Are you being a helicopter parent? Here’s how it affects your child

It seems like everyday new terms are added to parenting and child rearing. However, that’s not necessarily true. Maybe the names being given are new and sound modern, but the description has been the same for ages.

We have all come across the versions of parents that are now being labelled in new ways – for instance, gentle parenting, attachment parenting, permissive parenting, helicopter parenting or free-range parenting and so on.

These “types” of parenting were perhaps named differently a few decades ago. The labels are only useful in that they help quickly describe the general overview of the type of parenting one does.

One such parenting, that parents these days are called, is helicopter parent, and it’s not exactly a compliment to be called this.

For those who are coming across this term for the first time, helicopter parent or helicopter parenting refers to a style of parenting where the parent is over involved in their child’s life and are always “hovering” around (like a helicopter before it lands) their children giving them next to no privacy and being too protective of their children to safeguard them from physical as well as psychological harm.

A relationship where there is no clear sense of boundary and personal space is disregarded is not healthy in the long run. When the child is little, it might not be apparent, as children need their parents a lot and by being available and over involved it can lead to a child not getting any independence to explore life and choices on their own.

While helicopter parenting is reassuring for the parent and sometimes even for the child, it creates a lasting impact on the creativity and productivity of the child.

Let’s look at some examples of helicopter parenting: over monitoring of assignments and homework, parents doing things for children that they can do themselves, stopping your child from exploring, imposing your ambition on your children and moulding them to follow that path and always being available for children physically and knowing your child’s schedule even better than them (specifically among grown up children).

Now, here is what happens to children when they are brought up by helicopter parents:

Entitlement Issues

When a parent is always available for a child, he/she takes it for granted and assumes that they can get everything they want. Kids of helicopter parents grow up with a sense of entitlement, which doesn’t prepare them for the grown-up world and they might face unpleasantness when they act like the world owes them something.

Mental health issues

Helicopter parenting, especially towards adolescents and teens can lead to anxiety or depression in the child. This is because they get no personal space and feel like they are being monitored all the time. Two things can happen – restlessness that stems from not getting personal space or anxiety over being left alone, as these kids may get nervous to do anything on their own. Helping your child accomplish everything, is not good for them as they won’t know how to accept or face failure.

Underdeveloped brain

A helicopter parent ends up making most decisions for their child. This affects a child’s decision making and problem-solving abilities – these take place in the prefrontal part of the brain. This part of the brain fully develops by the age of 25, but children of helicopter parents are found to have stunted growth of the prefrontal lobe because they never got to grow it the right way.

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