Are you a helicopter parent?

What is a helicopter parent?

You may or may not have heard the phrase ‘helicopter parent’ used in parenting books, articles or amongst other parents in conversation. It’s the idea that a parent is being overbearing with their child or children and are hovering over them like a helicopter.

Foster Cline and Jim Fay who wrote the book ‘Parenting with Love and Logic: Teaching Children Responsibility’ invented the term “helicopter parent” and following the publication of their book the use of this parental style expression gained wide usage across America and now the United Kingdom.

Good intentions gone awry

As a parent it’s difficult to establish the boundaries between wanting the best for your child and becoming too controlling and overbearing. It’s a parental instinct to want protect your children but it’s growing incredibly more difficult to find the middle ground between being supportive and over parenting.

Helicopter parents want to establish a perfect world for their child, one in which they will not have to face any discomfort, struggles or disappointment. The intention is of course good natured but the results of navigating your child through life’s many challenges results in the stifling of their own personal development. It’s not to say that we should not be keeping a watchful eye on our children but just consider whether that watchful eye can be from a safe distance, rather than over their shoulder.

Key indicators of helicopter parenting

We have set out below some key indicators of helicopter parenting that you can reflect upon. This is by no means an exhaustive list and the intention of this exercise is not to judge yourself or others but to simply self-reflect:

  • You have a bad back from crouching down and following your little one’s every step
  • You are constantly checking the live webcam at your child’s nursery
  • You keep your child on a short leash (metaphorically not literally) at all times
  • You are very particular about who your little boy or girl can mix with
  • Your little one becomes so attached to you that they will not do anything without you by their side, at all times 

Are we justified in being overly protective parents?

Are we raising a new generation of overly protected children fed by a culture of sensitive parenting, where there is an intense fear of children falling behind or getting hurt OR are we justified in our actions in an age where dangers seem to lurk around every corner and children need that extra bit of encouragement to develop.

A controversial topic with varying view points…we’d love to hear your experiences of parenting and what approach you think works and doesn’t work in the comments below.