By Hanna Munin
You know those parents who do everything for their child? They do their chores for them, they do their homework for them, they call them all the time, they track their emails and phone all the time, and they constantly are calling school to complain? These over-bearing, hovering parents have been given the name helicopter parents. While to the parent they are doing what they do out of love, really what they are doing is hurting their child in the long run. It’s been proven that children raised in this smothered environment grow up to be less confident and more afraid of failure because when they grow up and their parents are no longer there by their side to help them with their every move, they have to make decisions on their own and are not used to succeeding on their own.
Children whose parents allow them to fail and act with authority are the happy and successful children. Also, the excess “babying” of grown kids is a cause for slower development in these kids. Helicopter parenting does not only have negative effects on the kids, but on the parents as well. Parents who judge their own self worth on the success of their children have higher dissatisfaction with their lives and higher anxiety levels as well.
Being a helicopter parent is avoidable though. Ask yourself if you are the one to make your child’s academic decisions or do you let them make those choices on their own even if they do fail in the end? Or are you telling your child precisely what classes they need to be taking or what extra curricular activities they have to do, even if they don’t want to do it? While it might be hard to watch your child be unsuccessful, if you let them see that they did something wrong, they are more likely to see on their own how they can change and make it right.
Another thing to ask yourself is are you in constant contact with your child? Are you calling you child multiple times when they are at friends houses or at extra-curricular activities? While it is easy to sit there worrying about your child, building that trust with your child that they are making wise decisions will make the relationship that you have with your child stronger. These questions are easy to ask yourself. If you felt from this reflection that you were a helicopter parent, don’t worry. Being a hovering parent can change. Allow your child to go and make their own decisions. You will see your child start to succeed in the long run, and will make you and your child happier.
If you feel that your parent is a helicopter parent, don’t be afraid to confront them about it. Let them know that what they are doing is a little too much (in a nice way, of course). And let them know that the both of you can work it out to make it a little easier for everyone. An easy place to start is to have your parent not call you, rather you call them. To make this an easy transition in the beginning, plan a set time that you are going to call them so that they don’t have to worry that you’re going to forget and try to break the new rule. Remember, being an over-bearing parent isn’t permanent. By taking a step back, you are doing what is best for your child to help them succeed in the long run.