Signs You’re A Helicopter Parent
The concept of a helicopter parent isn’t new to the public, but while it has been around for more than just a few decades now, it seems like the people who tend to be unaware of the term’s meaning are more often than not the parents themselves. With becoming a parent and raising a child being such an exciting, yet stressful journey, it’s extremely easy to lose yourself in the work you have to do and in the newly established routines that you find yourself pressured by.
So when you dive head first into your duties as a parent, over time you tend to lose sight of a lot of aspects that need to be kept in mind when taking care not only of a child but yourself as well. One of the things parents sometimes end up doing without being really aware of it is to turn into a helicopter parent, and while it might sound like a point of no return, fear not, it’s a parenting style which you can easily move on from if you’re determined to do so! Not only will it be beneficial for your child’s development, but for your own mental stability as well.
The first sign of being a helicopter parent is that of having little to no time away from your child when you’re both together at home or somewhere else. “Away” doesn’t mean to leave them alone in this context, nor does it imply that you’ve taken a temporary leave from being a parent, no. It does, however, mean that you hover around them way too much when it’s not the case to do so. If they are chatting away with their play dates, classmates or just playing with their toys without any issues and you find yourself butting in to become part of their games just so you can understand what they’re up to, then you might want to take a step back and just allow them to explore their own socializing skills and develop new ones on their own. Keeping an eye on them from a distance is totally fine, recommended even, but try not to make friends for them or play in their stead, as they will end up getting very little experience when it comes to learning how to interact with others and build connections.
Another sign could be that you’re solving their issues yourself, instead of advising them towards finding their own solutions to whatever the problem is, or encouraging them to adopt a positive way of thinking and a stance that can help them understand the root of their issue or of whatever feelings might be puzzling them at that moment. That being said, instead of fighting their own battles and talking with the other child’s parent to solve an issue, teach your child how to solve their conflict with their friends.
If the issue revolves around their school performance, try to listen more to what the teacher has to say regarding your child’s behavior and progress and then address the issues at home, rather than jumping to conclusions or mistakenly blaming the teachers for a bad grade. While it might sound like something that doesn’t happen in reality, you’d be surprised of how many parents forget that it’s their child whose job is to study and learn, and not the teacher’s obligation to give perfect marks regardless of a child’s performance, but it doesn’t necessarily showcase helicopter parent tendencies only, as it could also be a sign of spoiling the child.
A third general sign of having a helicopter parenting style is the mindset of wanting to excessively protect the little one from everything and anything the world has to offer. While it’s a parent’s main goal to keep their child safe, helicopter parents tend to take it a bit too much to an extreme, to the point where the child might not be allowed to do chores around the house, have their own sense of independence and freedom or have any privacy at all. On top of that, shielding them from any sense of failure will only prove to be worse for them in the long run, as they will grow up sheltered from having to experience those feelings and won’t be able to learn how to manage them until too late in life, when they will suddenly find themselves unable to reach out to a parent for help with a specific issue that could arise. In order to prepare them for life, it’s much better to allow them to make mistakes and experience everything life has to offer, within reason. That way, the child will develop better problem-solving skills, as well as better socializing abilities and an overall better sense of self-confidence. With a parent hovering over them at every step, their personality will suffer, being shadowed by the parent’s strong sense of control over every aspect of the child’s life.
All in all, if you notice any of these signs in your parenting style, or you feel like you might get a little too focused on every aspect of your child’s life, then you could take it as a sign to try and take a step back and reevaluate your behavior. What is causing the tendency to try and micromanage your child? Is there stress behind it, or a worry of some sort? Talk about it with your partner and even with your child if they’re old enough to comprehend the issue, and don’t shy away from reaching out to a professional as well either, as there is no shame in wanting to improve your parenting style and making sure you help your child develop the necessary skills and abilities as they grow up.