As a Mom of 5 school aged children, I remember that feeling of ELATION when my last child graduated from high school. My homework was finally complete! During those 20 plus years, I now realize that, with good intent, I spent a fair amount of time hovering over my children “paying extremely close attention to their experiences and problems particularly at educational institutions”, much like a “helicopter parent.”
I have since discovered that the line between being a supportive parent and a hovering helicopter can be blurry, according to Malinda Carlson who authored the article “10 Warning Signs that You Might Be a Helicopter Parent (and How to Stop). Malinda states that “Nobody sets out to be a helicopter parent; it kind of creeps up on you.”
So… How can you avoid being a full time “helicopter parent?”
Listen to your child. Refrain from imposing your goals and wishes upon them.
Don’t try to help your child escape consequences for their actions unless you believe they are life altering or unfair.
Encourage your children to solve their own problems by asking them to think about possible solutions.
Don’t do your children’s work for them or completely relieve them from the responsibility of keeping track of deadlines.
Support your child’s teacher and encourage your child to respect the teachers opinions.
Allow your child to face natural consequences for their actions.
Don’t complete tasks that your child is capable of completing for themselves.
Let go of negative thoughts about your child’s future
Don’t micromanage your child’s life.
Avoid constantly worrying about your children.
Give them the opportunity to take small risks.
Take a few steps back and and give them some space.
Some studies show that children who are hovered over by a “helicopter parent” were more likely to feel “self-conscious, worried, angry and have a poor sense of self esteem.” However, other studies show that helicopter parenting can:
Help parents to know if the child is safe.
Assist the child to be less likely to misbehave and develop into a well mannered person.
Help develop a special bond between the child and the parent.
Help the child develop a better attitude towards life.
So… It’s up to you as parents to determine what style of parenting works well you and your children.
If you would like to take a closer look at your style of parenting, call and make an appointment with me.
Licensed Clinical Social Worker
Wasatch Family therapy