Helicopter parenting -- this phrase describes moms and dads who hover in the air over their children, worrying about every potential hurt that could befall them. Helicopter parents work to shield their children from poor peer treatment and bad grades. They do things for their children that the children should do themselves, such as getting homework assignment details or confronting another child about being singled out or made fun of. In the long run, helicopter parenting doesn’t help the child.
Extreme Hands-On Parenting
“Crazy Confessions of a Helicopter Parent” is a book cautioning parents to avoid the author’s mistakes. Dena Higley self-describes herself as a recovering helicopter parent, admitting that her extreme hands-on parenting practices became a family crisis, resulting in Higley’s breakdown and hospitalization.
Lenore Skenazy wrote “Free Range Kids” after she realized that parents live under the fear that their children live in “constant danger” from several threats, ranging from grades and germs to flashers, baby snatchers and kidnappers. Skenazy recognizes that the children of helicopter parents cannot become independent and take over living their lives when it’s time.
Comparisons Between Countries
Pamela Druckerman wrote “Bringing Up Bebe” after she saw how the level of parental involvement differed from the United States to France. In the United States, parents sign their children up for so many activities the children don’t have time to just relax, be themselves and play.
“Parenting Without Borders," written by Christine Gross-Loh, covers parenting styles around the world. Gross-Loh discusses helicopter parenting, describing the actions of such a parent. She points out that helicopter parents are mainly American while parents from other countries seem to shrug off falls, injuries and the fights their children get into.
Parents Who Bully
Rosalind Wiseman wrote “Queen Bee Moms & Kingpin Dads” after realizing that a subset of helicopter parents have tipped the scale. These parents become “aggressive,” intimidating and threaten teachers and day care providers.
In “Parenting Out of Control: Anxious Parents in Uncertain Times,” Margaret K. Nelson interviewed parents of teens who were unable to let their children take on new skills. Nelson, a sociologist, writes that several factors might be connected to helicopter parenting -- income and education level being one. Technological advances enabling parents to tie themselves to their children are a second factor. Finally, parents may view their children as friends, wanting to keep them close by.
Helicopter Parenting From an Outside Perspective
“Teach Your Children Well,” penned by Madeline Levine, suggests that, when parents have clear goals for raising their children, they will be more successful in raising happy, well-adjusted and independent children. She suggests that parents, including helicopter parents, should learn how to focus on making the choice to raise their children to be independent while still protecting them without hovering.
An article featured in Springer’s “Journal of Child and Family Studies” finds that college students whose parents hover over them are at higher risk of developing symptoms of depression. These students may not feel as able to achieve their goals. In addition, they perceive their parents’ over-involvement to be controlling.