book, Intercultural Parenting, tells us that helicopter parenting can be defined as a style of parenting where a parent tends to be overprotective and in turn ends up affecting the independence of the child as a result of being over-involved in the child’s life. Helicopter parents are likely to ‘hover over’ their children and take responsibility for their decisions. They are unlikely to give their children enough freedom and may prefer engaging in directive behaviours. 

Ultimate tips to avoid helicopter parenting 

Another book, 10 Time-Saving Tips for Busy Parents, by Dr Magdalena Battles, who specialises in parenting, child development, family relationships, etc, mentions a few pitfalls of helicopter parenting that arise out of not letting children work out things on their own. Here are some tips that will help a parent avoid helicopter parenting: 

  • Let children do things by themselves. As a parent, you can probably do the same thing faster and better. However, children need to learn to do things on their own. If they are capable of performing a task, let them do it, as it will help them become responsible, capable, and self-reliant individuals. 
  • Resist the urge to fix things for your children. As a parent, you might want to fix, improve, or perfect things that your child is working on. Though it is good to talk to children about improvements, doing those things for them may prove to be counterproductive. 
  • Remember that your children are not you. It is normal for parents to put themselves in their child’s shoes. You need to remember that your children are different people and will react differently than you. Parents need to try not projecting their emotions on their children in order to avoid overwhelming them and instead allow them to feel for themselves. For example: Your child is performing at an important event. You think that your child will be nervous because you would be nervous performing in front of a large audience. Parents in such situations need to avoid continuously asking the child if the child feels nervous or fearful.
  • Allow your child to fail. Failure is a part of life, and not allowing children to fail and learn to overcome it could deprive them of the opportunity to build life skills such as grit and perseverance. For example: If your child forgets to take the lunch box to school, let the child figure out on their own what to do when hungry. Maybe they can ask their friends to share their tiffin. 
  • Push through your own discomfort. As a parent, seeing your child fail at something and not doing something to help them is never easy. Identify your triggers and emotions and learn to push through them. Parents can do this by reminding themselves that they are doing this for their children, and it will help them develop important skills. 
  • Avoid linking your self-worth to your child’s behaviour and achievements. This is the hardest part. It is tough to not take your child’s behaviour personally and not consider their failures as your own. It often leads to parents not letting their children fail by intervening at the first sight of difficulty. This can put children at risk because it stops them from being independent and capable individuals in the future who can bounce back from failures. 

Parenting is a lifelong process. It is important for parents to not lose sight of that and help children become independent. Children are likely to become independent only when they know that they can solve their problems on their own as a result of learning from their mistakes. 

Your children will always need you to guide them. Be there for them, answer their questions, and soothe their worries, but do give them a chance to solve their problems on their own. 

What is your take on helicopter parenting? Do you often see helicopter parenting around you? Let us know in the comments below.

References:

Foo, K. H. (2019). Intercultural Parenting: How Eastern and Western Parenting Styles Affect Child Development. United Kingdom: Taylor & Francis. 

Battles, M. (2021). 10 Time-Saving Tips for Busy Parents. (n.p.): Whitaker House.

Also read, 

About the Author


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Mekhala Joshi

“Me-kha-la!” That happens at least once when she introduces herself to new people. She’s the only ‘Mekhala’ she knows, and she takes a bit of pride in that. She is a quintessential introvert. Mekhala loves tea but cannot make a good cup of tea and often ends up having coffee. She claims that she takes all adjectives as compliments unless specified otherwise. Mekhala is an organizational psychologist and psychometrician. She was a class teacher of 36 adorable girls for two years, grade 2 & 3, as a part of Teach For India Fellowship. And has worked as an independent consultant for a couple of years.

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