What is helicopter parenting and why is overprotection dangerous


Apparently, some mothers do not give up to become perfect. They attend classes for parents, get acquainted with the educational program of the child and help him to do hi homework, do everything to protect from abrasions and bruises… Should it be this way? Where is the border between care and helicopter parenting?

It’s not the worst occasion if these helicopter-moms don’t ask for anything in return. If they do not make any demands to their child in return like washed dishes, obedient behavior and even more to love her. After all, such attitude and heicopter parenting can create unhealthy associations and ideas about society and standards of life in the child. At the same time, helicopter moms do not give their children a choice, do not give the opportunity to “cut the umbilical cord” and become an independent person.

what is helicopter parenting and overprotection

How to detect an helicopter mom

Helicopter moms like to be responsible for their children, not giving them the opportunity to communicate with other people on their own. Besides, she describes her view of a situation and the attitude to it, not the child’s. A helicopter mom is afraid that the baby may be upset, scared or confused, and so comes “to the rescue”, taking away his ability to speak for himself. This caring mother just do not able to accept the idea that it’s ok for a child to be upset and she should not deprive him of his own experience.

Such helicopter parenting is also often characterized by a kind of movement paralysis and “killing” the little man’s natural desire to explore the world. On a playground you can often hear a helicopter mom scolding her son: “go down or you will fall”, “do not run”, “do not walk in puddles”, “do not climb”, “It’s too difficult for you”, “better I’ll do it myself”. At the same time she also “flies” – runs, takes up, wipes and cleans the child.

When did something go wrong and why is helicopter parenting phenomena is bad

The term “helicopter parenting” was invented by the American family specialist Dr. Haim Ginott in 1969. It is described in his book “Parents and teenagers”. The helicopter parenting term includes a series of behaviors that demonstrate overprotection of parents: excessive control, taking responsibility for successes and failures, control of children’s behavior. In those days, the “helicopter parenting” was more a joke, but according to sociologists, today the trend of helicopter parenting and overprotection becomes widespread.

helicopter parenting and overprotection

According to a study of the psychologist Susan Newman until recently, the synonym for good parenting was “high activity” of parents. That means to be response to the needs of the child and at the same time demand good results in developing from him (for example, good grades in school, independence). And in the beginning, it really had a positive meaning and impact.

But somewhen, many parents began to believe that they should do more and more for their children. That’s why they began to praise them more, help more with homework, dress and feed more, and watch over them and their safety more. That brings them to helicopter parenting. Professor Larry Nelson and his colleagues at Brigham young University comment – “Basing on our previous study it was concluded that the behavior of the helicopter moms was supposed to be mostly positive, but current research does not confirm this.”

According to the Professor, helicopter moms are too involved in the lives of their children. This means that the mothers take all the important decisions instead of their children, solves their problems and intervenes in the arising conflicts. Among other things, doing it and not allowing the children do the things they should do themselves have a negative impact on them and their development. It does not matter what form this control takes – says Dr. Larry Nelson.

His recent reports (Brigham young University, 2015) are also not optimistic: maternal love is not able to neutralize the negative effects of  helicopter parenting and overprotection. But the lack of the love and warmth further enhances its effects and may in the future lead to risky behavior in children (violence, alcohol, cigarettes).

What do helicopter moms avoid in fact

More serious problem – helicopter parenting that appears in order to cope with parents’ own shortcomings and complexes.

why do helicopter parenting and overprotection are dangerous

When children make mistakes, when things don’t work out, helicopter moms see it as their own educational failure. If the son can’t sharpen his pencils, it means that they didn’t teach him. Or even worse, they start to consider the child as stupid, because he can’t figure out how to do it on his own.

On the other hand, helicopter moms impose too many responsibilities on children. Studies show that we overload children with extra activities. The offer of trainings and coursed is growing, and we want to use fully. Helicopter moms want the child to become successful in life, because how can HER sweetheart be mediocre?

problems with helicopter momsHelicopter moms also can not always cope with the child in a situation where he had tried, but failed and it upset him. They are not ready to resist his negative emotions and “hysteria”. So a helicopter mom do not allow him to do anything that he can fail.

As a result, children do not know how to live in society and cope with fails

A child who has always been praised at home, admired by his grandparents, whose successes was always admitted by the mom and dad, one day has to get into a new society. He starts to go to school, but is he ready to communicate with new people? It may be, and most likely it will be, that in fact the kid who used to be a “winner” and the best is not actually so good.

Other children draw, read and sculpt from plasticine as well as he does, and even better. It demotivates the child. He more and more often tells the parents that he does not want to go to school. The teacher notes that he stops trying and is constantly distracted.

From year to year, children, of course, grow and develop, become more determined, more and more aware of the world, technology, but they can not cope with their emotions when something does not work, can not accept the fact of their fails. And what’s worse, they don’t want to try attempts again.

Therapist Lori Gottlieb published the article about helicopter parenting and overprotection “How to Land Your Kid in Therapy “. She believes that helicopter parenting do not allow their children to have even little defeats and fails in their lives. As a result, children become very fragile emotionally. Like crystal glasses that would break if they got the slightest blow. They can not cope with a losing situation and even when they take the second or third place, they can not accept this fact.

Let’s respect the child’s opinion and efforts

The first step to get rid of helicopter parenting in the family  is to let the child from a young age to make a choice. Parents should ask: ” you want an apple or a pear?”, ” you want to wear sneakers or shoes?”. Listen to what he says, support him.

And unconditionally love it, even in case of failures and mistakes. Be patient and respect the efforts of children to achieve any goal. Even if it’s in the context of learning to tie shoelaces. It’s really hard for a kid. But don’t tie еру shoelaces instead of him because it’s faster, or because he may not be able to cope and fall into tears. Just give him time and support. It is important to give your child the initiative. And mom should accept the idea that he needs time for certain actions or to think.

let the child do things themselves and avoid helicopter parenting

According to children’s experts, helicopter parenting makes the child to be brought up “in the shade”. And such children make worse decisions and criticize. They depend on someone during their whole life. First from parents, then from colleagues, from partner. They have low self-esteem, always have doubts about themselves.

Adults, who was brought up in helicopter parenting have big problems with building strong relationships. They also live longer with parents. Sociologists call them adult children or teenagers. They also emphasize that only an independent child will one day grow up to be an independent adult. Let’s keep that in mind and not confuse excessive parental control with the responsibilities.

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