Helicopter parenting is a term that is thrown around often. You feel as if you see it in schools, churches and sporting events on a daily basis. But can you identify exactly what this term means? If you are unsure, check out the first part of this blog series in which I discuss exactly what helicopter parenting means and why we are seeing it so frequently.
Now that you know what helicopter parenting is, it’s time to discuss the consequences and how this parenting style might affect your child.
If you recognize that you might be a helicopter parent, don’t panic! I am also going to give you some tips on how to adjust your parenting style so that your child might avoid these consequences.
What are the consequences of helicopter parenting?
- Decreased confidence – If a parent is over involved, it can leave a child feeling as if they are incompetent, thus affecting the child’s confidence and self-esteem.
- Lack of coping skills – Helicopter parenting can often mean that a parent is always there to clean up a child’s mess. This prevents the child from learning how to cope with a range of negative feelings, which then inhibits them later in life.
- Anxiety – Many studies show helicopter parenting linked to anxiety. This link could be due to the lack of coping skills that never fully developed.
- Lack of reality – Children who have always had their lives adjusted will lack a sense of reality. This will be a harsh awakening when they become adults and are put in situations in which their parents are not able to adjust.
What can you do instead?
- Be a submarine parent – Instead of hovering over your child, stay close by in case of real danger, but mostly out of sight so that your child does not develop the habit of running to you for every problem.
- Learn to trust the process – This will mean letting your children struggle and allowing them to be disappointed. When failure occurs, help them to work through it without solving it for them.
- Embrace the changing relationship – Child development comes with many times of transition. Parents should acclimate to each new stage. Allow your children to take on tasks that they are physically and mentally capable of doing.
- Don’t check out completely – There are positives to being intimately involved in your child’s life. Let’s think of it as engaged instead of over protective. Engaged parenting has many benefits for a child. These include increasing feelings of love and acceptance, creating opportunities for growth, and building self-confidence.
Utilizing these tips can help build your children into independent, confident adults.
Amanda Dempsey, LAMFT
Adempsey @ growcounseling.com