Overly caring parents think that they help their children, not realizing that this style of upbringing has serious consequences, deprives them of the social skills necessary for the development of a healthy personality and disarms them when they face problems. The negative effects of helicopter parenting are much greater than you might imagine. The desire to protect children from potential dangers is often contrary to logic and common sense.
So, how to understand that you are such a parent and what to do to stop restricting your child’s independence?
What is it?
This is how ironically called modern moms and dads who are overly involved in the lives of their children. They are sure: to raise a child successful, you need to be tireless and purposeful, like a machine. According to a recent Cornell University study, most parents find maximum involvement in their children’s best parenting practices. Each loving parent tries to protect a child from anxiety and problems. The question is that the line between care and over-protection is very easy to cross. The stronger your “support and care” during the period when the child learns the world, the less he or she will be adapted to this world. American researchers have found that children raised with such parents are less competent specialists than their freer peers. At the same time, the real level of knowledge and skills doesn’t matter. So, maybe you should better spend your time on a dating vip site if you are a single helicopter parent.
In the USA, the concept of helicopter parenting appeared in the mid-80s. Experts believe that adults from the generation of “baby boomers” are prone to it. The trend was also promoted by a wave of kidnapping in the early 80s in the USA, which forced parents to start sharply limiting their children’s free time and increasing control. Generation theory was created by Neil Hove and William Strauss. They believe that every 20–25 years a new generation of people appears who have traits, habits, and characteristics that set them apart from all the others and then repeat among future generations.
There are simply no unconditional advantages of helicopter parenting neither for the child nor for the parents. The only thing that can be singled out as a plus is the complete safety of a child. Also, psychologists point out that parents who are prone to the modern version of protection want only the best for their children. They want them to be smart, healthy and developed by age. Quite often, this type of care provides children with competitive advantages. And this is understandable: for any person with a permanent personal assistant, everything turns out better and faster than for those who act alone.
But the disadvantages of helicopter parenting are much greater.
- By the age of 18, children don’t have time to get the necessary life skills. For example, they don’t know how to talk with strangers (new teachers, classmates, sellers, etc.), independently navigate in unfamiliar areas, control their deadlines, take care of themselves in everyday life (and in their personal lives too), earn money, manage them and take risks.
- It can lead to numerous mental disorders. Left without a reliable parental shoulder, young people can experience severe stress, and some even suffer from depression. They feel that they don’t adapt to the environment as quickly as their independent peers.
- In addition, it will not last forever. If parents can stand up for their children and defend their rights at school and at the university, then an angry mother or father in the office is already a story for a joke.
- Parents forget about themselves when they constantly look after the child. This may not have the best effect on their “I” or on the relationship between partners: what, for example, will they do when the children leave the house?
Reasons Some People Become Helicopters
So, when parents don’t give children time to be alone, make mistakes, and learn from their own experience, it leads to bad consequences. But why do they behave so?
- Own anxiety. Worrying about whether you are a good enough parent, you unwittingly start patronizing a child more than necessary. And there is the thought that you can and should protect him or her from any disappointment. But neither the parents nor anyone else can do it.
- Compensation for the absence of love in childhood. People who don’t get enough love are especially keen to give their children all the attention and care that they themselves have not felt.
- “What will others say/think?” If you are not completely immersed in the life of your child, you are a bad parent – you can come to such conclusions by observing the communication of some parents with their children. But guilt is a bad helper here because as a result of shame, over-protection is born.
How to Recognize It in Yourself?
Look at these obvious signs:
- You fight instead of a child
The daughter comes home in tears after a quarrel with her boyfriend. What to do? If you are going to call his mother and figure out the situation, it’s time to think about your behavior.
- You make decisions for a child
Such parents influence all the actions and deeds of their children and make their own, the only right decisions, no matter how old the child is. Moreover, they are extremely proud of themselves because they are sure that they save children from stress and discomfort that will certainly arise from decision-making.
- You do all the homework
Yes, teachers advise helping with homework at first. But this doesn’t mean solving equations for a teenager or preparing a project at night. Such parents try to help with the implementation of the homework, but, at the same time, they create for themselves and the child the image of a successful excellent family.
- You want they do what you say
You are at birthday parties, go with your teenager to school and friends, and so on. Do you send messages like “It’s time to go home!”, “Did you eat?”, “Did you do your homework?” to your child? Sounds familiar? If so, then it’s time to let the child gain some self-confidence.
- You give direct and peremptory commands
Without even trying to explain to children what is expected of them, a typical helicopter parent immediately gives instructions and commands, waiting for their immediate and unquestioning execution. The child doesn’t have the right to question or dispute such directives. Of course, the parental authority should be present, but it’s much better not to build a soldier from children, but to clearly explain the consequences of something. Children learn from their own parents.
How to Stop Being a Helicopter Parent
The natural need of a newborn baby is the constant presence of parents nearby. As children grow and develop, they can do more and more things on their own. But sometimes it is very difficult to find a fine line between helicopter parenting and indifference.
- Give freedom
With the normal development of the relationship between teenagers and their parents, teenage rebellion is less acute. But if parents watched every step of their child before that, the teenage riot will be very strong. Therefore, parents should think about whether they give enough freedom to their children long before they reach adolescence. Allow your child to have intimate (i.e. very personal) experiences. Never read your child’s personal diary without permission. Just let him/her know that they can always talk to you if necessary.
- Always listen to what your child tells you
You yourself may not notice how far you go with your care. But your child will definitely feel it and tell you. Don’t take the position of an authoritarian parent in such conversations: “I said no, then no!” Communicate with your children on an equal footing, take into account their desires. It is always possible to discuss their claims to independence and find an acceptable compromise.
- Analyze your feelings and motives
A good way to avoid unnecessary protection is to analyze the motives of your behavior. Think about why you need it. Are your experiences adequate? If you can’t figure out your feelings yourself, consult a psychologist. An independent view from the outside often helps a lot.
But still, the most important thing is to be a friend to your child. Friendship is possible only when there is basic trust. To do this, get off your helicopter and come to the ground.