Hovering Parents Hindering Kids

In recent years, the phrase “helicopter parenting” has been used to describe parents who hover over their children with the very best of intentions but, nevertheless, in a hurtfully overprotective manner.

One of the goals of skillful parenting is to allow children to develop to their maximum potential in all aspects. Too much hovering by parents is apt to stunt a child’s growth and development on many levels, sometimes resulting in a non-resilient, stifled adult with myriad emotional issues.

Discourages independence

Children who have been controlled in the name of love by a misguided, overprotective parent are apt to have difficulty becoming independent. Not having had practice in decision-making and problem-solving, the overprotected individual might not be able to strike out on his own as a young adult for fear of making mistakes or being overwhelmed. When one grows up with every problem resolved and every issue addressed by someone else, that person develops a comfort “bubble” and might be reluctant to take any risks, relying on parents long after maturity and independence should have been attained.

Inhibits self-esteem

Normally, life consists of a healthy balance of successes and failures. Failures are life lessons that instill character and resilience. Successes are the accomplishments and achievements that feed self-esteem. If an individual is never allowed to fail due to an overprotective parent continually picking up the pieces, that person is apt to be stilted by lack of motivation to succeed and prevented from obtaining the self-confidence derived from overcoming obstacles and experiencing accomplishment. Helicopter parenting often translates to children with decreased feelings of self-worth and an unhealthy self-image.

Limits problem-solving skills

Overprotective parents, who live in denial of the reality that disappointments and mistakes are an inherent part of life, are apt to resolve every issue, solve every dilemma, even to the point of doing what is their child’s responsibility. Some helicopter parents go to the extremes of doing the child’s homework, paying any fines incurred, overindulging with material goods to ensure a continuous state of happiness for their offspring. In the absence of such parental coddling, the child might be helpless in figuring out how to navigate problems; unable to make decisions on his own behalf.

Interferes with motivation

Perhaps the most hurtful result of helicopter parenting is the lack of motivation in individuals who are products of such misguided child-rearing. The ultimate goal of parenting is to raise productive, achieving individuals who can be an asset to themselves and society at large. This encompasses all the usual responsibilities; finding and holding down a job,  establishing healthy relationships, maintaining a home and family, managing all aspects of health and well-being.  Helicopter parenting is apt to not only discourage independence, but might encourage a Peter Pan syndrome; an individual who never grows up and is okay with that limited progression of development.

As much as parents wish all the best for their child, letting go of control a little at a time, aligning with the child’s readiness for each new stage of life is the best way to ensure their child will grow into a happy, well-adjusted adult with a productive lifestyle in all aspects.