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Effects of Helicopter Parenting


Children's tantrums in shopping malls, stores and other public places, moms and dads who walk their 11-year-old and 12-year-old children to the classes every day, grandmothers who forbid the child to run even on the playground are only a part of the familiar situations which most people consider completely normal. At any women's forum, if you open the discussions concerning the issues of parenting, you will see many phrases like, “He is a kid, he doesn’t understand anything,” “Children should be pampered,” “Kids face many dangers,” “A mother who doesn’t devote her life only to the child is a bad mother.”

negative effects of helicopter parenting

At the same time, more and more psychotherapists and child psychologists claim that helicopter parents cripple the psyche of children in some way and believe that the immaturity of young people is one of the helicopter parenting effects. Yes, and many mothers understand that they often worry too much about the child and thus suppress their development, but they do not know how to stop caring for the child and “cut the umbilical cord.” Let’s find out why helicopter parenting is bad, how to deal with it and build a healthy relationship with a child.

What Is Helicopter Parenting?

Intuitively, everyone understands the meaning of helicopter parenting. It resembles a comical image of a caring mother, who wraps the children up in clothes and feeds them with a spoon. However, this is only the tip of the iceberg. You cannot even imagine how many negative effects of helicopter parenting a person can face. It’s no less scary than an oversight. And at times, children from wealthy and full families become more crippled and poorly adapted for life than those who have incomplete and poor families.

So, what are helicopter parents? These are parents who take extra special care of their children, control and try to protect them from imaginary hazards.

Why is it so hard to admit? People of different ages, nations, and social status have different ideas about norms. In addition, not everyone can recognize their mistakes, but only those who tend towards self-reflection and accept responsibility. It is right to love your child, but it is wrong to live instead of them. So, parents shouldn’t close their eyes to this question. Almost every family can face this problem to a certain extent.

Examples of Helicopter Parenting

Despite the fact that helicopter parenting is always about excessive care and excessive control over a child, the peculiarities of its manifestation differ significantly in different families. Therefore, psychologists have developed a classification of this phenomenon, according to which there are 4 main types.

  • The dominant helicopter parenting

This type is inextricably connected with authoritarian education when the child has neither the right to vote nor the right to have their own desires and preferences in the family. The will of the father and mother for the child is the law in such families, and any of their words and opinions are the absolute truth. The system of prohibitions and control, strict rules of behavior in the family, total distrust of the child and the underestimation of their abilities are essential attributes of the dominant helicopter parenting. Parents completely ignore the child’s need for self-respect, understating their self-esteem and not giving them a chance to grow up. Most children who grew up in such families do not know how to think critically, defend their opinions, or make important decisions because they are used to obeying their parents and relying on them.

  • Indulgent helicopter parenting

Unlike the dominant type, in which the parents almost completely ignore the needs and desires of the child, indulgent helicopter parenting implies the satisfaction of all the vagaries of the kid. In families with this type of relationship, the child becomes almost the idol of the family, and their needs are considered more important than the wishes of the parents. Mom and dad (or just one parent) idealize the child, suggest that they are better than other children, satisfy even the ridiculous whims of the children, and at the same time, protect the son/ daughter from any difficulties. As a result of such upbringing, individuals have high self-esteem and hysterical character, and they are confident that everyone around them should treat them with the same admiration as their parents.

  • Demonstration helicopter parenting

Due to a lack of self-confidence and over-dependence on the opinions of others, parents are trying to raise their status in the eyes of society by the way of treating their child. Such moms and dads "play to the crowd," buying the most expensive and fashionable clothes, registering kids into a dozen development-training centers and demanding from the children achievements and results that could be boasted to other parents. In this case, the attitude towards the child differs little from the attitude towards the doll because the parents do not perceive their kid as a living person with their own desires and interests, but they use them as a means of satisfying ambitions. Such helicopter parenting only increases as the child grows since father and mother increasingly suppress the child’s identity and establish a bigger number of rules and requirements to look like exemplary parents in the eyes of society. This can be called one of the negative effects of helicopter parents.

  • Inert helicopter parenting

In this case, the parents simply cannot accept the fact that the children grow up and become more independent, therefore, they treat the growing child the same way as a non-sane baby. As a rule, inert helicopter parenting is manifested by the mother, as she, wishing to remain the most significant and important person for the child, subconsciously behaves with them just as when they were completely dependent on her during infancy. Such an attitude does not allow the child to grow up and develop morally and psychologically since even the simplest decisions are made by their mother. Parents don’t even realize all the dangers of helicopter parenting.

Negative Effects of Helicopter Parenting

Talking about long-term effects of helicopter parents, children in such families will grow up helpless, with an inadequate perception of themselves and the world, they will not be able to listen to their inner voice. They will be timid, notorious, insecure, and most importantly, unhappy.

Of course, each situation is individual, therefore, it is difficult to give general recommendations. At a certain point, this house full of the hopes, tricks, and manipulations will collapse. In adolescence, many children are courageous enough to revolt, and a conflict is inevitable. Children run away from home, get into bad companies or just go into a shell. It is almost always possible to restore the relationship, but it will require tremendous work and efforts from everyone. So, if there are all the signs of helicopter parenting in your family, then do not be surprised at the resentfulness, insults, the absence of grandchildren and other unpleasant things. In addition, later, realizing their childhood, your kid will have to change their views and ideas.

Positive Effects of Helicopter Parenting

Are there any positive effects of helicopter parenting? As you remember everything has two sides, and if you don’t overdo, then your kid can get some benefits of helicopter parenting. First of all, they will feel supported. Your attention can give children a sense of security, which will help them try new things and not be afraid of failure. Why helicopter parenting is good? If a child knows that parents are always on their side, this encourages and helps achieve much bigger. In addition, parents who push their kids to try a variety of new things, such as languages, dances, sports, etc., help kids develop different skills and determine their interests.

How to Stop Helicopter Parenting?

The first very step is to acknowledge the fact that you are doing something wrong. Honestly admit to yourself that you are doing for a child those things with which they could easily cope without your help. As soon as you handle this moment, you can proceed to the next points.

  • Understand why you do it

It may seem that you don’t need to change anything about the current system. Yes, there is helicopter parenting, but this attitude has been maintained for years and has become habitual. Ask yourself the question, “What will happen to my child if I suddenly become seriously ill or die?” And this can happen at any moment. There can be a terrible outcome for a person who is used to love, family and excessive attention. Think about that. If you consciously want to change the situation, but you cannot do it yourself, try to contact a psychotherapist. Many people openly discuss the problems of relationships with their children for the first time, share experiences and receive support.

  • Find the motivation for the child

Interest in the development of self-service skills is naturally present only in small children. Until adolescence, you can expect the child to obey you only because you are their parent. But later, when you try to teach them something, they will most likely ignore you. A good example of peers or the influence of external authority (family friend, teacher, coach) can become a rescue. For a short time, motivators can be pocket money, desired shopping, or entertainment available after doing household chores. However, you shouldn’t overdo, otherwise, your resources will be drained.

In this case, the practice of social coaching will help you. Young people who have faced mental disorder and successfully coped with its consequences, become social trainers for their peers or younger children. They help them master the skills of cooking, cleaning, and personal care. In addition, they communicate and discuss important things.

  • Take your time and train your child gradually

For a child to master a seemingly simple skill, you need to break it up into a few simpler sub-skills. For example, to teach a teenager to shop at a supermarket, start with the nearest shop. Go along with the child and ask them to buy one thing. They must give money to the seller and ask for the required. If there are problems with counting, first discuss together how much the item is cost and how much money they have. Let them buy what they need on their own.

In parallel with it, the child can walk with you to the nearest supermarket. First, make a list of products and select them together. Ask your child to pay for purchases but stay close. Then let them make everything on their own but wait at the exit. Then you can try to go to another store and ask your child to make their own shopping list. In each case, there will be nuances depending on what difficulties arise. But any obstacle can be circumvented by breaking it into smaller and simpler tasks.

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