Today we are discussing one of the most criticized parenting style, Helicopter Parenting. Its a parenting style, where the parent pays extreme attention towards children’s activities. As the name suggests itself, the parent hovers over their children like a Helicopter. Extremely anxious or an over compensating single parent are few examples of helicopter parents. This is an expert roundup, and we were able to reach out to some of the very best authorities specialized in Parenting.
Lists of Parenting Experts
Here is the list of experts helped us with better understanding Helicopter Parenting. We are really thankful to each of them for their well esteemed inputs. You can click on your favorite expert’s name to jump straight into their opinion about the topic.
DR. Ruth Nemzoff
Laurie Hollman, Ph.D.
Attorney Laurie Gray
Dr. Richard Horowitz
Roy Petitfils, MS, LPC
James I. Millhouse, Ph.D.
Jared Heathman, MD
Richard Daniel Curtis
Elaine Taylor-Klaus, CPCC, PCC
Experts Opinion on Helicopter Parenting
DR. Ruth Nemzoff, well known Author (Don’t Bite Your Tongue: How to Foster Rewarding Relationships with Your Adult Children, Don’t Roll Your Eyes: Making In-laws into Family) and speaker helped us with her input on this subject.
Parenting is an art, not a science. What is considered helicopter Parenting depends on the time, place and culture. There is a fine line between involved, caring parents and over-indulgence. Helping your children succeed is the job of every parent. The goal is to encourage gradually your children to take more and more responsibility for their decision-making. The danger of making every decision for your child is that they are unable to sort out the best options. The risk of not helping your children is that you will not have properly taught them how to sort out options.
Laurie Hollman, Ph.D. is a psychoanalyst with specialized clinical training in infant-parent, child, adolescent, and adult psychotherapy. She has been on the faculties of New York University and the Society for Psychoanalytic Study and Research, among others. She has written extensively on parenting for various publications, including the Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, The International Journal of Infant Observation, The Inner World of the Mother, Newsday’s Parents & Children Magazine, Long Island Parent. She also wrote her popular column, PARENTAL INTELLIGENCE, at Moms Magazine and had been a parenting expert for numerous publications such as Good Housekeeping.
Helicopter Parenting is a parenting style first used by Haim Ginott in his 1969 book, Parents & Teenagers, by adolescents who felt their parents hovered over them like a helicopter. Other terms include lawnmower parenting, cosseting parenting, bulldozing parenting. It means a kind of ‘over-parenting’ that is overcontrolling, overprotecting and exceeds responsible parenting. Typically these parents take too much responsibility for their kid’s lives and specifically, their successes and failures. Although the term was originally used to refer to teens and college-age kids, it can be referred to doing tasks of a child of any age when the child is capable of doing it alone. Toddlers and preschoolers, for example, may not learn to play alone because their parent is always hovering over them and playing alongside them.
Reasons for Helicopter Parenting
Helicopter parents often have their child’s interests at heart trying not to have them feel any unhappiness, struggle, or lack of excelling. They feel with their involvement that the child has a greater chance of success and lowered anxiety. The parents’ anxiety over their lives may push them toward taking more control to protect their children from what they’ve experienced. We could also call them ‘over-worried parents.’
Another source of helicopter parenting is living in neighborhoods, and school districts where it is common and thus parental peer pressure pushes the parent to over control and get over-involved in their kids’ lives. Guilt over not doing what other parents are doing is often the culprit.
Consequences of Helicopter Parenting
It’s difficult to have great intentions and yet cross the line over what your child needs and desires from you. We do want parents to be engaged, give lots of positive attention, and help when requested. The problem is that once parenting becomes ruled by fear and anxiety, this is transmitted to the children and teens. Further, it undermines the child’s self-esteem. Children miss the opportunity to find that they can take on challenges and succeed on their own. It also undermines the notion that success isn’t everything, but the process of learning is just as or even more important. Mistakes, failures, challenges teach skills and help kids bounce back and want to be curious to learn and discover even more.If parents are always there on the rebound when a child hasn’t mastered a skill or tried something on their own, they deprive their children of learning coping skills. Children need to cope with frustration, disappointment and the stress of failing in order to grow.
Letting our children struggle is a gift, not deprivation. It’s important to take a step back from solving our kids’ problems so they can become self-reliant, resilient, loved children who enjoy adventuring, discovering, and reaching for new learnings.
Laurie Hollman, Ph.D. currently writes for Active Family Magazine (San Francisco)and blogs for Huffington Post. Her new book is Unlocking Parental Intelligence: Finding Meaning in Your Child’s Behavior. For more, visit lauriehollmanphd.com.
Tim Elmore, an international speaker, and President of Growing Leaders, an organization equipping today’s young people to become the leaders of tomorrow. Here’s what Tim has to say about helicopter parents in his book *Gen. iY: Secrets to Connecting with Today’s Teens and Young Adults in the Digital Age:*
The Problem: Hovering helicopter parents don’t allow their kids the privilege of learning to fail and persevere. They prefer to prepare the path for the child instead of the child for the path.
The Issue/Solution: It is very possible parents can become helicopters because they possess a controlling spirit. Adults who struggle with feeling out of control or who find it difficult to trust others tend to hover and micromanage as parents. They feel it is up to them to ensure life turns out well for the kids. When these parents were children, they were either kicked to the curb and told to figure life out, or they were latchkey kids in solitude. These adults quite frankly must learn that control is a myth, and the sooner they acknowledge this, the more efficient they’ll be as parents. As Frank A. Clark put it: The most important thing parents can teach their children is how to get along without them.
Here is a link to Growing Leaders.com, to connect with Tim Elmore.
Attorney Laurie Gray is the founder of Socratic Parenting, LLC (www.SocraticParenting.com) and the author of three award-winning young adult novels and the nonfiction book A Simple Guide to Socratic Parenting (Luminis Books/2014). In addition to writing, speaking and consulting, Laurie currently works as an adjunct professor of criminal sciences at Indiana Tech and as a bilingual forensic interviewer at her local child advocacy center.
Both helicopter parenting (always hovering) and snowplow parenting (clearing the way of all obstacles) suggest that you don’t trust your children or believe that they are capable of doing things themselves. Parents need to be the safety net. Let them climb and let them fall, just help them establish healthy boundaries and keep them from accidently inflicting serious injury on themselves or others. Instead of focusing on what your children can’t do, focus on what they can do and what they enjoy doing so that they develop their tastes, interests, creativity, and internal motivation. Children who have the freedom to explore and discover things on their own also tend to develop stronger problem-solving and critical thinking skills.
Parents who experience as much or more separation anxiety than their children, may be too involved in every aspect of their children’s lives. Helicopter and Snowplow parents are there for their kids and care about them, but in trying to protect their children, they may impede the development of the self-confidence and awareness their children need on their journey toward independence. All children need to feel secure, valued and loved unconditionally. Parents who acknowledge their children’s feelings and stay connected with them cultivate self-awareness, confidence, and overall well-being. These kids are less likely to be held back by a fear of failure. They become capable of finding their way and persevering through challenges when things don’t always go their way. Most importantly, they develop resilience and learn to trust their instincts.
As the founder of Socratic Parenting, LLC, I focus parents on the need to Connect with their children rather than control them, and to provide safety without suffocating them. Here is the link to Laurie’s website socraticparenting.com.
Dr. Richard Horowitz a Parenting/Family Coach and author of Family Centered Parenting
We all need to fall sometimes and learn how to pick ourselves up after a fall to be able to cope sufficiently with life’s challenges. This is resilience. The challenge for parents is to figure out when to or when not to intervene when a child suffers a setback. The better the child can resolve their issue by themselves or with minimal parental involvement the more likely they put deposits into their resilience bank. Helicoptering creates ownership in problem resolution for the parent. The consequence is in the future when the child, teenager, young adult meets a setback they have nothing to withdraw from their resilience bank and either reach out to parents again which is often inappropriate or simply fall apart.
Here is the link to Dr. Richard ‘s website :growinggreatrelationships.com.
Roy Petitfils, MS, LPC is an internationally recognized expert in working with teens. He’s worked with teens and families for over 20 years as an educator, minister, school administrator and today as a psychotherapist.
The verdict on helicopter parenting is evident. It produces young adults who are more dependent than independent, fail to launch both physically and emotionally, and anxiety rode perfectionists who are either compulsively driven to prove themselves or paralyzed by fear of making mistakes. Some helicopter parents are often unconsciously attempting to meet their needs for achievement through their child while others are simply over-identifying with their child in both success and failure. Some are paranoid of their child’s uncertain future and their sense of powerlessness in shaping that future and hovering helps them feel a sense of control and security that their child will be “OK” in the future world. Ultimately parents should begin when age appropriate, allowing their children enough room to fail while not being crushed. Especially in areas such as academics that while important are not life threatening. If making a B is too big a failure to risk in middle school, then trusting your 16-year-old at a party with drinking or drugs present will never be a possibility.
Here is the link to Mr. Roy Petitfils’s website :roypetitfils.com.
Richard Daniel Curtis, Author, parenting futurist and leading behaviour expert, as seen on BBC, ITV and Sky. Passionate about transforming parents and teachers lives around the globe to help a generation.
Helicopter parenting is an easy trap to fall into, we want to protect our children and look out for them, we don’t want anything to happen to them. However, this can have long-term implications for them. Social development can be affected as if a parent resolves all disputes before a child has had an opportunity to address it themselves, that learning process hasn’t happened. For a younger toddler, that parental guidance allows a child to learn the things to say and do, but as they grow beyond 2 or 3, they’ll need more independence to try it out for themselves.
Self-esteem and anxiety levels can be affected by helicopter parenting too. If a child is reliant on their parent protecting them all of the time, then as they grow older they realise they don’t have the skills themselves, they become insecure in their skills. This lowers their self-esteem as the brain thinks that they must be stupid as they need their parent to do things for them and to keep them safe. This is further backed up by their social failure when their parent isn’t around and so it becomes a vicious cycle. Anxiety can then increase as they become more wary of their lack of skills, and so they then become more dependent on the parent.
If you as a parent are worried about whether you are helicopter parenting or not, every time you want to intervene stop and ask yourself what will help my child in the future.
Jeni Danto a parenting expert, mom of 5, Social Worker dealing with children and families, blogger. owner of a company called Magic Feel Good – an all natural, non GMO vitamin C chewable for kids who say they’re sick, but are not. Also, perfect for parents who don’t want to give their children unneeded over the counter medications.
Helicopter parenting seems to be the new way for many parents to parent – feeling that they need to be in control of their kid’s lives and make sure nothing uncomfortable happens to their child. Whereas in the short run this might seem a good idea – it’s very tempting to want to protect your kids all the time, it will harm them as they get older. Childhood is the time for kids to learn how to deal with new situations and how to navigate friendships. If not allowed to address uncomfortable scenarios, your child will grow into a grown up who doesn’t know how to function on their own and can’t react correctly or appropriately when faced with stressful situations. Childhood is the time when your children can meet new challenges and then come home and talk them through with their parents. Once they’re adults, it’s too late for your input to make a difference. Letting your children deal with new situations and then getting your guidance how to navigate better will ultimately help them as grown ups which can be functioning productive members of society.
Jeni Danto is the owner of a company called Magic Feel Good (link to website added) – an all natural, non GMO vitamin C chewable for kids who say they’re sick, but are not. Also, perfect for parents who don’t want to give their children unneeded over the counter medications.
Elaine Taylor-Klaus, CPCC, PCC A parent coach and co-founder of Impact ADHD®.
Our job as parents is to slowly but surely transfer control and responsibility from us to our children, so that they will grow up to become independent and, ideally, successful adults. When we helicopter and hover, we rob them of the opportunity to try things on their own – even rob them of the chance to fail and learn from those experiences – and we forget that our primary responsibility is the transfer of self-management and ownership from us to our children. Helicopter parents may assure short-term success, but they are standing in the way of their child’s long-term success.
Here is the link to Elaine Taylor-Klaus’s website :ImpactADHD.com.
Kathryn Gates, Licensed Marriage and a family therapist based in Austin.
I’ve seen the detriments of parents who satelitte around their perfectly-able kids as though the kids are
invalids, needing of constant attention and assistance.
When parents over-parent, which generally describes parents who hover around their children doing everything for them, it prevents kids from learning to *do for themselves*. If the goal of a good parent is to help create a functional adult, helicoptering is doing the OPPOSITE of that. It is taking away learning moments and turning them into *doing-for *moments. This often continues because it can give parents a sense of purpose and value. *My kids NEED me!* And yet it creates an unhealthy dependence on the parent, which ultimately cripples a person from becoming self-sufficient and a contributing member of society. It creates in the child the expectation that *others are to do for me*, rather than, *I can do some things for myself* and *I can cooperate with others*.
Here is the link to her website : GatesTherapy.com.
Jessica McIntyre, a Los Angeles-based psychotherapist is having the opinion of The consequence of being a helicopter parent is that you deprive your kids of building resiliency. It is this quality of being able to fail- and learning to grow from their failures that create a well-rounded, happy and secure individual. Here is the link to her webiste jessicamcintyre.com.
Dr. Jared Heathman has presented lectures on post-concussion syndrome, psychopharmacology (medications), ADHD, and personality disorders.
Helicopter parenting is when parents take a strong, sometimes unhealthy, interest in the life of their child. Like most parental characteristics, helicopter parenting can be beneficial in appropriate doses. Parents can be the biggest role models in a child’s life, so being present is important. Equally as important is making an emotional investment in a child’s interests. Through family participation, children can build a positive self-esteem and experience a strong family connection. Excessive involvement can lead to the child taking fewer risks in life. While many people associate the term risk as having negative consequences, risks are required to gain new life skills. Introducing oneself to new potential friends and trying new activities involves a degree of risk.
Dr. Heathman has special interests in anxiety, perinatal mood disorders, substance abuse, and autism spectrum disorder. Here is the link to his webiste yourfamilypsychiatrist.com.
James I. Millhouse, Ph.D., Licensed Psychologist discusses aspects of parental over involvement along with a pathway to finding the optimal parental role in my book The Parents Manual of Sport Psychology. Although his book is written in the context of sports performance, the same principles apply to every performance situation such as high stakes testing and personal interaction.
Most helicopter parents are trying to help their children do well and compete well with others. Although it is desirable to want our kids to be their best, many of the unintended consequences of helicopter parents can be devastating for the child. Unintended consequences of helicopter parenting include preventing the child from developing a desirable sense of independence, the ability to pursue a goal with confidence and experiencing a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction from a job well done.
You may connect with him at his website : drmillhouse.com
Lynette Owens, Founder & Global Director of Trend Micro’s Internet Safety for Kids & Families program. As a pro-technology, mother of two herself, Lynette’s experiences (both professionally and personally) make her a great expert to discuss how being a helicopter parent is not the best way to teach kids right from wrong, specifically pertaining to internet usage.
Lynette believes parents should set expectations with their children in order to teach responsibility. Children tend to perform to expectations and boundaries, so it is important to set them for things such as web surfing, and screen time. By limiting them and being a helicopter parent looking for something to go wrong, you’re letting them know that’s the type of behavior your expect from them.
You may connect with her at her website :internetsafety.trendmicro.com.
Summer Blackhurst a parenting researcher. She interviews parents about their children and their childcare and then write about it in a blog goaupair.com.
I had one mom tell me a fascinating story about her son who was made fun of by two boys at school because of his purple rubber boots. He ran home and told his mom. Her response was awesome. She told him he couldn’t have a new pair until he learned to stand up to the bullies or not let them bother him. After a year he had passed the test and the next winter he was given new boots. I feel like she was a great example of not being a helicopter parent, and being aware of what her child was going through and helping him problem solve his way through it. The consequence therefore of helicopter parenting is it makes it so children are not able to problem solve on their own. Signs a parent is a helicopter parent is when the parents are always close and tend to control other children and other adults if the situation doesn’t go the way they think it should for their own child. Another consequence of over-parenting would be the parents’ close relationships are strained because they are too focused on their child.
A final result of helicopter parenting is these types of parents will take the idea of safety to an extreme. I had a sister in law who made national and international headlines because of a blog she wrote about leaving her 7 year old home alone in New York City for less than an hour to run an errand. Because of the blog she went viral and the war on how young is too young to leave your child home raged on and on.
Reading the hundreds of commentaries on her post I found the lines of helicopter parenting are always more blurred when the question of safety comes into play. How safe is this child going to be if you are not with him. As long as the parent is reasonable about the child’s safety, then the parenting is healthy. For example watching them cross streets, keeping them at bay when there is a fire, setting guidelines for playing with more rowdy kids and so on. But if the parent won’t let them cross streets at all or be around fires at all or will not allow them to be around rowdy kids, then they are taking away the child’s chances of learning away and when presented with real life situations the child will be much more incapable/afraid because of their lack of experience.
I had to chuckle at your query because I’ve been called a helicopter parent for numerous reasons. We are that family in the neighborhood who homeschools, shelters, keeps our kids away from social media, most television shows (we ditched cable a couple of years ago because of the commercials and the fact that there were only 1-2 shows we actually allow our children to watch), most books from the library, and so forth. We believe in courtship and absolutely do not believe that once they’re 18, they can do whatever they want.
You might think our children have grown to resent us, but that’s not the case at all. Our kids have grown up holding on to our views. Some might say they’re ‘brainwashed’ – I say ‘so be it!’
Tasha Swearingen’s website is lessonsinpajamas.com, and that’s where she blog the most and the archives have insights into her homeschooling days.
David Bakke a parenting expert here at Money Crashers(link to the website).
There are several pros and cons to the concept of helicopter parenting which basically involves you overly hovering over your kids in their day to day activities. On the one hand, you absolutely get to see more of their growth and development, and experience more of their activities up close and in person, which is never a bad thing. Also, your kids, through your more overt and constant direction, will tend to me more organized and responsible with their day to day stuff. Another plus is that you ensure that they are or will be safe 100% of the time, again, obviously a positive.
But there are a few drawbacks as well to this strategy. Your children can become too dependent, where they rely on you to make every decision for them. Even worse, you run the risk of them developing an entitlement mentality. They also might be less likely to create or develop their dreams and passions in life. Also, they might be prone not to speak up for themselves in certain situations generally speaking, which is also not a good result. And with your increased involvement in their lives, they might be less likely to open up to you about particular situations or issues they’re encountering, which is also not a very good outcome. All in all, you need to understand the positives and negatives of the mindset of helicopter parenting before you take it on.
We were overwhelmed by the support that we received for our this experts round up and to keep the originality of the content, alterations were done at a very minimum on the inputs received. Personally thanking our experts who helped us in completing this monumental post.