Helping or Hurting: Helicopter Parenting

Oviedo Pediatrician, Oviedo Pedatrics

Helicopter parenting has sparked much debate over the years. The term “helicopter parent” is defined as a parent who is overly involved in the life of his or

her child. Simply put, helicopter parents are overprotective. While many believe that this type of parenting can be harmful, others write it off as media hype created by those who endorse free-range parenting. Unlike helicopter parenting, free-range parenting gives children the freedom to explore the world at their own pace. In this piece, we’ll examine the pros and cons of helicopter parenting.

How Helicopter Parenting May be Beneficial

One positive attribute of helicopter parents is that they are deeply involved in their children’s lives.  As a result, helicopter parents always have their ch

ildren’s best interest in mind. You can be certain that vaccinations, paperwork, and schoolwork will always be completed.  When it comes time for post-secondary school, you can count on these parents to help their children complete applications for scholarships and admission.

Parents who take a seemingly overactive role in their child’s life are known for monitoring their child’s safety at all times.  They’ll typically know all the pertinent details about their child’s location and who they’re spending time with.

Problems with Helicopter Parenting

Although playing an active role in your child’s life is important, participating too much can potentially hinder your child’s development. Making decisions for them, resolving their problems, and constantly protecting them are all actions that can have psychological effects on your child.

There are several areas where children of helicopter parents struggle:

  • Problem-solving – Problem solving skills are important for both children and adults alike. Inhibiting your child from overcoming everyday obstacles on their own can hinder the development of these valuable problem-solving skills.
  • Dependency – Reducing the child’s ability to make autonomous decisions can cause dissatisfaction your child’s life. Furthermore, children who have everything done for them will have difficulty learning to do it themselves.  Many children of helicopter parents have a hard time learning to cook, clean, or adhere to a work or school schedule.
  • Coping skills – Children who are not used to facing adversity will have trouble coping with rejection or failure as an adult.  Studies have found that helicopter parenting can make children feel less competent in dealing with the stresses of life on their own.
  • Confidence – Children develop self-esteem by learning how to complete challenges on their own. An overwhelming fear of failure can cause low self-confidence and anxiety. As a result, your child may lack the confidence necessary to do well in school, pursue hobbies and interests, and develop friendships.

Parenting Style Matters

Most experts agree that children need parents who are involved in their lives, but also equip them with the proper tools to make their own decisions. Diana Baumrind, a clinical and developmental psychologist, concluded that the optima parent is one who implements an authoritative parenting style. Authoritative parents are involved, responsive, and establish high expectations, while still respecting their child’s autonomy.

It is okay for your child to experience failure. Without it, the psychological effects can be detrimental. If you have any questions about the development of your child, and how your parenting style can help, please feel free to discuss it with your Oviedo Pediatric expert at Family First Pediatrics.