Helicopter Parenting

 

June 2009 E-NEWSLETTER

In this Issue:

  • Helicopter Parenting: Helping or Hindering?
  • Parent Investor verses Helicopter Parent
  • Ask Dr. Andie
  • What's New

Helicopter Parenting: Helping or Hindering?

What does the term "helicopter parenting" mean? The term "helicopter parenting" is a media description that refers to parents that "hover" over their children by protecting them and intervening in their lives at all costs. They are coined this term because, like helicopters, they hover closely overhead, always being overly connected, regardless whether their children need them or not. These parents go overboard in over-parenting their children, making sure they never get hurt, never lose or fail, and intervene in as much of their children's lives as they can. This means not allowing their children to fail or succeed on their own. The rise of the cell phone is often blamed for the rise of helicopter parenting as it resembles the "world's longest umbilical cord". Kids can easily call with a problem making parents vulnerable to wanting to solve their issues.

There have been several cons maligned against helicopter parenting such as encouraging spoiled behavior, instilling fear of taking chances, replacing independence in favor of dependency to solve one's problems and making it difficult for older children to develop future intimate relationships. However, in a recent research study on college students whose parents fit the description of doing helicopter parenting, it found that these students had grown into capable, well adjusted college students and were "more engaged in learning and reported greater satisfaction with their colleges".

Parent Investor verses Helicopter Parent

What is a Parent Investor?

  • A Parent Investor is one that invests in their child's life every day. Every day a Parent Investor invests time, love, guidance, commitment and energy into their children's lives.
  • A meaningful Parent Investor chooses to impact their child's life by empowering them with skills that will enable them to have long term social success in life.
So what's the difference between a Parent Investor and a Helicopter Parent?

  • One of the skills Parent Investors learn is to promote resiliency and optimistic thinking which is essential in dealing with any life challenges. Helping them learn self-reliance is a key factor in this.
  • Helicopter parents overlook self-reliance by robbing their children of learning what it is to stand up and roll with the punches of life.
  • Another thing Parent Investors do is love their kids enough to have to endure witnessing their children suffer through failures that may include many disappointments.
  • By over protecting and shielding your children to a fault, Helicopter Parents deny their children the chance to learn how to survive a challenge and the ability to counter the fear of failure.
Parent Investors are involved in their children's lives as too are those who wear the hat of Helicopter Parents. It's all about balance - weighing the right level of support of when to step in and when to let the child learn to fail or succeed on their own. The question is which kind of parent do you choose to be??

Ask Dr. Andie

Questions can be submitted through the website and if possible, will be answered either in the Q&A section or in the Power2Relate Newsletter.

Question:
Recently, I attended my daughter's school conference to discuss her grades. Her teacher expressed to me that she thought I was overly involved in helping my daughter with her school projects and that it was important to let my daughter do them on her own without any help from any adults. I feel that by helping her she will learn how to do something well and turn in an excellent piece of work that she can be proud of. Who is right, the teacher or me?

Answer:
This isn't a question of who is right; it's more a question of what's best for your daughter's life experience. There isn't any parent that doesn't want their child to succeed. In this case, your intention that your daughter succeeds is real and that she feels proud of turning in excellent work. However, if your fingerprints are all over the project, she will never have the opportunity in thinking that this was her true work. If it is her own work, whether it's correct or not, it's still her work. By overly helping her, she will never gain the knowledge of learning from any mistakes, which turns out to be the greatest wisdom she could ever be taught.

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