Helicopter Copter Parents Problems with Hovering

The term helicopter parent was coined by Jim Fay (a consultant in the areas of parenting and school discipline) and Foster W. Cline (a psychiatrist) in their book “Parenting with Love and Logic: Teaching Children Responsibility.”  Their work was published in 1990.

The phrase helicopter parents originally referred to the parents of older children who would not allow their adult youngsters to fend for themselves. There are reports of moms and dads calling colleges to complain of bad grades, filling out job applications for their son or daughter and even calling employers to negotiate their child’s salary. In short they hover over the young adult. Their well intentioned meddling actually prevents the student or job seeker from dealing with their own problems.

This form of over-parenting has extended to all walks of society. It has also been used in recent years to describe parents of younger children. Below are some of the traits of helicopter parents and the negative effects on children.

Fighting battles

As indicated above children are prevented from solving their own problems. When a parent calls a child’s friend to smooth over a disagreement or contacts a teacher to complain of a bad grade they are fighting their child’s battles rather than allowing them to practice problem solving. Young adults are expected to enter the working world and be able to handle issues and concerns as needed.

Living for their children

When parents blur the line between their own life and that of their child problems begin to emerge. In order to prevent their child from failing, helicopter parents will complete homework assignments, take over school projects and write college entrance essays. Unfortunately they’ve come to think of their child’s failure as their own. They feel embarrassed and guilty when their high standards aren’t met. Mistakes and disappointments are one way children learn. Life is far from perfect and young adults need to take rejection and mistakes in stride. It’s difficult to appreciate success if failure has never been experienced.

Over protective

Helicopter parents want to control their child’s world and are capable of taking extreme measures to keep them safe. A buffer is created between the youngster and the outside universe. Such behavior can rob a youngster of achieving milestones that many take for-granted. As children grow and pass the expected points of sitting up, walking and saying their first words the lines of expectation become blurred. If children aren’t allowed to take risks they will begin to miss milestones as they grow. There are reports of school age children unable to dress themselves, teenagers struggling with simple cooking instructions and preteens afraid to walk several blocks on their own.

Parents want to help and protect their children. The world can be a dangerous place and caution is a good thing. But when taken to the extreme children can fail to learn cause and effect as it applies to their own actions. Failure, minor injuries and mistakes are a part of childhood. Youngster need to experience them so they can learn and grow into productive adults.