Helicopter Parents - Are you one?

Helicopter parents are found everywhere - hovering over their child like a helicopter all the time. They think giving 24/7 attention to their child/ children will result in a confident, secure, happy and bright child but it results in a total opposite. The child ends up becoming too dependent, insecure and emotionally fragile - with a constant worry that he/she will fail without their parents' help.

How do we become a Helicopter?

It is generally one among the two parents that's a helicopter. He/she thinks that he/she is protecting their child from the bad world, teaching them to be successful individuals. In reality, this parent is trying to correct and relive his/her own childhood. Whatever support (physically, financially or emotionally) was missing from their childhood, they want to give it to their child, such that they end up over-doing the whole thing, and being over-protective in so many levels.

Some helicopter parents, on the other hand, may be too good in studies or any extracurricular activities in their childhood and they now want their child to do the same and make them proud, ignoring the fact that the child may or may not have the aptitude or interest for it. This results in an exhausted child who starts to think of himself as a failure.

Helicopter Parents are born when the baby is!

Helicopter parenting is not something that the parents do all of a sudden. As soon as the baby is born, some parents become over-protected and end up hovering around their baby, ignoring the fact that every baby needs some space to explore and grow.

Signs of Helicopter Parents

Every baby needs to be fed, loved and protected. Helicopter parents think their baby needs more of it!

  • Before the baby starts to cry, they run to hold her in their arms. This results in the baby getting used to the arms instead of the crib. At the end, these parents (mostly mom) will have to carry the baby in one arm and do the household chores from the other.
  • They will keep on stuffing their baby and still think he is not having enough food. 
  • As soon as the baby sneezes, they run to the doctor. They will baby-proof the house but still shadow the baby even if he is sitting on the safest possible spot.
  • When they meet other people, all they focus upon is their baby.
  • If they visit a family or go out, and their child breaks or spills something, they won't reprimand him because, according to them, doing so in public will shatter the little one's self-confidence.
  • In a party, they feel their baby will be the center of attention, and makes sure they do everything to make their baby the talk of the town.
  • They generally feel that the whole world revolves around them and their baby (like they revolve around their little one). Often, they get offended if any parenting help is offered to them.

How to avoid being a Helicopter?

  1. Show unconditional love without being over-protective: One of the most important advice for parents would be to show unconditional love while still setting goals for him/ her. If you show your child that you love him even if he fails to do something, he will gain confidence to try to please you more. If he cannot use the straw or eat anything without creating a mess, may be he still needs some time to learn. You, giving him an alternate approach, will only stop him from learning.
  2. Your baby is your center of attention, not the world's: If your baby's umbilical stump sheds off, or he was circumcised, or she said her first word, or stood unsupported, you can share these happy moments with your friends and family, and then move on. Do not keep on bragging about those for hours. 
  3. It's okay to show your weak side: For a child, his mom is a super-mom and dad a super-dad; but super-heroes can have bad days too. Your child needs to know that you can also spill a glass of milk on the table, be unsuccessful at something or be sad about something. The real thing is, how you try to avoid the same and make a comeback. This gives your child a way to learn that even if he fails to do something, he will be okay, just like you were, and can try again to be better at it. 
  4. Know the art of balancing: Don't be too strict on your child, but don't be too lenient either. Praise him on the effort he made, and not on the outcome. Yelling and punishing your child will make him think about your behavior more than his own. On the other hand, ignoring his misbehavior will result in the child doing it again, and more often.
  5. Stop hovering: If your baby is crying for no reason (click here to know if it's Colic), let him come out of that phase on his own. If he is trying to eat noodles, give him some time to try. If he is trying his luck with colors or crayons, let him see his own creative side. If he is properly fed and in a safe environment, give him space. He will utter his first words and you will hear them - standing on his head all the time won't help much in his vocabulary.

There is a fine line between attachment parenting and being helicopter parents. You can support and connect with your baby in so many ways like kangaroo care, co-sleeping and/or doing DIY work together. So, if you are looking for the most successful parenting hacks, avoid being one of the helicopter parents. Giving your kid space will grow confidence in him/her. After all, who doesn't want a happy, independent and confident child?

Return to Parenting Help section.
Return to Homepage.

New! Comments

Have something to say about what you just read? Leave me a comment in the box below :)