Helicopter parenting involves parents who pay extremely close attention to their child’s life, who is overprotective, and who are excessively interested in their child’s life.
Of course, there is nothing wrong with parental involvement. In fact, developmental psychology has found that involved relationships are critical in raising healthy people. However, some involvement can backfire if proper boundaries are not set.
Helicopter parents tend to have a lot of worry and anxiety surrounding their children, which can cause them to be overinvolved and overbearing in their kids’ lives.
Helicopter parenting is a parenting style where parents are overly focused on their children.
Some people refer to helicopter parenting as “over-parenting.”
Helicopter parenting can start with good intentions; the parent just wants to be close to their child, involved in their lives, and wants to protect them.
When a parent is present and engaged in their child’s life, it comes with many benefits, like feelings of love, security, and acceptance.
However, helicopter parenting can impact many aspects of a child’s life, including confidence, self-esteem, and mental health.
Helicopter parenting can develop from a number of different factors that can include:
Another term similar to helicopter parenting is “lawnmower parenting.”
“Lawnmower parenting” refers to a style of parenting where the parent does anything and everything to take care of any challenge or obstacle that stands in their child’s way. This limits the child’s ability to learn important resiliency skills and handle their own problems as they grow.
Children of helicopter parents may have challenges becoming independent and gaining confidence and may be more likely to experience anxiety or depression.
The over-involvement from the parents can often prevent the child from learning important lessons. The child could potentially miss out on crucial life skills because they are sheltered from the mistakes they need to grow.
Some of the most common characteristics of helicopter parents include:
Signs that you may have a helicopter parent can include:
Helicopter parenting is believed to be more common in mothers than in fathers.
Common behaviors and signs of a helicopter mom or dad can include:
It is also important to take into consideration what is age appropriate.
Younger children (usually in elementary school) are dependent and require a certain level of parental supervision and involvement. At a young age, heavy involvement is normal and healthy. But, as they grow into high schoolers, college students, and eventually into adults, they should gain more independence, space, and freedom.
Helicopter parents often have high anxiety.
This can make them very worried about their children. It is a parent’s job to protect their child, but with helicopter parenting, they want to control and be involved in every aspect of their children’s lives.
Helicopter parents are very focused on ensuring they don’t make any mistakes with their kids and that their children are thriving, often at the expense of their child’s privacy and independence.
Helicopter parenting often stems from this desire to protect their children in every way possible.
It is often driven by worry and anxiety, which leads to excessive and overbearing behaviors that can end up harming their child in the long run.
Helicopter parenting can come in many different forms.
For example, a helicopter parent may do their child’s homework or a high school project to ensure they get a good grade or so the child doesn’t have to stress over it.
It is common for a helicopter parent not to want to see their child fail. Because of this, they may over-involve themselves in their children’s lives. This may include filing out job applications for them or trying to get them into the college they want through shortcuts and connections.
A helicopter parent may also overschedule their child, fill their free time with extracurricular activities, and hold their children to high standards.
Other examples of helicopter parenting can include:
While it may start with good intentions, helicopter parenting can impact a child’s development and keep them from learning important life skills.
Helicopter parenting can impact a child’s confidence and lead to low self-esteem and a lack of independence that may follow them into adulthood.
They may be unsure of themselves and their abilities. When the time comes to be their adult, it can be a very difficult transition as they have not learned important lessons and skills in being responsible for themselves.
Helicopter parenting is often associated with anxiety in both the parent and the child.
It can also contribute to negative feelings about themselves, their lives, and their capabilities.
Helicopter parenting can be mentally damaging to a child, and it is important to be aware of the impact on your child and make a conscious effort to change.
Over-involved parents and helicopter parenting can lead to long-lasting effects on their child’s mental health that can follow them into adulthood.
Helicopter parenting can contribute to mental health conditions including depression and anxiety.
Children of helicopter parents can also find themselves with a negative self-image, low self-esteem, and low self-confidence.
Because of this, they may believe that they are incapable of accomplishing things on their own, which can affect the things they do as adults, whether it is in work, school, relationships, or any other aspect of their life.
Helicopter parenting may come with some advantages. However, many of these are outweighed by the adverse effects it has on the child.
For example, helicopter parenting can help keep a child safe, as the parent knows their whereabouts and has a close eye on what they are doing at all times.
Helicopter parenting may make the parent feel happier at the moment because they have a sense of control. But, this feeling often comes at the expense of their child’s happiness and well-being in the long run.
One way to look at helicopter parenting positively is that the child is getting a lot of support and guidance.
Helicopter parenting does not make you a bad person. However, it is important to recognize that it involves unhealthy habits that need to be addressed and unlearned.
Three major impacts of helicopter parenting can include:
The opposite of a helicopter parent is one who lets their child explore and be independent while offering the support and supervision they need.
They give room to their child to learn things on their own and make mistakes.
Free-range parenting is a style of parenting that involves raising children by encouraging independence and giving them the freedom to experience new things on their own that are appropriate to their age.
This style of parenting is believed to promote creativity, independence, and important life skills.
The four most common parenting styles in psychology include:
Some ways to unlearn helicopter parenting can include:
Helicopter parenting often doesn’t start with bad intentions, and many parents think they are doing what’s best for their children when in reality, it can be harming them.
Remember that when you stop being a helicopter parent, it doesn’t mean you stop loving your child. You can still love, support, and empower your child with boundaries and different approaches.
If you have difficulty unlearning helicopter parenting, it can be helpful to go to therapy and talk to a professional who can help you navigate these new changes and address any underlying concerns that may be impacting these patterns.
One thing you can do as a parent trying to stop helicopter parenting is to get to know your child as their own person.
Often, helicopter parents don’t view their children as their own person or do not want them to grow up or become independent and not need their parents anymore.
But, if you get to know your child as an individual and see their strengths, you can feel more confident in knowing that they will be okay and that they can do things on their own.
Focus on building a strong connection with them instead of being over-involved in their lives so that they know they can go to you when they need to.
One of the first steps in helping your parents stop being helicopter parents is by becoming aware of their behaviors and understanding that the way they treat you is not a reflection of your capabilities.
Trying to communicate and understand why parents are helicopter parents in the first place can help give you some guidance on how to change it.
Setting boundaries, creating your own space, and communicating can help show your parent that you also have needs and are your own individual.
Taking over tasks that they may do for you, such as cleaning or cooking, will help build your independence and also show them that you are more than capable of doing these things for yourself.
If you are finding it difficult to work with your parents on stopping helicopter parenting, seeking help from a professional and attending therapy both individually and together can give you support and tools to break the pattern.
Having helicopter parents can really take a toll on your mental health and well-being.
Learning patience when interacting with helicopter parents can be a big step, but it is also important to learn how to set boundaries and find ways to communicate with them and work together.
Becoming defensive or getting into arguments can make matters worse, and it can be helpful to get support from a therapist to help guide you and your family through unlearning old behaviors, learning new ones, and navigating everyone’s feelings and emotions.
Helicopter parenting can have long-lasting effects on the child.
If you have had a helicopter parent and find yourself facing challenges from the experiences you have had with them, focusing on yourself and getting support can help you address these challenges and learn new coping skills and how to change unhealthy patterns.
Our goal is to provide the most helpful information. Please reach out to us if you have any additional questions. We are here to help in any way we can.
Individuals with narcissistic personality disorder have a need for control that can be presented in the way they parent and how they interact with their children.
Helicopter parenting is so common because many parents aim to ensure their child is safe and happy.
However, some parents take this desire to an extreme level, where they feel they have complete control of their children’s lives and success.
Helicopter parents are often worried, anxious, and over-protective parents.
As a parent, it is completely normal to worry about your child’s well-being and safety and want the best for them.
But, helicopter parents’ worries often cause them to be overinvolved and overbearing in their child’s lives. They often struggle with an overwhelming need for control. They frequently suffer from conditions such as anxiety.
A tiger mom is a strict parent who pushes their child to achieve high levels of success.
This parenting style can be very harsh and demanding and have a negative impact on the child.
Often, tiger moms don’t offer their children the emotional support they need. Helicopter moms, on the other hand, may over-support their children emotionally.
Bulldozer parents try to keep their children away from any pain or failure by removing obstacles out of their way.
For example, if their child is not doing well in a class, they may call their teacher and demand that they change their grade or do something about it rather than working on it with the child or seeing ways they can learn the content.
The difference between helicopter parenting and bulldozer parenting is that helicopter parents hover over their child’s lives, while bulldozer parents actively try to create a perfect life for their children so that they do not experience failure.
Helicopter parenting can be damaging and unhealthy for both the child and the parent.
While it may be well-intentioned, helicopter parenting is not considered a healthy form of parenting.