All parents have different parenting styles. Some are controversial, and some parenting styles could end up hurting children more than helping them. Helicopter parenting is one such parenting style that has the potential to end up doing more harm than good.
What Is Helicopter Parenting?
All parents are probably guilty of helicopter parenting at one time or another. This is sometimes a common reaction to feeling like they always know what’s best for their kids. However, helicopter parenting is much more than that.
Helicopter parenting is when parents are so over-involved in their children’s lives, that the child has no room to make choices of their own. They are heavily monitored and have very little freedom outside of their parents’ watchful eyes.
This can take on many forms starting from a very young age. For example, not allowing your toddler to ever fall down so they potentially don’t get hurt. Then, as they get older, this looks like doing their homework for them, so they get all the answers right. Eventually, this turns into not allowing your teens to make their own decisions. Thus, getting involved with disagreements between them and their friends, teachers, and employers.
While all of these things could, on the surface, seem like a loving, doting parent who only wants what’s best for their child, in the end it can have extremely adverse effects on children, especially once they reach adulthood.
Negative Side Effects of Helicopter Parenting
Most parents only want what is best for their children. Usually, helicopter parenting comes from a place of wanting to keep their children safe and happy. Unfortunately, helicopter parenting typically does quite the opposite.
Helicopter parenting can make your child feel like they have no autonomy over their lives, even down to the smallest choices like what they can wear. As a child, this is frustrating because children are constantly learning, growing, and wanting to gain independence. After all, that is the goal, to become an independent adult.
As they get older, they also may feel embarrassed or anxious when their parents make decisions for them. Children learn by making mistakes and learning to fail and try again. If their parent is constantly hovering over them, making sure they take no missteps, they won’t learn how to become resilient and try again.
Helicopter parenting can lead to low self-esteem and low self-confidence in children, which will likely follow them into adulthood. It could also have the opposite effect and cause children to feel a sense of entitlement.
Adult Child Estrangement
Once children are adults, helicopter parenting could even lead to them pulling away from a relationship with their parents. Many children who have trouble coping with either anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues turn to their past to investigate what causes these.
Thinking that their parents contributed to their mental health issues can cause adult children to become resentful. Then, they may need to distance themselves. They can also feel that they still do not have autonomy over their lives and begin to pull away to find a sense of self.
Effective Ways to Encourage Independence in Children
Letting your children make age-appropriate decisions as early as possible is the best way to encourage them to be good decision-makers and have confidence in the decisions they make as an adult. Allowing them to try, fail, and learn to have perseverance and try again will build self-confidence and resilience that will allow them to be successful in adulthood.
If you are looking for an educational experience where your child can explore on their own and learn to develop their sense of self-worth, contact us to learn how our one-on-one learning environment can foster these and give them an exceptional education.